Three episodes into My Own Worst Enemy and it's clear that this isn't the car crash we were expecting. Essentially The Bourne Identity crossed with True Lies, it sees Christian Slater finding out he has multiple personality disorder and one of his personalities is a real-life secret agent – which would be nice and exciting if it weren't for the people trying to kill him and his family.
It all sounds a bit dumb and it is, but the show is better than the set-up suggests. It tries its best to be gritty and to be as adult as possible, given the sci-fi foundation beneath its surface. After initially seeming like it would Slater and his other self working together to stay alive, the title's come into play and the two Slaters are having interesting little time-shifted battles against each other.
We also have Slater's spy partner, whose relationship with his wife shows that Slater and the still not well used Mädchen Amick actually have the relatively good end of the sociopathic secret agent-hausfrau relationship spectrum. This is actually quite a poignant sub-plot of spousal neglect that works quite well in context.
The spy stuff's all a bit uninspiring compared to CBS's The Unit, but Slater's good, there's an interesting series arc developing – finally giving Saffron Burrows something to do – and it's quite dark, which always gets the thumbs up from me. But it doesn't yet have that magic 'something' necessary to make it a must-see, a theme common to most of the Fall's new shows. Close, but no cigar.
Could well make it to a full season, but unlikely to make it to season two without more oomph.
Two or Partial Caruso
- September 24, 2009: Review: The Forgotten 1x1
A review of the first episode of ABC's The Forgotten starring Christian Slater