Archive for Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Intelligence not Central to this Agency caper

July 13, 2010

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The new series “Covert Affairs” (9 p.m., USA) isn’t believable for a second. And it doesn’t have to try. For reasons never truly explained, fetching blonde Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) joins the CIA and aces every exam, test of physical ability and mental stress. She’s a natural asset and gorgeous to boot.

Could that be why she was plucked out of training and planted in a dangerous assignment before she had a chance to get her clothes dry-cleaned? In the ultra-sleek Langley, Va., headquarters, everyone has an agenda. And only half of them seem to be sleeping with Annie. Her best, or only, friend on the job is Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), a sightless Iraq war vet who effortlessly orients her to the job and provides a heavy dose of “blind leading the blind” metaphors.

Spy thrillers featuring stunning leads (“Alias” and “La Femme Nikita”) tend toward the baffling and convoluted. “Covert” is a tad less challenging. Think of it as a variation on “Legally Blonde,” where Reese Witherspoon becomes Jane Bond to get back at her boyfriend.

“Covert” follows the second-season premiere of “White Collar” (8 p.m., USA). Tonight, Peter (Tim DeKay) and Neal (Matt Bomer) try to stymie a plot to take down New York’s biggest banks.

• Armchair travel at its purest, “World’s Wackiest Game Shows” (9 p.m., Travel) spans the globe’s TV schedules to explore foreign cultures through seriously escapist fare. First up: electrocution, anyone? Then, would-be opera stars try to perform while dodging cars, and a Mexican game puts an emphasis on mystical creatures, from Vikings to elves. A second helping (9:30 p.m.) has contestants trying to guess how many balloons are required to carry a chicken aloft.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Anaheim hosts the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game (7 p.m., Fox).

• Panic in Detroit on “Warehouse 13” (8 p.m., Syfy).

• A client sheds light on Peter’s dark side on “The Good Wife” (9 p.m., CBS).

• “Good Fortune” on “POV” (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) examines how efforts to help Africa’s poor may be counterproductive.

• Tommy’s first day back becomes hectic on “Rescue Me” (9 p.m., FX).

Cult choice

Jack Benny and Carole Lombard star in director Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 comedy “To Be or Not to Be” (7 p.m., TCM), set in Nazi-occupied Poland. Lombard’s last film.

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