NBC has declined the option to pick up the back nine season order for JJ Abrams’ spy series, Undercovers, says Variety, effectively canceling the show. Undercovers had trouble finding an audience on Wednesdays, averaging only a 1.3 and 4 share last night. Only three more episodes are scheduled to air, from Nov. 17 to Dec. 1. Beyond that, there is no decision yet as to when to air the final three episodes, if at all.
The spy series was a first, in casting two Black leads, Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as retired spies turned caterers who are lured back to the CIA after a five-year layoff. I covered the show here and caught a few episodes. A personal take on the series was that it was simply too light in its tone, trying to mine unsuccessfully territory that the Peacock’s other spy series, Chuck, already fields quite well. That show features a spy couple, Chuck and Sarah, who try to balance a relationship with the demands of their jobs. But it also has a firm and evolving mythology behind it, as well as a strong supporting cast.
There was a hinted-at mythology – why the the couple was really asked to return to the CIA – within Undercovers that never really got the chance to be explored. It seems that with the bygone Alias, Chuck and the other new spy series, Nikita, an underlying narrative to tie everything together is key, something which Undercovers lacked. Aside from the unique situation in the relationship of the two leads (man and wife spies), Undercovers never really brought anything new to the subgenre, with missions that have been done before (rescue an agent, stop a bombing, track down a terrorist, etc.). The two leads were immensely attractive, but other show elements, namely their characters’ catering backstory wasn’t very interesting. It certainly was no Buy More.