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'Intelligence' review: Cartoon violence and irony

Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory in the CBS

Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory in the CBS drama "Intelligence." Credit: CBS

THE SHOW "Intelligence"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday night at 9 on CBS/2; moves into its regular time slot Monday at 10 p.m.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT The brain of Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway) has been accessorized with the most advanced computer chip ever made. As such, he combines the best characteristics of a human (intuitive, imaginative) with those of a computer (in this instance, every piece of data on the worldwide info superhighway) allowing him to instantly see patterns, even quasi-read minds. The former war hero is part of a secret program known as Clockwork. As boss of the agency that oversaw its development, Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger), tells him, "We have spent billions of dollars [on something] that every nation would go to war to possess."

MY SAY Tuesday's episode represents a coming-out party for two major TV stars -- Holloway, in his first big post-"Lost" role, and Helgenberger, back after "CSI" -- so attention must be paid. But best not to pay close attention. Since TV is often about superficial impressions, the key one here is that Holloway and Helgenberger look reasonably fabulous. As a cyberpunk, Holloway's still got that surly swagger that made James "Sawyer" Ford as indispensable to "Lost" as the Hatch and Smoke Monster. Helgenberger, as usual, can pretty much stop traffic.

Then, there's the show. Get past the cartoon violence, and stock characters. Ignore (if at all possible) the obvious point that Clockwork is pretty much Chuck Bartowski's "Intersect" and that "Matrix"-like stop motion scenes -- which are artfully designed -- are, well, "Matrix"-like. The fatal flaw is that dumb "intelligence" device, Clockwork, which is basically just a pair of Google glasses in Gabe's brain.

As technologies go, it's not particularly cool. If it were a truly flawless integration of silica with Gabe's brain, then he'd know all the answers even before there were questions to ask. He'd certainly know where all the bad guys are hiding. Problem is, if he knew everything, there would be nothing left to know, which doesn't sound like much of a premise for a standard-issue network action/adventure.

BOTTOM LINE Lots of cartoon violence mixed with -- irony alert -- not enough intelligence.


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