Covert Affairs (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus joins the CIA and get's pally with the agents in this Piper Perabo show...
Covert Affairs tells the story of Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) who joins the CIA. Employed within the Domestic Protection Division (DPD), Annie begins a series of missions, going under cover and also struggling fitting in with team around her, except for immediate friend, Auggie (Christopher Gorham) a blind agent who becomes Annie’s closest friend. The series begins with Annie explaining that a couple of years ago she had a three week intense relationship with the man of her dreams, who left in the middle of the night with a cryptic goodbye letter. Now it seems he is a CIA target. What will Annie do?
Covert Affairs is described as a show that looks at the real lives, loves and issues of the work place but with the spy backdrop. This makes the show light and unthreatening, even with the car chases, fights and mean bosses. Essentially this show feels like mid-afternoon easy to watch melodrama. It’s a little bit more violent and a touch more bloody but the wannabe smart dialogue and romantic entanglements within the show make for light comedy, easy to follow drama and has a lot of character housewives would find easy to love.
With Doug Liman as the producer the show carries itself with a semi cinematic set up. It’s certainly no Bourne or Mr and Mrs Smith but there’s a sense the action has had an established action director give it an extra tweak, even if it never quite reaches beyond TV style violence.
Essentially the show plays like Alias Lite. No one is all that unlikable, villains are never too mean and the action sometimes feels more for show that realistic. It’s a dead easy series to watch, with a likable cast but it’s very much something I could hop in and out of as opposed to anything I’d care all that much about.
Shot digitally, the show is bright, warm and afternoon TV-tastic. Reds run extremely hot, with pinky skin tones what display redder than red cheekbones and in certain scenes everyone wears lipstick it seems, male or female.
The image is clean enough but extremely soft around the edges. Textures hold up well despite that with wrinkles, skin blemishes and wrinkles showing on every face. This doesn’t always work out for the best with the female cast, given the strong lighting showing off every sign of age (a trait TV shows tend to avoid) but the light, glossy looks of Covert Affairs matches the style of the show and makes for a show that doesn’t try to hide it’s TV setting.
The wannabe smart dialogue is strong throughout, sitting comfortable in the centre of the mix, however music struggles a little bit. The Florence and the Machine song used in the pilot episodes opening feels confined and nowhere near powerful enough and the same goes for the other songs peppered throughout the series. The show’s score manages a little bit better but it’s pretty generic incidental TV stuff, so doesn’t exactly push any limits. Gunshots hold their own bass wise and offer a fair bit of power given the right situation and car chases bring a more lively feel but again are nowhere near as dynamic as slicker TV shows can manage.
All the discs start up with the Universal Blu-ray sizzle reel. HD trailers on DVD never do them justice do they.
The first disc features an extended Pilot and deleted scenes (04:17). Disc 2 offers some more deleted scenes as well as a commentary on the Auggie episode ‘Communication Breakdown’ The track features Piper Perabo, Christoper Gorman, Executive Producer Doug Liman plus creators / writers Matt Corman and Chris Ord, as well as producer David Bartis. The group seem to enjoy one another’s company, laughing, giving each other as well as fellow cast members praise and giving tiny nuggets of insider information about the show.
Disc 3 has more deleted scenes, a ‘Gag Reel (02:15) featuring Piper’s infectious cackle.
‘Welcome to the Farm’ (13:39) is a good overview for the show from all involved. ‘Blind Insight’ (03:55) focuses on blind character Auggie. The longest extra is a ‘Set Tour’ (13:50) which was pretty dull and lastly there’s audio commentaries for the Pilot.(Non extended version) and ‘When the Levee Breaks’ from the same participants as before.
Covert Affairs was a light and breezy watch. Mid-afternoon TV seems a perfect home for this show and given a spare forty minutes between doing things, it’s a show I could easily catch episodes of and not have an overwhelming urge to switch over. Okay, maybe if it was on a channel with adverts I would.
The presentation here is quite typical for the style of the show but is on the upper end of good DVDs in terms of looks. There's a serviceable audio track that never pushes any limits and as for the extras, they are okay. Nothing too exciting but enough for the fans of the show to enjoy.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 18th June 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English for Hard of Hearing
Extras: Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Set Tour
Easter Egg: No
Cast: Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett, Sendhil Ramamurthy
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama and Romance
Length: 480 minutes
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