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Talk Back: NBC's "My Own Worst Enemy"

By now you've read my advance review of NBC's new Christian Slater spy drama My Own Worst Enemy and had the opportunity to watch it yourself.

I'm curious to see what you thought about the series premiere of My Own Worst Enemy ("Breakdown"), which introduced the audience to Slater's Henry Spivey/Edward Albright; one is the consummate career-driven family man, the other is a deadly intelligence operative with a penchant for fast cars and faster women.

Were you as bothered by the episode's incongruities and sloppy plotting as I was? Did you think that Slater himself was pretty darn underwhelming? And did you care at all about Henry's family or Fainburg's Marbles? Do you care why Henry and Edward seem to be emerging at inopportune times? And, most importantly, will you be tuning in again next week?

Talk back here.

Missed the series premiere of My Own Worst Enemy? No worries. You can watch it after the jump...


Completely underwhelming. Sure, there are worse things on TV but this should have been much, much better. Even Slater's performance left much to be desired. His lines in the opening scene (about not dreaming, etc.) just came off as cheesy. My #1 spy of the season is still Chuck. No doubt.
Anonymous said…
Was really glad I read your review before I watched last night. I had high expectations for this originally but knew after reading your piece that it wouldn't live up to those. I had thought better of Eisendrath and Smilovic than this bloated messy show. I won't be watching again next week no matter what they try to tease us with. Slater was OK but not anything special and the rest of the cast was pretty hit or miss. I laughed out loud when Woodard said her ridiculous line about existentialists. How hard are they trying to be clever here?
Anonymous said…
Agreed. I half watched it as I found it pretty boring. Won't be watching again.
Page48 said…
It's going to be hard to care about the 'marbles' if they don't give us any hint about what their significance is.

The show was reminiscent in some ways of "Jekyll", where the two personalities find way to communicate with each other using digital technology. Also flirts with "Dollhouse" elements such as memory wipes and personality implants.

This kind of show begs for the serial treatment, but we're in an era where serial is like cancer, so let's hope we're not looking at another baddie-of-the-week show that spends a whole year unfolding 10 minutes worth of plot. The gimmick of dueling personalities won't last long, so it needs to get Alias-like in a next week.
CL said…
I don't know... I think you're right in that the show runners are too good to make all the mistakes you mention. I think it's too early to judge. What if some of those things were done deliberately? It seems to me that AJ Sun is already at odds with Edward, and that they are currently waging a silent war. Apparently, Edward has "secrets". And Mavis will "do anything to protect this project". Perhaps leaving Henry in his apartment was a way to find out more of those secrets. There was one shot, just after Mavis left, where it looked like there was a hidden camera monitoring everything Henry did. And who says AJ Sun gives a damn about Henry's family? They're just a part of Henry's cover life. Maybe someone at AJ Sun wants Edward dead? After all, Edward was pretty quick to assume that they'd want to kill him off. It doesn't make sense. All things considered, they should just cut their losses and have Edward/Henry killed, yes? So why don't they? Even Henry wondered. Personally, I'm of a mind that someone intentionally wanted Henry to discover the truth.

And as for Edward being the good guy...are we sure about that? Maybe it's like Uzi (I know, I agree - it's a stupid name) said: Edward is a psychopath. A psychopath that's too valuable and decorated to kill outright, but too devious to let live. There's just so many different ways the story could go, and too many twists and potential twists. It's just too early to judge.

As for Slater's performance, I saw plenty of things that differentiate Henry and Edward - all of them subtle. For example, Edward talks differently. He pronounces every word he says very exactly, while Henry does not (I didn't catch that until I watched it a second time). Edward talks like someone with a dozen languages under their belt. And I never saw anything in Henry's eyes but frustration, confusion, fear, and love for his family. When I look at Edward's face I see...nothing. A blank mask. He clearly has no fear. No conscience. I only caught glimpses of wry amusement and annoyance at times.

I thought the pilot of My Own Worst Enemy was a good start-off point, all things considered. It had some issues, yes, but nothing that can't be fixed with the next episode. You don't always get a perfect pilot episode from experienced show-runners, as evidenced by Fringe (I'm sure we could all name a dozen more).

The show can go anywhere from here. And I for one, will be tuning in next week to see where. Maybe then I'll be ready to cast my vote.
Unknown said…
I'll try it again next week (tomorrow). Although there was some sloppiness in the pilot, I also remember Star Trek: The Next Generation's pilot as horrible. There're always improvements as the writers hit their stride. This has potential.

I'm not sure I can say the same for Sanctuary. I haven't found the time (aka desire) to watch the 2d and 3d eps I have on TiVo.
Jace Lacob said…
SKST, I would usually give something a second or third shot, except for the fact that (A) NBC unwisely chose to order this to series without the benefit of shooting a pilot first, (B) reshot and recast the first episode, and (C) the drama behind the scenes is making me think this is Bionic Woman redux. We'll see after tomorrow's episode but I would be AMAZED if this got a full-season pickup.

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