NBC has decided not to give J.J. Abrams’ Undercovers a full season order. The show, despite an appealing cast and a fun premise, never managed to find an audience that NBC deemed big enough. Last night’s show scored 5.8 million viewers and a 1.3 adult demographic rating. Although these numbers would be more than enough to sustain an original cable show, broadcast networks need more to turn a profit.
This is another recent cancellation that I’m saddened by. Admittedly, this one never sinked its claws into me the way that Abrams’ other shows (like Alias and Lost) did, primarily because it never featured his famous love of mythologies (i.e., ongoing, overarching storylines with complicated backstories). Itt was a light, frothy hour of entertainment that had sparkling chemistry between its two leads, fun globetrotting adventures, and some great humor. But my wife and I repeatedly remarked, from the very first episode, that Undercovers simply offered too little to invest in. It was all gravy and no meat. Alias proved you could a jet-setting spy series that was both adventurous fun and filled with heavy mythology, so why would Abrams cripple himself by removing one of the primary ingredients that make his shows work?
It’s especially bittersweet since show co-creator Josh Reims just days ago announced his intention to ramp-up the show’s mythology (which is centered around the CIA’s hidden agenda for bringing the main characters back into the fold) in order to better ensnare Abrams’ usual fanbase.
Unfortunately, Reims recognized the mistake too late in the game. Undercovers now goes down in history as the first official failure for J.J. Abrams in primetime network television.