‘Undercovers’ Boss Apologizes: An Attractive Cast Wasn’t Available

by | September 22, 2010 at 6:29 AM | Fall TV Preview 2010, Undercovers

Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in 'Undercovers,' premiering Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 8/7c (NBC)

Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in 'Undercovers,' premiering Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 8/7c (NBC)

Point out to the executive producers of NBC’s ‘Undercovers’ (premiering Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 8/7c) that their two leads are kinda sorta, you know, lacking in the looks department, and you’ll hit a sore spot.

“We tried finding better-looking people, but they weren’t unavailable,” J.J. Abrams (‘Alias’) tells Fancast, following our sarcasm-laced lead.

Adds Josh Reims (‘Brothers & Sisters’), “We’re crossing our fingers that people won’t care.”

First Look, Two Takes: Early Intel On NBC’s ‘Undercovers’

But seriously, while Boris Kodjoe (‘Soul Food’) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (‘Doctor Who’) form what is perhaps the prettiest pair of spies the espionage world has ever seen, they also bring far more critical qualities to their portrayal of Steven and Samantha Bloom, married CIA agents-turned-caterers who get pulled back into the biz when a friend goes missing.

Of Kodjoe’s role, Abrams says, “You had to believe this guy could be an international spy, and Boris knows five languages, was a pro tennis player, has traveled the world… It was a preposterous resume, but perfect for us.”

Mbatha-Raw in turn “seems to be capable of anything,” says J.J. “Everything we asked of her, she just brought it.”

The Fancast Drama Club: NBC Embraces Diversity With ‘Undercovers’ Casting

In addition to its gorgeous exterior, ‘Undercovers’ has underpinnings that look good to sate people’s thirst for a caper series cracklin’ with sexual chemistry that is not of the unresolved kind.

You may be surprised by the producers’ inspiration.

“The goal was to create a show that felt like a throwback to the classic action-adventure comedy – to do something in the spirit of ‘Hart To Hart,’ but updated,” Abrams explains.

Though ‘Hart To Hart’ (which ran from 1979 to ’84 on ABC) may these days seem a bit on the wholesome side, Reims says that what he likes most about it “is that the couple is in love. It’s not a ‘Will they/Won’t they?’ thing.”

Watch this “Sexpionage” clip from ‘Undercovers,’ and then read on for more:

As if boasting TV’s two most telegenic leads and a winning blend of bedroom eyes/butt-kicking wasn’t enough to sell viewers on ‘Undercovers,’ Abrams and Reims also promise that unlike, say, a certain someone’s Rambaldi-heavy spy saga, this will serve up “standalone” episodes.

“There will be ongoing stories with their personal and professional lives,” says Abrams, “but this is in no way a serialized, mythology-heavy show.”

Mind you, the creator of ‘Lost’ knows all about “serialized” and “mythology-heavy.”

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NBC’s ‘Undercovers’ premieres Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 8/7c.