MI:5 — Americans who have seen the first four seasons of the British series, “MI:5” (known as “Spooks,” in Britain) often liken it to a smarter, more intense version of “24,” the kind of show that, if Jack Bauer were in it, you’d probably find him curled up in a broom closet in a pair of piss-stained jeans bawling, “Take me back to American TV where they don’t melt people’s faces off in frying oil. Not even during sweeps!”
“MI:5″ was actually created in response to “24,” to give the Brits their own high-intensity international terrorist drama, but it’s a completely different beast. In “24,” Jack Bauer might be faced with saving a family’s life or saving a city from exploding and he’d figure out a way to do both, but in “MI:5,”the spies will save London from a terrorist attack, but you’ll also have to watch the agonizing, painful and personalized death of the family they sacrificed to do so. It is brutal, and, unlike “24,” there are no indestructible heroes. In the second episode of the series, a very well known actress in British television — who many considered to be the star of the series — had her head dunked into frying oil, which basically set the stage for the kind of series “MI:5″ would be. In 10 seasons of “MI:5,” the cast has turned over innumerable times, so you never know if an agent will live or die on a particular mission. They don’t even wait for season finales to kill off major characters: A character could be developed over three seasons, and then suddenly be killed at any time, on any mission, and often in an agonizingly violent manner. The episode-to-episode missions are gripping, and the season-long story lines are harrowing. It’s great television, but I would bail after series six. It’s at that point — after the show has taken the stakes as high as they can go — that the wheels begin to come off. (All 10 Series, up through 2011, are available on Netflix Instant).
I want more like this!
Follow us on Facebook and get the latest before everyone else.