The TNT cable network has announced a new ten-part series, Agent X, will debut in 2015. The series stars Sharon Stone as the vice-president of the United States, who, upon taking office, finds out that the veep has a top-secret duty essential to the nation’s very existence: protecting the Constitution in times of grave national crisis when the normal functions of government are insufficient to do the task. The VP is assisted in this endeavor by a Chief Steward and Agent X, a top-secret operative who presumably does all the actual field work.
With its producers and creator having been responsible for projects such as The Bourne Identity, Air Force One, and Castle, Agent X is being billed as National Treasure meets The Bourne Identity. Exactly what the means is not specified, but some conclusions are clear. One is that the show, which will also star Gerald McRaney (presumable as the Chief Steward) and Jeff Hephner (as Agent X, I imagine), is that the show will have a good deal of enjoyable silliness to it. The National Treasure movies and the TNT Librarian series of films are, above all, fun to watch. They’re popcorn entertainment of a high quality.
Another evident conclusion we can draw is that Agent X reflects current anxieties among the American people, specifically that the last two presidential administrations (especially the current one) and Congress (specifically, the Senate) have subverted the Constitutional order of the nation and created thereby a serious crisis and major vulnerabilities to threats such as terrorism, disease outbreaks, gargantuan levels of illegal immigration constituting an actual invasion of the country, government invasions of individual privacy, government suppression of business activity and job-creation, and myriad other major ills.
The announcements of the series use the phrase “protect the Constitution” prominently, which seems a clear indicator of this interest.
As such, Agent X may well speak to the current zeitgeist and seems intended to do so in a somewhat abstract and unthreatening way: through an ostensibly frivolous suspense fiction that appears to be dedicated to entertainment above all other concerns. That is how the best popular entertainment tends to work, and it was the formula behind TNT’s successful Falling Skies series, which combined an alien invasion story with a powerful examination of what is required to establish a nation of free people. It will be interesting to see whether Agent X fulfills the promise of its premise and the talents of the people involved in the show.