It really does look like a great setup--having the husband be a shadowy figure and the tortured daddy-issued past of the heroine is all very Alias, which seems promising. And when I say promising, I mean it's great to take that Alias vibe as long as it doesn't have a J.J.-esque turn toward a deus ex machina wrapped up in the form of a Renaissance inventor. Also, there will never be another Jack Bristow, so that's certainly a pity.
But so far, so good. James Spader is fantastically oily with a nice side of dead eyes, and he could do great things with this role. The one area that I'm going to need a little bit of persuasion concerns the choice of Megan Boone as our heroine at large, Elizabeth Keen.
Jennifer Garner she is not. She's not horrible (other than the aforementioned-permanently-pink-frosted-lips that seem to trigger rage blackouts every time I see them), but she also doesn't convey any of the toughness and brilliance that is supposed to be a part of her character. There are plenty of women in Hollywood that are equally stunning who also could give a layered performance. I want to see some brittleness in her mask of professionalism, feel a core of toughness, know that there is some real intelligence behind the perfectly mascaraed eyes. So far, I haven't gotten that from Boone. At most, Megan Boone was conveying an Everywoman reaction to her circumstances, which I feel just doesn't cut it when comparing her performance with the dialogue.
However, it was the first episode. There is hope. Boone certainly didn't come off as a straight-up ingenue/dummy, so I remain delighted to see what happens next.
Sidenote: Diego Klattenhoff, known for his stint in Homeland, is playing Agent Donald Ressler in this show. Was it intentional on the part of the set hairdresser to dye his hair so that he now looks like Damien Lewis's little brother? Yes, hair and makeup matter to me! I will not apologize!