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2003 gt slade
Renewed for 2003-04
If you have a mind to unwind and no axe to grind, "She Spies" may be your cup of tea, stirred anticlockwise. It's the brand of silliness that used to be called a "guilty pleasure" before the bar was lowered by piffle like "The Bachelor" and shows with "contestants" eating worms and washing them down with urine.  

Or motion pictures decimating television memories like "The Avengers" and "Mod Squad." Scratch "Mod Squad," but what's next? "Love Boat – The Movie?"

"She Spies" invites comparisons but, then again, so did "Get Smart" – would you believe no similarity implied? Most often cited is the "Charlie's Angels" show. I haven't cared for most Aaron Spelling productions, including "Charlie's Angels," "Fantasy Island," "TJ Hooker." "Burke's Law" was an exception because it had the same strength as "She Spies," self-mockery. There followed the forgettable "Amos Burke: Secret Agent" and a witless 1994 revival.

 
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Let's be honest. Whenever a show has three chicks, it will be compared to "Charlie's Angels." So what? There's more to television than the cast configuration. I suppose "Charmed" is "Charlie's Angels" with magic. Okay, poor example. But there have been other programmes with former criminals forced to use their skills for good. Remember "South Beach?" or "48 Hours" (Eddie Murphy's, not Dan Rather's). The point is not that it's been done before, but how it's done now.

MGM Entertainment president, Hank Cohen, said "We've come up with a formula for an adrenaline-filled hour that brings the high standards of primetime network television to a first-run syndicated series." Talk about self-mockery.

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She Spies was created with Craig W Van Sickle and Steven Long Mitchell ("The Pretender") and aired in that show's timeslot, the first three episodes on NBC. Now it is usually on Saturday night or Sunday morning in syndication (in 83% of the US). I've always wanted to say this: Check your local listings. So far, they've attracted some great guests, including the delightful Julie Benz. And being in syndication, you may actually hear the closing theme without the credits shrunk to invisibility and an annoying promo over them.

Here's the deal. One babe is a street hustler, one a professional con artist, the other a computer expert. In real life, criminals have been used as security advisers. "She Spies" covers an experimental reform program with the acronym B.A.I.T. (Bureau of Allied Intelligence Tactics). They all live together which, come to think of it, would be fascinating itself. Can you say U.N.C.L.E?

"Shy Spies" is way better than "Charlie's Angels." Unlike "Alias," it has no serious aspirations, making it more like "Power Puff Girls Live." And it doesn't take ten minutes to explain the set-up.

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On second thought, "She Spies" can be serious, particularly concerning the friendships and foibles of the acting ensemble. The creative team includes executive producers Vince Manze (NBC Agency President and Creative Director), Joe Levecchi (NBC Vice President of On-Air Advertising), Jeff Reno & Ron Osborn ("The West Wing," "Moonlighting," "Duckman"). Surprising that with such connections, they couldn't get a network time slot, though they seem to be doing fine in syndication.
Some critics accuse the writers of trying too hard to be funny. As opposed to those who don't try? "She Spies" has the same scatter-shot technique as "Airplane" and "Kentucky Fried Movie." Some shots are amusing, some not, some freakin' hilarious. It's a far, far funnier show than that which precedes it in San Francisco – "Saturday Night Live." (Yes, that's still being produced, defying all logic.) At least "She Spies" has neither laugh track nor stoned-into-oblivion audience, so you can laugh when appropriate.

In "Perilized," flashbacks recount when the "team" first met. Here, the writer used the convention effectively, while poking fun at it. Well done! Of the new 2002-2003 programmes, "She Spies" is my favourite. You may disagree, but I'm gt slade and you're not.

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