Would you believe there is very little to laugh about in this return of “Get Smart,” a decidedly unfunny undertaking that could have clearly benefited from some input from Buck Henry or at the very least a phone call from Mel Brooks.
Series premiere is likely to leave viewers disappointed by this untriumphant return of bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams), whose organization, Control, is once again pitted against Kaos in the never-ending struggle of good and evil.
The original series ran 1965-70, with the character first revived for the 1980 feature film “The Nude Bomb.” While this new series doesn’t quite implode like “The Nude Bomb,” Maxwell Smart seemingly only resurfaces when the fashion world is at risk. Much like the film, Sunday’s seg has Smart and his charges endeavoring to save the fashion world — in this instance, by protecting a dress designer’s indestructible fabric, called Detracalon; if Kaos gets the dress, it could result in the decline of the gross national product.
In this update for the ’90s, Smart has become chief of Control while his wife , Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), is now a congresswoman on the committee that oversees the org’s budget.
The pair try to guide their son Zach (Andy Dick), a dorky researcher for Control, into the world of espionage after dad elevates him to agent status.
Zach is teamed with shapely Agent 66 (Elaine Hendrix) to protect a dress made of the unique fabric during a fashion show, and in the process seek out the scheming Kaos agents trying to steal the design.
Adams expectedly has the Smart demeanor down cold, and Feldon, who hasn’t changed a lick in the 25 years since the first series went off the air, doesn’t miss a beat when interacting with the chief.
Dick’s cartoonish Zach is at times too silly, but reminiscent of what endeared viewers to the original TV series (which was created by Henry and Brooks), while Hendrix is grating and unfunny.
Under Nick Marck’s direction, the jokes lay there like many of Smart’s and Zach’s pratfalls, and writers Michael J. Digaetano and Lawrence Gay don’t seem to have nailed the rhythm of the familiar Control/Kaos dance.
The scribes also try to induct a few catch phrases of their own into the lexicon, with Zach frequently uttering “That didn’t hurt” when he’s not regurgitating “and loving it”– the latter a remark that is not likely to come from Fox execs when the ratings are delivered.