Cross “Hart to Hart” with “Moonlighting” and maybe a little “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and you get “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” a caper show that CBS is billing as a “sophisticated action comedy-drama” (not to pigeonhole it or anything) with “explosive sexual chemistry,” presumably between the two attractive leads, TV vet Scott Bakula and pretty newcomer Maria Bello. Although the stars gamely try to rise above the murky plot, the two just can’t make that sexual tension thing happen, which would be the main draw for this type of sophisticated action comedy drama.
Initial episode intros Bakula, pseudonymously known as Mr. Smith, as a kind of corporate spy. He’s charged with finding Stanley Duke, a scientist who has invented cold fusion, or “lightning in a bottle” as it’s euphemistically termed by both Smiths, creating a a metaphor for what’s supposed to be going on between them.
During his investigation, Bakula stumbles upon Mrs. Smith (Bello), who’s working the same case for a rival company.
Various motorized chases and gun battles ensue, and the two Smiths end up on the same team, a plus for future episodes, now that all the exposition is over.
Bakula and Bello try to bring some ironic, hip sensibility to the straightforward tone of the show, but what really fails is the lack of the David & Maddie, Sam & Diane, Frasier & Lillith sexuality, which, let’s face it, gave “Moonlighting” and “Cheers” look at “Dr. Quinn” before she got married a titillating subtext that boosted ratings.
“Smith’s” aims of melding action and comedy and drama are met (OK, the comedy part not really), but as for what passes as sophisticated well, the producers should sit down with “The Thin Man.”
Excellent use is made of Seattle locations and tech credits are tops.
Sometimes silly, sometimes muddy, “Smith” nonetheless is an innocuous lead-in to the Don Johnson cop actioner “Nash Bridges,” on what CBS is calling “Fun Fridays.”