Few things in the TV industry are predictable anymore, but the cornerstone of the breezy summer procedural stands strong.
This season of global misadventures and banter thick with sexual tension kicks off with “Blood & Treasure,” a new CBS drama about renegades trying to track down priceless artifacts and a notorious terrorist. Danny MacNamara (Matt Barr) is an art enthusiast who’s referred to by his full name more often than not. (He’s also explicitly an “Indiana Jones” fan, so the show isn’t exactly trying to be subtle about his origins.) Lexi (Sofia Pernas) is a fugitive for hire with trust issues and a wicked left hook, who just so happens to also be Danny’s ex-girlfriend. After their foe raids and blows up the tomb of Antony and Cleopatra — yes, that Antony and Cleopatra — Danny calls upon Lexi’s expertise to help him get to the bottom of how and why.
So as you can probably tell from that description, “Blood & Treasure” — from co-creators Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia of CBS’ “Limitless” — is about as straight up a heist series as it gets. Danny and Lexi are recognizably basic characters to anyone who’s watched an action movie, with the slight gender-flipped twist of Danny being the marginal nerd and Lexi preferring to solve all her problems with blunt force. Between them, the federal agents pursuing them, and the ancient Egyptian mystery at the center, “Blood & Treasure” often feels like the writers threw “The Mummy” and “National Treasure” into a blender until they resembled something more network TV friendly. In fact, in a funny bit of coincidence (or is it?), the terrorist is even played by “Mummy” co-star Oded Fehr, who brings a welcome extra dimension to a potentially flat character. (The show also attempts to mitigate the eyebrow-raising optics of a nefarious Middle Eastern terrorist anchoring the action by making Lexi Egyptian, albeit with a posh British accent she credits to private school.) Very little about its opening two hours truly shocks; everything from the story to the dialogue is thoroughly paint by numbers.
On the other hand: that kind of predictable fun is exactly what someone tuning in to a CBS procedural called “Blood & Treasure” probably wants. This isn’t the kind of show that’s trying to reinvent the wheel so much as go for a joyride that can be thrilling even if the destination is clear all along. Throw in some splashy mythology, handsomely shot setpieces on location in Rome and Morocco, and entertaining performances from Fehr, Paras, and a bumbling Michael James Shaw, and you’ve got yourself a solid distraction to turn to in the general desert that is TV’s summer programming.
“Blood & Treasure” premieres with a special two-hour episode Tuesday, May 21 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.