Spike’s series following DEA agents debuts tonight

DEA, a new series, debuts on Spike tonight at 11 p.m. ET. The show is executive produced by Al Roker, and “follows Special Agents as they work cases ranging from street level dealers all the way up to international drug traffickers” in Detroit, according to the network. The first act of the first episode is online.

Agent Justin Mohr told the Detroit Free Press, “I think the difference between us and general cop shows … it goes into relationships … when we’re not on the streets. … I think they did a good job of capturing how we work as a group.”

The first episode does, in many ways, feel like an updated version of COPS, especially with the increased focus on the personalities of the DEA agents it follows. The cinematography is also a lot stronger, and it’s cleaner and easier to watch than its predecessor. There’s also a stronger sense of tension and drama, because the agents work up to, say, raiding a house, rather than just responding to a call and finishing it within one segment. Unfortunately, the series opts for an unnecessary narrator who nearly always states the obvious, a sign that producers think viewers are morons.

Other critics also find that insufferable, but generally like the series. The New York Daily News’ David Hinckley says “the producers ramp up the drama with ominous music and narration that’s determined not to leave a single cliche unspoken,” although “the show’s subjects are interesting enough to make routine observations seem much more meaningful.” And The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard says that while the show “sets up viewers to be disappointed” because “the voice-over narrator warns that these daring law enforcement agents could face disaster at any second,” which never materializes, “The best moments come when the show goes afield to show the camaraderie between the men who share this stressful job.”

DEA [Spike]
New cable series ‘DEA’ follows federal drug cops in metro Detroit [Detroit Free Press]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.