'Chaos' Review: An Unexpectedly Fun Spy Surprise
'Chaos' Review: An Unexpectedly Fun Spy Surprise
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Somewhere between NBC's Chuck and USA's Covert Affairs is Chaos, the new spy dramedy from CBS premiering tonight at 8pm. It's not what you'd expect from the network full of crime procedurals, and that refreshing change of pace is what makes it a delightful surprise.

Chaos centers on a new CIA recruit named Rick Martinez (Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodriguez), a lovable but somewhat clueless guy who gets sucked into a group of outside-the-box agents in Clandestine Administration and Oversight Services.

His new team is like the offspring of two Bradley Cooper films: Imagine if the gang from The Hangover was The A-Team. There's a know-it-all leader Michael (Eric Close), a wacky Scottish transplant named Billy who provides comic relief (James Murray) and Casey (O Brother, Where Art Thou?'s Tim Blake Nelson), nicknamed the Human Weapon.

This rogue's gallery of CIA agents pick their own missions and operate outside traditional guidelines, much to the consternation of the director, played by the always reliable Kurtwood Smith (Red from That '70s Show).

Aside from the cast, Chaos has a very impressive creative pedigree. The pilot is directed by film director Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour franchise), whose only other series directing credit is the pilot of Prison Break. It's created by Tom Spezialy, who has worked on shows like Desperate Housewives, Reaper and Parker Lewis Can't Lose. That combination provides an interesting mix of styles and a particular eye for the blend of comedy, drama and action that works perfectly on Chaos.

The tone of the show moves from a quirky workplace comedy full of the kind of guy humor you might see in the movie Office Space to a strange action comedy with the gang fighting evil terrorists.

For CBS, it's something completely different. It doesn't quite fit with anything the network has on its schedule and it's a bit of a mystery why they would take a chance on something so unique. While that may be its downfall, it's also what makes is so damn enjoyable.

Chaos is like a manlier version of Chuck, replacing the nerdiness and emotional depth of that spy dramedy with a frat boy mentality. With an oddball cast and smart writing, the show works surprisingly well and should offer a refreshing change of pace for anyone who tunes in expecting the next NCIS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)