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The WB's FEARLESS: Need We Fear It''

I am – Hercules!!

“Fearless” is about a hot undercover FBI agent with a helpful genetic abnormality: she cannot feel fear!

The good news? It’s from impossibly successful producers Jerry Bruckheimer & Jonathan Littman (“CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “Without A Trace,” “Skin,” “Cold Case”). The better news? It stars drool-worthy Rachael Leigh Cook (“Josie and the Pussycats”) and fondly remembered “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” players Eric Balfour (“24,” “Veritas: The Quest”) and Bianca Lawson (“Save the Last Dance”).

Starting this fall, “Fearless” airs 9 p.m. Tuesdays on the WB, opposite “24,” “Frasier,” “According To Jim” and “The Guardian.”

“Hacker” says the show “frequently strains credibility” and “will draw a lot of comparisons to ‘Alias’ because of its premise, but right now it's more on par with ‘Dark Angel’ in terms of quality.” “Mr. Blonde” calls it “crap.”

Here’s “Hacker”:


Cast: Rachael Leigh Cook, Eric Balfour, Bianca Lawson, Ian Somerhalder, Erich Anderson, Judith Hoag, Gregory Itzin

Airs: Tuesdays 9PM ET/PT on the WB

Premise: Gaia Moore (Cook), a 23-year-old FBI agent is recruited for the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), a unit made up of young agents whose job is to take down the increasing number of young criminals. And, oh yeah, she also happens to have been born without the gene for fear. (Side note: The show is loosely based on a series of successful young-adult books. I've never read any of them, but from what I gather the character in the show is older (shocking for the WB) and the FBI angle is new. Also, although the preview page at the WB website describes Gaia as 21 and a member of "The Y Unit," the pilot and the network's official press release describe her as 23 and the unit as the SIU. Weird.) The basic plot of the pilot revolves around Gaia being recruited for the unit and helping to take down a group of identity thieves who run up people's credit card bills and drain their bank accounts. Gaia is aided by her new partners, Harmony (Lawson) and Ryan (Balfour). During the course of the pilot we learn that Ryan is a trust-fund baby trying to prove himself, while Harmony grew up in the ghetto, but worked hard to get out. Harmony and Ryan don't completely trust Gaia, and while trying to learn more about her, discover that access to her FBI profile is restricted. Gaia, meanwhile, has always felt like an outsider and is reluctant to let anyone know about her unusual genetic defect. We also learn that Gaia was largely raised by her godmother (Hoag) and godfather (Anderson) because Gaia's father (a green-beret and CIA agent) took off when she was young because he felt responsible for Gaia's mother's death. Gaia is aided in her efforts not only by her new partners, but by Jordan (Somerhalder), a former identity thief who was recently busted by the FBI and is using his connections to help them take down his old associates.

Review: While a lot of the premise sounds pretty cliché on paper, it actually manages to come off less so on screen. However, the show definitely needs some work. The dialogue is often unrealistic or cheesy (using the word "fearless" several times in the show certainly didn't help) and the show frequently strains credibility. For example, at the beginning of the pilot Gaia is already an FBI agent. Instead of being called into her boss's office and transferred to the SIU, she gets pulled over while in her car and has a semi-secret meeting with the Special Agent in Charge. In a post-"Alias" world a scene in which Gaia used a fire hose to bungee jump down a flight of stairs didn't faze me. However, a scene in which she and Jordan discuss the possibility of his cover being blown while sitting right across the table from one of the criminals, and another in which Harmony and Ryan hustle Gaia and Jordan into a van right outside of one of the criminal's buildings both seemed kind of ridiculous. And while the pilot establishes that Gaia is a loner, having her knock out Jordan's ex-girlfriend to prevent her from blowing his cover instead of simply having Harmony or Ryan escort her out of the building made little to no sense.

Having Rachael Leigh Cook as the lead is also a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand she's a recognizable name who fits right in with the WB image. On the other hand, she may not be charismatic enough to pull off the lead. Sure Gaia doesn't feel fear, but from the pilot it's hard to tell if she feels any emotions at all. Harmony makes a point of telling Gaia that she sees nothing when she looks into her eyes, and it's hard to argue otherwise because Cook comes off as a complete blank on screen. In fairness though, the pilot never really requires her to display a wide range of emotions, and hopefully she'll be able to do so if/when the script requires. The rest of the cast is filled out with recognizable faces who've all been on the WB before. Eric Balfour and Ian Somerhalder have proven themselves capable actors in "Six Feet Under" and "The Rules of Attraction" respectively, but the show might have been better served if they had swapped roles. Somerhalder, having played a typical rich kid in "The Rules of Attraction" and "Young Americans" seems better suited for the role of Ryan, while Balfour, who played computer whiz Milo on "24," seems better suited for the role of Jordan. The pilot also establishes a possible romance between Gaia and Jordan which is unfortunate because Cook and Balfour have more chemistry on screen and Somerhalder is prettier than Cook is anyway. However, it's hard to know how exactly Somerhalder's character will be involved in the future because he's not an FBI agent and it's doubtful that every episode will revolve around identity theft.

My one other complaint with the show is the way in which Gaia's background is introduced. The pilot starts off with voiceover that plainly states that she was born without the gene for fear. Thus, when Gaia finally reveals this to her partners, it comes off as anti-climatic. Anyone who tunes into the show is bound to know her condition already, but given Gaia's resolve to keep it a secret, the show would have worked better had it simply established that Gaia was "different" and not revealed exactly how until the end. The voiceover also never explains how or why Gaia joined the FBI in the first place, or why she didn't join the SIU right out of the academy, and little reason is given for her sudden transfer. However, because the version I saw only ran 38 minutes without commercials it's likely that some scenes will need to be added, and voiceover explaining a little more of Gaia's background would be an easy way to make the pilot longer.

Like I said, the show could use some work, but the premise has potential and all of the ingredients are there for it to be successful. There was a review on the net a few months ago from someone who saw a scene being filmed for the pilot and described it as looking "thrown together." This wasn't the case with the version I saw, and in fact, the scene that that person described never appeared in the pilot. The show is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and the production values are on par with his other shows. Those shows are all crime-fighting ones so hopefully the writers won't have any trouble coming up with interesting cases for the unit. However, they'll also have to balance those with more personal stories, and the pilot did a better job of giving us a glimpse into the character's personal lives than the awkward attempts made on "C.S.I." The pilot also had a few cool scenes demonstrating Gaia's lack of fear (her voice never spikes on an audio lie detector, and at one point she's willing to let a bullet pass through her in order to take down her captor) and it will be interesting to see how the writers incorporate her fearlessness into future episodes. I'm assuming this show will draw a lot of comparisons to "Alias" because of its premise, but right now it's more on par with "Dark Angel" in terms of quality. Like most shows, though, whether or not it's a success will really depend on the quality of future episodes, and how much of a chance people are willing to give it.

Here’s “Mr. Blonde”:

"Fearless". For those who dont know the premise, Rachael Leigh Cook (Shes All That, Josie and the Pussycats) portrays a young FBI agent named Gaia, not quite like the rest of her fellow feds. You see, Gaia was born without the gene for fear, so there's no mission Gaia not willing to take (WOW!). As she explains, she understands fear, shes not insane, but she just doesnt "feal it in (her) gut". Not just that but, apparently, she still has the adrenilline rush that normally acompanies fear, or something like that, so she is able to have super-strength and senses in times of crisis. Now, if your like me, you might be thinking this is possibly the stupidest fucking premise ever, but wait, it gets worse. You see, because of her reckless nature, no one really wants to work with Gaia. They dont know about her abnormality, they just know shes weird. In steps her Godfather, a senior FBI agent who's got a mission for her. Apparently, Gaia's parents are dead, or something like that, so her Godfather raised and looked out for her. I might be slightly mistaken by that, but lets just say the plot wasnt exactly drawing me in. Anyway, her G-Man G-dad knows about her abnormality, he just keeps it secret. His new assignment for her, is to head a squad of young, goodlooking, FBI agents, who are able to go were normal agents cant (Think "Fastlane" or "21 Jump Street"). This group consists of Ryan played by Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under, 24, and Kids Incorporated(seriously)). Also in the squad is Harmony played by Bianca Lawson (Kendra the Vampire Slayer from "Buffy"). By the end of the pilot, the group also includes a young hacker/con-man name Jordan played by Ian Somerhalder (Young Americans, Rules of Attraction) who convienently gets asked to join the crew as a Confidential Informant. Each character has a cheesy backstory, Ryan is the son of a wealthy and famous lawyer, Harmony is from da' hood and is actually described as "Lil' Kim goes cop", or some such crap. And Jordan is the son of a ruthless criminal who the crew is trying to takedown, in the pilot. Needless to say, through the course of the pilot, her squad keeps asking why Gaia's so "kaaarrraaaazzzy", which she reveals to them at episodes end. All in all, the pilot wat CRAP. The acting is mediocre at best. The premise is rediculous. FBI agents are not that young and do not look like that. But my biggest problem was the horrid exposition by Gaia through-out the show. The opening of the show is a voice over by Gaia explaining her oddity, flat out. Theres no mistry, no build up, nothing. It tries to present itself as a cool concept being explained to the audience, trying to hit them suddenly and exspecting the audience to go "Wow", instead you think, "thats retarded." If it had been played out over the episode, it might have been more believable when her exact abnormality is revealed, but instead its rediculous. Oh well, I guess the WB isn't know for it's subtlety.

My grade for the pilot "Fearless": D.

I am – Hercules!!

Readers Talkback
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  • June 14, 2003, 4:10 a.m. CST

    she just doesnt "FEAL it in (her) gut" WTF!?!

    by God_O_Thunder

    Doesn't anyone spell check when writing or posting these reviews? Oh BTW.........first!

  • June 14, 2003, 8:10 a.m. CST

    But the most important question....

    by ThingsThatTimDog

    Is Rachel still looking hotter than hell? Im still convinced that is the only reason Dark Angel lasted two seasons. Then Alba went all anorexic and see what happened.

  • June 14, 2003, 9:58 a.m. CST

    opposite 24?

    by Steal_Dragon

    Isn't that when Smallville is on. Is it moving to another day, or to 8:00?

  • June 14, 2003, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Didn't Batman TAS have a take on this concept already?

    by Darth Lechon

    It was an ep where the Scarecrow sprayed Batman with this toxin that took away his fear. The thing was, he became so reckless that he almost killed some people. I thought that was genius at the time. This show...I dunno. I'd have to see the first ep before I passed any sort of judgement. However, I'm with ThingsThatTimDog. If Rachel's still as hot as she was in Josie and the Pussycats, I'll watch a few. (Well, at least one.)

  • June 14, 2003, 11:25 a.m. CST

    She has to be 23...

    by buckna

    Random bit of trivia here... The FBI has minimum age requirements, you have to be at least 23 in order to be a special agent....

  • June 14, 2003, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Absolutely stupid. A law enforcement officer who doesn't know fe

    by SexyBeast

    I mean give mea break. Fear is what helps people survive, its a basic concept. Plus this girl is 23 years old and in the FBI? I don't think so. She must have done 2 years to get a bachelors and another 2 years to graduate law school. Because she certainly didn't bust her hump working as a beat cop for 4 years out of high school. This show is doomed.

  • June 14, 2003, 1:28 p.m. CST

    This show scares the shit out of me!

    by Regis Travolta

    I'm afraid to watch it. I will never watch it, not opposite 24.

  • June 14, 2003, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Tuesday at 9ET? Dammit.

    by Cardiff Giant

    I was all, "Whoa, Rachael Leigh Cook on TV!" But then you said that it plays opposite 24, and I was like, "No way!" Oh well. I'm going out to buy at TiVo.

  • June 14, 2003, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Wasn't Daredevil the first person without fear?

    by RenegadeBushido

    Anyway, SexyBeast made a good comment there and I'd like to add more. Not really on the realist side but more on the side of fiction. This is a show so, in effect, it must have a deal of drama. Now how can you have drama when a person cannot feel a certain emotion such as fear? The character enters a gun battle with a straight face. That is not a person, that is a lifeless machine that shoots and jumps and runs up walls all the time. Plus they need to show how someone without fear can be such a lawful person. Why don't you go out and rob a bank? It's because you FEAR the consequences. Wait, what am I doing? I'm trying to psychoanalyze a show on the WB. This show will be riddled with music from the latest CD's out and one character will own a coffee shop and all the work will be done on IMacs. There is no way that this souless, cliched, contemporary WB music fest will draw me a second from the fast paced, riveting, thrillride that is 24, and I am through.

  • June 15, 2003, 12:51 a.m. CST

    I saw it too.. "D" for drudge.

    by sejin

    This show fails in so many levels--premise, writing, acting-- but the biggest and most obvious aspect of its craptitude is the RLCook's acting. As the first reviewer stated, Cook mistakes "fearless" for "emotionless." She acts like an android the entire show. She shows no personality and gives me no reason to care. The writing is trite and tries to be clever but falls flat. They harp on the fearless thing like it's the coolest premise EVER. Much better than vampire slayers, really! This show tries to be like Buffy in many ways, but fails on every level. Not witty, not suspenseful, and not good drama. If you are looking for a replacement for Buffy, you'll have to wait to see if "Tru Calling" is any good, because this show was painful to watch. Painful, people. I was looking forward to seeing another cool kick-ass chick on the small screen, but this show made me realize that seasons 6 & 7 of "Buffy" were high art compared to "Fearless."

  • June 15, 2003, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Rachael Leigh Cook and Bianca Lawson are the two sexiest tomboy

    by jules windex

  • June 15, 2003, 8:08 a.m. CST

    ? happened to the Maxim special on NBC

    by radjac29

    anybody in the know, know why? ps I love that blood vat on fear factor (instant classic)

  • June 15, 2003, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Read the will help

    by zathras34

    Hey all..hope this may help.. I have not seen any of the pre showed advanced copies of the pilot. I did hear that It helps alot if you can read the books the show takes place after the last novel..which I believe is 18 or twenty in all...My neice believe it or not had the first 6..and since they are in the teen section of your local bookstore.. They are pleasant to read without being most shows which are on now in Its a good thing to have around during these boring summer be out in the sun..on a nice warm day..and enjoy what they have to offer..and as always opinions vary..some may like it some wont..way of life.. But in my opinion they are fun to read..and the more you read the more you Can clearly see why racheal leigh cook..can really nail this part..I just look forward to seeing what some of you already have....thats what makes fall the best time of the shows to which to get goosebumps...and yea rachel leigh cook is hot..I d be lying if I said if ya want let me know what ya think...I hope this helps.... Best to everyone...

  • June 15, 2003, 5:20 p.m. CST

    That was "Lil' Kim goes CONDOLEEZA"

    by jinX in Condoleeza Rice. Cook plays Gaia as someone who feels no emotion instead of just no fear. The adrenaline line I didnt get but it is something like, when people's fear kicks in they get an adrenaline rush, that clouds their actions, Gaia doesnt get that rush under pressure so she operates better under situations that tweak most people. When a hostage taker holds a gun on her, she can keep a level enough head to be able to approach and disarm him, whereas someone else would be too worked up to act with as level a head and sure a hand. Kind of dodgy, but I can suspend disbelief and go along with it. The crooks are so "kewl" you'll wish that when she says "I'm not a cop because if I were a cop, I WOULDN'T kill you now", you'll wish she WOULD pull the trigger (while holding the gun in a cool upside down grip I've not seen before). Weak link in the cast is the guy who plays their boss (and Gaia's godfather I believe), he speaks with absolutely NO tone of authority. Perhaps like the similar 21Jumpstreet, they will replace the adult leader figure with either a different character (as in 21J) or a better actor. JINX OUT

  • June 15, 2003, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Re: Read the will help

    by castingbattle

    Having read the books, I can say it won't help with the tv show. Gaia is the only character in both the books and show (out of the main characters listed on the show's website, at least), and the only thing the plots seem to have in common is the fact she's fearless. I'm going to watch the show, but know I will be disappointed if I start to expect it to be anything like the books. Oh, well.

  • June 16, 2003, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Wheres Smallville?

    by jinX

    Wednesdays at 8. It is the new lead in for Angel silly!

  • June 16, 2003, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Its tv..Its imagination...

    by zathras34

    Ok...I think this is the only time I have ever written twice about something..but after reading some of the opinions..I cant help but say.."GOD..I used to dispise some of the people like those in the talkback list.. The ones I am talking about are the ones that are going around saying.."well there's no way she's in the FBI by 23 and it takes this many years of law school and this many years of grad school..yadda yadda yadda.. DUH..I KNOW THAT ITS A TV SHOW.. LIGHTEN UP!!..its not supposed to be fiction...I will finish witth this..Tv was always Ment as an escape from reality...then we have STUPID reality shows why we watch tv and read fiction to beging with ..TO ESCAPE REALITY... So..with that being said..Its only a TV show..Leave all your little nit pick realitys at home.. its no wonder why there is nothing good on..and I will leave you with this thought..."Seinfeld IS WAS AND WILL BE THE WORST SHOW EVER IN THE HISTORY OF TELIVISION" AND THAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE FOR NO ONE TO CROSS.. now you may all start your whining and little talkbacks... Its fiction...let the details be left alone...when you read the many said..oh yeah right like there is no way that happened.."WELL DUH..ITS FICTION..FICTION GOOD..REGUARDLESS OF DETAIL..GEEZ..OR AS HULK SAY.."MUST STOP TALKING NOW..ME PROVE POINT BOTTOM LINE"

  • June 16, 2003, 5:36 p.m. CST

    it's revenge of the rip offs ....

    by Anya_is_hot

    Fearless is a ripoff of Dark ANGEL->Dark Angel is a rip off of BUFFY(everything always leads back to the buffster...lets take a moment:(.... I did not mention Alias in this post because I kinda like it(but its a rip off of le femme nikita, but lets not go there...

  • June 16, 2003, 8:13 p.m. CST

    If she can't feel fear...

    by tigerwolf

    why would she be "...reluctant to let anyone know about her unusual genetic defect."? Sounds like it could be pretty good, or it could be like "Strange Luck" where it turns out the premise makes no difference since ALL characters in ALL fiction have Strange Luck...

  • June 16, 2003, 10:01 p.m. CST

    Read?....what mean read?

    by zathras34

    Read?...what mean read?... I read just like everyone else.. right to left...and bottom to top.. "Me read good better"...(see hulk reference on my last post).. "have a nice day"