There's absolutely nothing surprising about USA's latest breezy action-adventure series, and of course that's exactly how the network wants it. Covert Affairs is charming enough, though, that it could be fun to watch, even if you can already see how the overarching conspiracy plot introduced in the pilot's final moments will just be spinning its wheels for several seasons to come. Still, a cast including the charming Piper Perabo (who stars as a newbie CIA agent) and solid TV veterans Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett (who was great on the monumentally underrated Invasion) and Peter Gallagher bodes well, as does a tone that recalls the liveliest moments of Alias.
Since this is USA, though, Affairs will probably end up more like Burn Notice, which is still marginally entertaining but stuck in a serious rut, with the illusion of change long since having replaced any actual forward plot momentum. Alias, on the other hand, had wild plot developments every other episode in its later years, and some kind of balance between the two approaches would be best. For now, it's enough to watch Perabo's Annie get flustered on her early missions, show cool competence at certain bits of spycraft and banter with her co-workers. Will it be enough to see the same thing over and over again for several seasons? I wouldn't count on it.
Premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on USA.