Lunchtable TV talk – Allegiance


One of the latest in network TV’s scrambling to copycat critical hits, Allegiance, exactly as one article says, is a dumbed-down version of The Americans – which is, conversely, one of the smartest shows on TV.

Luckily Allegiance has been cancelled:

“NBC said “nyet” to Allegiance late last week, pulling the dumbed-down version of The Americans from its lineup and effectively canceling the Thursday-night drama. It was a tough blow for the show’s producers and its roughly 6 million viewers, but at least their suffering is over.”

I cannot really even explain how unappealing this show has been. Hope Davis is a better actress than this show can allow. The eldest daughter in the family, Margarita Levieva, is likewise better. She keeps turning up in roles and on shows that seem beneath her. She needs to land somewhere that will let her be more than a supporting player to see if she can hack it. Giancarlo Esposito has appeared in the last couple of episodes as the ultimate villain – and he’s always fun to see, but even he can’t save this urgent mess.

The only other point I wanted to make about this show is that it is nice to see an Asian man in a semi-leading role that is not in any way a stereotype. Kenneth Choi, who has also been seen recently in Sons of Anarchy as a more stereotypical Asian-man character, the leader of a Chinese gang – plays Sam Luttrell, the New York CIA station chief. He’s no-nonsense and like any other character. Race does not really come into question – and maybe in a show like this it doesn’t. It’s more in shows like The Walking Dead or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt that stereotypes come up and people begin questioning the roles. Glenn, one of the long-time survivors in The Walking Dead, ends up not only as a badass fighter but also is in love with Maggie, a fairly religious southern (white) woman. Plenty of discussion has swirled around his role, especially early on. But these days, a lot more talk focuses on Dong, the GED student with whom Kimmy Schmidt gets involved on the Netflix series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It pokes fun at some of the awkward racial issues – sometimes in juvenile ways. But it also features an Asian immigrant male as a romantic lead rather than as the butt of every tired joke or at the heart of every stereotypical role. For this reason, I can appreciate Allegiance’s use of Choi.

Otherwise, glad to see that Allegiance is not coming back.

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