On the eve of Killing Eve's series finale (airing this weekend), Deadline reports that "producer Sid Gentle Films is in early stage development on [a] spin-off, though it hasn’t got a greenlight yet." The spin-off (for BBC America and AMC Networks) would focus on Fiona Shaw's character, Carolyn Martens... but not as the cool, commanding spymaster we met in the show's first season. Instead, the potential spin-off would focus on her early days with MI6. From what we know of her history on the show, that could be incredibly compelling! Presumably such a series would focus on her time on Russia Desk and in Moscow during the waning days of the Cold War, when she recruited a crucial asset. I'm not so interested in this potential series because of its Killing Eve connection (though I do love that show's wit and tone and performances, and it would be nice to see them continue), but because of its setting. We don't see many Cold War era series, and when they do come along, I'll always be watching! It would be particularly cool to see one set in the late 80s with that focus. The Americans of course reveled in its 80s setting, but that was focused on Soviet agents undercover in America. A show about a British agent operating in Moscow at that time would be very different!
Apr 6, 2022
Feb 10, 2022
Mar 29, 2021
Mar 12, 2021
Dec 7, 2020
Deadline reports that Marv Films (Matthew Vaughn's UK-based production company) "is plotting 'something like seven more Kingsman films' as part of the company’s expansion plans." That's... ambitious! But other spy franchises have certainly sustained that many or more. At least one of those seven films is expected to be a spinoff centered on the American spies (including Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges) introduced in the second movie, Statesman. If previous plans mooted by Vaughn are still in effect, another is likely to be a third and supposedly final movie about the characters from the first two films, Eggsy (Taron Edgerton) and Harry Hart (Colin Firth), said to close out that trilogy.
The next Kingsman movie we see will definitely be the WWI-set prequel The King's Man, long in the can and delayed by the global pandemic. That's currently slated for February, but likely to change again. It stars Harris Dickinson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Tom Hollander, and Daniel Brühl. With a cast like that an an exciting new time period less well mined by other spy franchises (and even a more serious tone judging from the trailers), I'm hopeful some more of these upcoming Kingsman films are sequels to The King's Man. Perhaps Dickinson and Fiennes will get as many movies as Edgerton and Firth.
According to Marv Group CEO Zygi Kamasa (per the trade), the company also has a Kingsman TV series in the works.
Sep 3, 2020
Jul 8, 2020
Apr 14, 2020
Apr 6, 2020
Cathy Gale was ultimately overshadowed by Steed's more famous subsequent partner, Emma Peel (played to perfection by another future Bond Girl, Diana Rigg), but Gale's and Blackman's place in television history cannot be overstated. Cathy Gale was television's original badass, leather-clad female spy, paving the way not only for Mrs. Peel, but for Honey West (producer Aaron Spelling was inspired to create the show by Avengers episodes he saw in England, and reportedly first offered the role to Blackman, who turned it down), The Bionic Woman, Alias's Sydney Bristow, and every other leading lady of espionage to throw an attacker over her shoulder, as well as non-spy heroines like Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Quite simply, there had never been an action-oriented female protagonist on television before Honor Blackman's groundbreaking performance. She changed the game. In part, this was due to Blackman inheriting scripts that had been originally written for another male partner for Steed (following his first season foil, Ian Hendry's Dr. David Keel), which were hastily rewritten for her, but kept the character involved in the action in a way women hadn't been previously on TV. But in a larger part, it was due to Blackman's undeniable and very physical presence: she played Cathy as a woman definitely not to be trifled with! And she learned judo for the role, impressively dispatching stuntmen twice her size on a regular basis on episodes that were at the time taped live. Her obvious talent even led to the publication of a book, Honor Blackman's Book of Self-Defense.
Prior to playing Cathy Gale, Blackman was known for glamour more than ass-kicking. But she'd already racked up a pretty impressive roster of spy roles. Foremost among them was a regular role on the 1959-60 ITC wheel show The 4 Just Men (review here), in which she played Nicole, secretary to Paris-based Just Man Tim Collier (Dan Dailey). That was a series very much of its time in all respects, so Nicole was no Cathy Gale, but Blackman nonetheless imbued her with the quick wit and spark that would later define her more famous character alongside her martial arts skills. She also made pre-Avengers appearances on other ITC series like The Saint, Danger Man, and The Invisible Man, as well as U.K. spy and detective series like Top Secret (sadly lost), Ghost Squad, and The Vise, while also turning up in spy movies like Conspirator (with Elizabeth Taylor), Diplomatic Passport, and the original 1953 TV movie version of Little Red Monkey (penned by wartime BSC spy Eric Maschwitz and adapted two years later into a feature film version). Other notable film roles during this period include Jason and the Argonauts (1963), the Eric Ambler-penned Titanic drama A Night to Remember (1958), the Dirk Bogarde suspense drama So Long at the Fair (1950), and the Hammer noir The Glass Tomb (1955). Following the international success of Goldfinger, Blackman surprisingly didn't make many more spy appearances. The notable exceptions were the superior 1968 Goeffrey Jenkins adaptation A Twist of Sand (a movie in dire need of a Blu-ray or at least DVD release!), opposite Deadlier Than the Male's Richard Johnson, and a 1983 TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence mystery The Secret Adversary. In the late Nineties, Mike Meyers dreamed of getting Blackman and Connery to play Austin Powers' parents, but that didn't happen and Michael Caine ended up playing his dad. While not playing spies, though, Blackman continued to have a robust post-Bond career, including a re-teaming with Connery in the 1968 Western Shalako, a pair of 1970s cult horror movies, Fright ('71), and Hammer's final genre flick of that incarnation, To the Devil a Daughter ('76), opposite Christopher Lee, and, more recently, a very memorable comedic turn in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001). She also continued to make her mark in television, too, with recurring or starring roles on Doctor Who, The Upper Hand, and Coronation Street, and guest appearances in Columbo, Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible, Midsomer Murders, and New Tricks.
Her early fame from The Avengers brought her an unlikely career milestone in 1990 when an infectious novelty single she had recorded with Patrick Macnee in the early Sixties, "Kinky Boots," became a dubious Top 10 radio hit at Christmastime. Some have described it as "embarrassing," but as far as I'm concerned both of those stars had enough infectious charisma to pull it off even if they're not really singers! (I'm also partial to the B-side, "Let's Keep It Friendly," about the characters' platonic relationship on the show.)
Blackman has also had a successful theater career, including productions of "The Sound of Music," "My Fair Lady" and "Cabaret," and a couple of touring one-woman shows. It was one of these performances that brought her into my out-of-the-way neck of the woods when I was in high school in the mid-Nineties. I took in the show, which was amazing, and then managed to meet her backstage. Blackman was the first Bond celebrity I'd ever met, and she did not let me down. She seemed genuinely happy to meet with fans, and gladly signed a Goldfinger trading card for this starstruck teen while regaling me with stories from her days on The Avengers. She even weighed in with a decidedly non-PC answer on a debate I'd been having at the time with a friend about whether Bond and Pussy's roll in the hay was truly consensual. "Darling," she told me, eyes sparkling, "it was Sean Connery. Any woman would have wanted it!"
That sparkle remained ever-present as she remained a public figured right up to the end, always reliable for some media appearances whenever a new Bond movie came out. She never turned her back on the franchise, or publicly showed any resentment for the "Bond Girl" label that followed her throughout her career. She also continued to be a cheerleader for The Avengers, despite having left the series just before its transition to film and color... and the American broadcast that cemented its global fame.
In Blackman's final episode of The Avengers (after her Goldfinger casting was already public news), Steed bade farewell to Cathy Gale with a typical request of a favor, beginning, "And as you're going to be out there anyway, pussyfooting along those sun-soaked shores..."
"You thought I might do a little investigating," she finishes, knowing him all too well. She demurs, asserting her well-earned right to a vacation. "You see I'm not going to be pussy-footing along those sun-soaked shores," she corrects her partner, "I'm going to be lying on them." Pussyfooting or lounging, Honor Blackman has certainly earned her trip to those sun-soaked shores. While more terrestrially, the modern spy genre forever owes her an enormous debt. Blackman was a true trailblazer, who transformed the role of women in the spy genre from femme fatales who relied exclusively on their sexuality to equal participants in the action, undaunted by superior force and unmatched in combat skills.
Feb 13, 2020
Wow! We're so close to the release of a new Bond movie now that a new James Bond theme song has been released into the world! Listen for yourself to Billie Eilsish's title track to the twenty-fifth EON 007 movie, No Time to Die. Eilish recently won all the Grammies, pretty much, and performed at the Oscars. It seems pre-ordained that this track will shoot to the top of the charts. Eilish reportedly wrote the song with her brother, Finneas. Hans Zimmer composed the film's score.
Dec 6, 2019
Some Girls Do (1969) stars Richard Johnson (Deadlier Than the Male, Danger Route), Daliah Lavi (Casino Royale, The High Commissioner), Beba Loncar (Fuller Report, Lucky the Inscrutable), James Villiers (For Your Eyes Only, Otley), and the great Robert Morley (Hot Enough For June, Topkapi) in a scene-stealing role as cooking teacher "Miss Mary." Here's Network's description of the movie:
Richard Johnson returns as Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond in this action-packed take on the exploits of H.C. McNeile's famous fictional hero - this time with an added dose of late '60s whimsy when Drummond comes up against a gang of armed, gorgeous fembots! Some Girls Do is presented here as a new High Definition transfer from original film elements in its original aspect ratio.Special features are limited to the theatrical trailer and an "extensive image gallery," but just having this title in its proper aspect ratio is reason enough to buy the disc! And to have that great, great poster art on the cover! (My own Some Girls Do UK quad with that key art hangs in a place of pride in my apartment protected by UV-coated museum glass.)
Drummond is hot on the trail of his nemesis, the devious Carl Petersen, who is hell-bent on sabotaging the new British fighter airplane. Peterson must be stopped - whatever the cost - but this time he's protected by a bodyguard of murderous female androids!
Pre-order the Blu-ray from Network here.
Pre-order the DVD from Network here.
Read my review of Deadlier Than the Male here.
Dec 4, 2019
Dec 3, 2019
Black Widow: The Sting of the Widow presents the character's first appearance (in a silly costume in an issue of Iron Man) and earliest solo adventures from the early Seventies, after she'd gotten an Emma Peel makeover, ending up in the black catsuit with which she's still most closely associated. These early Black Widow comics will surely be of interest to collectors and hardcore fans, but casual fans looking for a great introduction to the character are better off picking up the second volume in the series, Black Widow: Web of Intrigue first.
Black Widow: Web of Intrigue offers an excellent primer on the character containing some of her classic appearances from the early Eighties, including an excellent comic drawn by my second-favorite spy artist (after Steranko), Paul Gulacy. (Look for a cameo appearance by Michael Caine!) Black Widow: Web of Intrigue contains this and several other seminal tales of the red-haired Russian superspy. A third volume, Black Widow: The Itsy Bitsy Spider collects a pair of Marvel Knights stories from the late Nineties (including one by Queen & Country scribe Greg Rucka).
Black Widow: Homecoming and Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her put the focus on espionage above superheroics and are among the very best Marvel spy stories of this century. Other recent Widow stories include Black Widow: Deadly Origin, Black Widow and the Marvel Girls, Black Widow: The Name of the Rose and Black Widow: Kiss or Kill. Most of the character's adventures with Daredevil from the 1970s are included in Essential Daredevil: Volume 3. as well as the color Daredevil Epic Collection: A Woman Called Widow.
Thanks to Jeff for the intel alert!
Dec 1, 2019
Nov 15, 2019
A whole decade after the release of his second OSS 117 spy spoof, Lost in Rio (review here), Jean Dujardin (who picked up an Oscar for Best Actor in the interim) has at long last stepped back into the role that brought him international fame. Cameras began rolling this week on a third OSS 117 comedy, as announced by director Nicolas Bedos via video of a clapperboard on Instagram. OSS 117: Alerte rouge en Afrique noire (literally translated as OSS 117: Red Alert in Black Africa, which very much has the ring of a Jean Bruce novel title, but the ultimate English title is unlikely to be a direct translation of the French one) is scheduled to film in Paris and Kenya, with Bedos (La belle époque) taking the reins from Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), who helmed the first two. Hazanavicius and Bedos both contributed to the controversial 2012 sex comedy portmanteau The Players, which also starred Dujardin. Jean-François Halin, who co-wrote the first two OSS 117 comedies with Hazanavicius and went on to create the very funny, Sixties-set comedic spy series Au service de la France (known as A Very Secret Service in America, where it streams on Netflix) handles solo scripting duties on this one. Pierre Niney (Yves Saint Laurent), Fatou N'Diaye (Spiral), and Wladimir Yordanoff (currently appearing with Dujardin in An Officer and a Spy) are also among the cast.
Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, code name OSS 117, began life long before Dujardin. The redoubtable secret agent was the brainchild of French author Jean Bruce, and starred in a series of 234 novels (of which only a handful have ever been translated into English) beginning in 1949 (and thus predating Ian Fleming's more famous superspy). The books are serious spy stories, and the character was initially treated seriously on screen, too, beginning in the 1950s, but most famously in a series of five exceptional Eurospy movies directed or produced by André Hunebelle (Fantomas) between 1963 and 1968. (Read my review of my favorite, OSS 117: Terror in Tokyo, which presaged many James Bond moments, here.) Once notoriously hard to track down in English-friendly versions, Kino Lorber has now, happily, released a set of those five films on DVD and Blu-ray. For a more in-depth history of the character and links to my reviews of all the films, see my post OSS 117: An Introduction.
In 2006, Michel Hazanavicius revived the character in the hilarious send-up OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (review here). That first spoof was set in the Fifties and brilliantly parodied the early Bond films (with Dujardin partly channeling young Sean Connery) and Alfred Hitchcock movies... along with the prevalent casual racism and sexism of that era. The 2009 sequel was set in the late Sixties, spoofing the Sixties Bond movies and Eurospy movies.
A third film has been mooted ever since, always intended to be set in Africa. At one point it was supposed to be set in the Seventies and parody blaxploitation movies, Jason King, and Jean-Paul Belmondo action flicks, as well as the Roger Moore Bond movies (and fashions) of that period. Now, presumably since so much time has passed, Premiere reports that OSS 117: Alerte roughe en Afrique noire will be set in the 1980s. While I'm sorry we won't see Dujardin sporting Peter Wyngarde-style fashions, the Eighties setting will still provide ample opportunity to spoof the Moore Bond films and Belmondo, whose own African spy epic The Professional was made in 1981.
Thanks to Jack for the red alert on this one!
Oct 14, 2019
Read my review of the novel that started it all, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity, here.
Treadstone premieres on Tuesday, October 15, at 10/9c on USA.
Oct 13, 2019
A new miniseries version of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold was first announced back in 2016 as a follow-up to the hugely successful le Carré miniseries The Night Manager. Le Carré worked with the producers and writer to crack their take on the material, and that work led him to write a whole new sequel to the book, A Legacy of Spies, but did not yield a series. Instead, The Little Drummer Girl (2018) proved to be the next le Carré miniseries, but work continued on The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. Now, apparently, that project has grown in scope and morphed into this one. I've long craved a long-form TV series about le Carré's Circus, devoting a season to each book and dropping in the short stories from The Secret Pilgrim at the appropriate historical moments and, most crucially, finally giving us a television version of the (to date unfilmed) middle book in the Karla trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy. This sounds like it could turn out to be exactly that! (Though hopefully they'll begin at the real beginning with Call For the Dead, and not The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.) It's a most tantalizing prospect!
Read my George Smiley Primer here.
Oct 5, 2019
Oct 4, 2019
Today, several more actors joined the cast, making this Without Remorse more and more of a reality! (Forgive my incredulity. It's just hard to believe this movie is finally happening after literally decades of development!) Deadline reports that Luke Mitchell (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Jacob Scipio (Bad Boys For Life), Cam Gigandet (Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden), Jack Kesy (12 Strong), and Todd Lasance (Spartacus) are all signing on as members of Clark's SEAL team. Nearly all of them have played special forces operators before. Additionally, Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship, The Neon Demon) has been cast as a potential love interest for Jordan.
According to the trade, "Without Remorse is the origin story of John Clark, played by Jordan, a Navy SEAL-turned-CIA ops officer, who seeks revenge after his girlfriend is killed by a Baltimore drug lord." That sounds more or less like the novel, so if this capsule summary comes from the studio (and not just a Deadline writer Wikipedia-ing the book), then perhaps we can expect a fairly faithful adaptation. What I'm guessing we won't get is a period piece. I doubt Clark will serve in Vietnam in this version; I suspect they'll make it contemporary. (This was the plan back when Tom Hardy was supposed to play Clark in a series intended to cross over with Chris Pine's intended Jack Ryan franchise.) Paramount are very eager to launch a new film franchise with this movie, already eyeing Clancy's Rainbow Six as a follow-up. Also unclear is whether there will be any crossover with Amazon's Jack Ryan TV series, which hails from the same producers. The Clark character has been kept out of that series so far because of the percolating film franchise, but that doesn't necessarily preclude a cameo from John Krasinski in Without Remorse....
Without Remorse is slated to open September 18, 2020.
Sep 24, 2019
The books are quite good, and remind me of a female Callan. Like Callan, Stephanie ends up working as an assassin for a particularly unpleasant boss in an ultra-secret branch of British Intelligence. And like Callan, she doesn't do this work by choice. Instead she's forced into it by that unpleasant boss. But she's also got very personal motivations (motivations he ruthlessly manipulates) for her initial mission: an opportunity to get revenge on the terrorists responsible for the death of her parents and siblings. Burnell's book is very dark and very serious, and judging from this trailer the movie will be true to that tone. In fact, the movie (directed by Reed Morano and scripted by Burnell himself) looks quite faithful to the book overall, though it's obvious that the ending has been changed, which was pretty much a given. (The villains' plot in the '99 book had eerie similarities to 9/11, which simply wouldn't play in today's world.) And it looks great!
The first of two major EON spy movies coming out next year, The Rhythm Section opens on January 31, 2020. It stars Blake Lively (The Age of Adaline), Jude Law (Spy), Raza Jaffrey (Spooks/MI-5), and Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther).
Sep 16, 2019
Sep 11, 2019
Strictly limited to 3000 units, La-La Land's Mission: Impossible - Limited Edition soundtrack retails for $29.98. It's available to order now, and starts shipping later this week on September 13.
Here's the full track listing from the La-La Land website:
DISC 1 ORIGINAL POINT MUSIC SCORE ALBUM
1. Sleeping Beauty(†) 2:33
2. Theme From Mission: Impossible(§) 1:07
Composed by Lalo Schifrin, arr. Danny Elfman
3. Red Handed(§) 4:23
4. Big Trouble 5:37
5. Love Theme? 2:24
6. Mole Hunt 3:05
7. The Disc(†) 1:58
8. Max Found 1:05
9. Looking for “Job”(†) 4:40
10. Betrayal 2:59
11. The Heist(†) 5:49
12. Uh-Oh! 1:31
13. Biblical Revelation 1:37
14. Phone Home 2:28
15. Train Time(§)(†) 4:15
16. Ménage à Trois 2:57
17. Zoom A 1:54
18. Zoom B(§) 2:58
TOTAL DISC TIME: 53:20
DISC 2 FILM SCORE
1. Sleeping Beauty**(†) (Film Version) 3:03
2. Theme From Mission: Impossible(§) 1:07
Composed by Lalo Schifrin, arr. Danny Elfman
3. Red Handed** (†/§) (Film Version) 6:21
4. Big Trouble** (Film Version) 7:01
5. Lonely March* 0:54
6. Mole Hunt** (Film Version)/Escape* 3:35
7. Looking For “Job”(†) 4:44
8. Max Returns*/Max At Last* 1:30
9. Max Found 1:05
10. The Disc(†) 1:59
11. Disavowed*/Worse Than You Think** (†) 2:48
12. Langley*(§) 1:01
13. The Heist** (†) (Film Version) 5:05
14. Uh-Oh! 1:31
15. Biblical Revelation 1:36
16. Phone Home 2:28
17. Betrayal** (Film Version) 3:01
18. Love Theme? 2:24
19. Train Time** (Film Version)/Is He?* 5:33
20. Ménage à Trois 2:57
21. Zoom A** (Film Version)/Zoom B**(§) (Film Version) 5:21
22. Red Handed**(†) (Alternate Ending) 1:46
23. Disavowed* (Alternate)/Worse Than You Think*(†) (Alternate) 2:59
24. Zoom A** (Alternate)/Zoom B**(§) (Alternate) 5:19
TOTAL DISC TIME: 75:15
TOTAL ALBUM TIME: 128:35
* previously unreleased
** contains previously unreleased material
§ contains “Theme From Mission: Impossible” by Lalo Schifrin
† contains “The Plot” by Lalo Schifrin
Aug 22, 2019
Aug 20, 2019
Finally, we can stop referring to the fifth Daniel Craig James Bond movie as "Bond 25!" (The moniker lasted far further into production than usual for the 007 films, which have traditionally been known in pre-production as Bond # ever since the producers ran out of Ian Fleming titles.) Now we can start calling the next movie No Time to Die. It has a similar ring to A Reason to Die (the title that was reportedly rejected on the eve of the Bond 25 press conference due to objections from MGM), but more history for the Bond production team.
No Time to Die is a title previously used (in some territories, including the UK) by original series producer Albert R. Broccoli on one of his pre-Harry Saltzman collaborations with producer Irving Allen, the 1958 WWII drama known in the U.S. as Tank Force. That No Time to Die was directed by Terence Young (who would obviously go on to help shape the Bond franchise, directing three of the first four Sean Connery movies), co-written by Richard Maibaum (who would receive writing credits on a dozen 007 titles), shot by Ted Moore (who would shoot many Bond movies, establishing the series' visual style for decades), and co-starred Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball) and future "Goldfinger" lyricist Anthony Newley. Additionally, Syd Cain, who would become a fixture in the 007 art departments, had an assistant art director credit. So the title is rich with EON-adjacent history, in a way similar to GoldenEye's and The World Is Not Enough's close associations with Ian Fleming history.
Unfortunately, those rich associations don't stop the title from sounding just a little average, redolent of Brosnan-era word mash-ups like Die Another Day and Tomorrow Never Dies. Personally, I think I preferred A Reason to Die, but we'll see how No Time to Die fits the story. And, of course, how it fits into the lyrics of a hopefully awesome song, which is the true test of Bond movie titles!
I'm surprised the title treatment didn't line up the O's in "No" and "to" to make a "007" (as seen on the Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale posters), but it does use a font that's been seen over the years (in a few variations) on many spy titles in film and print, including several James Bond editions.
Aug 12, 2019
Treadstone is the long in the works TV series derived from the Matt Damon Bourne films and based on the secret super assassin program originated in Robert Ludlum's novel The Bourne Identity (review here).
The project has been percolating in one form or another ever since 2010, when CSI creator Anthony Zuiker attempted a Treadstone show for CBS. But when Tony Gilroy came aboard to direct the theatrical spinoff The Bourne Legacy, he didn't want a competing version of the mythology on TV, and made it a condition of his directing that the nascent show be killed. The new incarnation comes from Heroes creator Tim Kring, who produces along with Captivate Entertainment's Ben Smith. Smith's fellow Keeper of the Ludlum flame at Captivate, Jeffrey Weiner, executive produces (as he does on the Bourne films) along with Ramin Bahrani, among others. Acclaimed Iranian-American helmer Bahrani directs the pilot. Bahrani has directed such indie features as 99 Homes and Chop Shop, the latter of which late film critic Roger Ebert famously anointed the sixth best film of the 2000s. More recently Bahrani directed HBO's Fahrenheit 451, with Michael B. Jordan and Sophie Boutella.
Seasoned spy veteran Michelle Forbes (Berlin Station, 24) leads the cast in what sounds like a role similar to Joan Allen's in the movies as "Ellen Becker, a savvy CIA veteran trying to balance the demands of work and family while investigating a conspiracy with international implications." Patrick Fugit (First Man), Michael Gaston, (Jack Ryan) Shruti Haasan (a Bollywood star), Brian J. Smith (Sense8), Tess Haubrich (Alien: Covenant), Jeremy Irvine, Omar Metwally, Tracy Ifeachor, Hyo Joo Han, Gabrielle Scharnitzky and Emilia Schüle also star.
It's clear that Kring's Treadstone takes some liberties with the versions previously established in both the books and the films, making all of the programs' assets virtual amnesiacs, in that they have been brainwashed not to realize that they are sleeper agents until the moment they are awakened. While this does somewhat undermine Bourne's own special circumstances, it also feels like a clever way to really cash in on the brand and give audiences an experience similar to what they've seen in the movies.
In Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity (review here), Treadstone 71 was the shadowy intelligence group that David Webb worked for (based out of a New York brownstone), with whom he created and assumed his more famous identity as assassin Jason Bourne. Nebulous and illegal though it may have been, in the book Treadstone's motivations were basically heroic. The Treadstone of the movies, which creates super-assassins through brainwashing and later drugs, is a much more sinister organization. It was also, I believe, officially shut down by Brian Cox's character, Abbott, in The Bourne Supremacy, and then reconstituted as Outcome by Ed Norton's character in The Bourne Legacy (review here). It will be interesting to see if the TV series mentions Outcome at all, and how closely it sticks to the mythology established in the movies.
Treadstone is not only keeping alive on the small screen, but also in print. Earlier this year, the Ludlum estate has commissioned author Joshua Hood to pen the first book in a new Treadstone literary series, The Treadstone Resurrection, which will be in stores this fall—I assume about the same time the show premieres on USA.