The question, and it’s a fair one, nags at many of this season’s new series: How long can they keep it going? It applies mostly to shows adapted from limited-run overseas hits (Life on Mars, Worst Week, The Ex List, Eleventh Hour, Kath & Kim
), but is especially pertinent to NBC’s nonsensical spy thriller My Own Worst Enemy
Reminiscent at times of “The Bourne Identity” or “Face/Off,” to name a few movie influences it does not improve upon, the beyond-high-concept Enemy asks us to believe Christian Slater as a cold-blooded assassin named Edward who doubles, when a switch in his brain is flipped, as a milquetoast family man named Henry. For the record, he’s more credible as Edward.
But credibility has little to do with Enemy, which calls upon Edward’s boss lady, Alfre Woodard, to spout this exposition: “We manifested a divergent identity, dormant in a sealed-off portion of the medial temporal lobe, creating a split personality.” Whatever.
The fun begins when this human experiment malfunctions and Edward/Henry become aware they’re sharing the same body, and one becomes the other at inopportune times. So Henry nervously pops up during a deadly mission—oops!—and Edward wakes up in Henry’s bed next to Henry’s wife. (Guess who’s the better lover?)
With plot holes you could drive Knight Rider’s KITT through—and I wish someone would—Enemy fails to address the key issue: Why even create this elaborate false identity when it’s such a bother, and when it goes awry, why keep the Henry facade intact? Earlier on Mondays, Chuck plays this sort of thing for laughs, but Enemy is often just as silly, if not more so, because it tries to take itself seriously.
Thankfully, that’s not our problem.
My Own Worst Enemy airs Mondays, 10/9c, NBC
Living Proof: Beyond the Pink Ribbon
Lifetime’s emotionally wrenching medical drama Living Proof redefines the idea of a “Lifetime movie” while expanding the disease-of-the-week formula to confront a disease of an era.
Harry Connick Jr. brings earnest gravity to the role of Dr. Dennis Slamon, who develops the breast-cancer drug Herceptin but chafes and eventually explodes when bureaucratic foot-dragging slows down the pace of trials and his ability to administer the drug.
Vivienne Radkoff’s script humanizes the arduous process by spotlighting test subjects and their families, played by an outstanding supporting cast: Bernadette Peters, Swoosie Kurtz, Jennifer Coolidge (a hoot), Trudie Styler (a heartbreaker) and Tammy Blanchard. Tragedy and triumph coexist in a movie that’s all about not giving up.