For those of you cut off from the outside world, Spooks Code 9 is the brainchild of BBC 3 Controller, Julian Bellamy, a so called spin-off series of the BBC 1’s BAFTA award-winning series Spooks. Set in the quasi-post-apocalyptic future in which London and the South East have been destroyed by an unsubstantiated terorrist group (presumably al-Quaida) during the 2012 Olympics, MI5 is forced to hire the most incapable, dim witted and immature spooks since Austin Powers. This is justified as the disaffiliation to the ‘private sector’ of the vast majority of 5’s former employees has left the service bereft of capable individuals. What’s not adequately justified is why they were incapable of hiring anyone with any relevant experience.
I’m not saying that recent graduates shouldn’t be spies, but that the production lacks any sense of realism, which was one of the crucial factors in the early series of the original series. Furthermore it is Code 9’s (I refuse to denigrate Spooks’ reputation by associated their names), flaccid attempt at mimicry that is it’s greatest downfall, right down to the early execution of an officer. Unfortunately for Code 9, Spooks really set the bar high, what with boiling an officer’s entire head in hot chip pan oil, possibly one of the grizzliest scenes the BBC has ever conceived, and an execution carried out by a 15 year old sniper simply doesn’t hack it these days.
The BBC also seem to believe that decent spy drama necessitates the use of deadly force by intelligence officers, from torture through to carrying guns in the street. They are supposed to be spies, under the radar, blending in. Leave the gun wielding to the police or any other organisation whose officers are publicly known, and if you must, please find a more creative way to torture people.
My advice to the production crew is to abandon any links with Spooks, build up your own identity, rather than living in the shadow of your much better cousin, and you might have a chance at succeeding. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and I mean real risks, not the use of a racist slur.
Finally get your digital act figured out. I have no interest in viewing extended background information on the web, in some sort of 21st century copy of the gamebooks of my childhood, nor in taking part in some sick prediction of the outcome of nuclear holocaust Real interactivity is needed to keep modern day audiences interested. Simply showing me different videos based on a few link choices no longer makes the grade. I want real responses, I want to interact with real people, I want to feel like I’m part of the show, and not merely and observer.