Gird your loins, people. ‘Tis almost pilot season! Once again, television networks will run themselves ragged releasing market-tested-to-death procedurals, reboots, remakes and family-friendly clichés, all with the faint hope of not falling even further behind their streaming service brethren.
I can appreciate how hard it is to sum up a new show in only two sentences, especially when there are no stars attached yet. But that doesn’t mean every one of these shows deserves an equal chance. While wading my way through descriptions of the networks’ potential offerings, I landed on one from ABC that sounded so ridiculous I simply couldn’t move on. It’s called Deception and is described thusly:
When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion and influence — the FBI. He’ll become the world’s first consulting illusionist, helping the government solve crimes that defy explanation and trap criminals and spies by using deception.
A failed magician? Working for the FBI? And the main plot of the show isn’t just other agents questioning how the hell he was hired?
Safe to say, I have a few questions for ABC.
1. So, basically, it’s Now You See Me: The Series? Got it.
2. Will this be the kind of ABC producing that brought us Scandal or the kind that cursed us with The Bachelor?
3. You know that if ABC got Shonda Rhimes to write this (which they most definitely did not), I wouldn’t be writing this list, right?
4. What were the rejected careers Cameron Black had before the writers settled on a magician? A postman? A dog walker? An exorcist?
5. What scandal is SO abhorrent that it nixes you from the magic community, but is totally cool with the FBI?
6. Also, the FBI? The FBI?? This guy skipped right over solving crimes for his local police precinct and went straight to the Feds?!?
7. What is their hiring policy? People train and work for years to make it to the FBI, but this guy pulls a few rabbits out of a hat and BOOM — he’s immediately qualified.
8. If Jimmy Smits isn’t cast as a disgruntled, disillusioned FBI agent, is this show even worth the paper the script is printed on?
9. “Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion and influence.” Um, only one place? Did he even attempt to work as entertainment for children’s parties? Corporate events?
10. Is it because of the “scandal”? Parents throwing a birthday party for their 6-year-old have a better vetting system that the FBI?
11. Will the public know that a superstar magician is now working with the FBI? Imagine finding out that Criss Angel was the newest FBI field agent. Solving crimes in either an Ed Hardy tee or a leather vest with no shirt. I honestly don’t know which is worse.
12. Cameron Black is going to be the “world’s first consulting illusionist.” Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? Consulting illusionist? How many illusions are criminals committing that they need an expert consultant on the matter? “Looks like the killer disappeared in a puff of smoke again! Will we ever catch the Smoky Butcher of Milwaukee?”
13. If Black doesn’t utter the phrase, “They’re not tricks, they’re illusions” at least once, what is even the point?
14. He’s going to trap spies by using deception? Don’t spies trade in deception? Aren’t they masters of it? Isn’t deception a spy’s middle goddamn name? Since when is a magician considered even more illusive than a friggin’ spy??
15. And if he’s that good at deception and trickery, why wouldn’t he just become some kind of big game burglar and steal millions of dollars worth of priceless whatevers? The average annual salary of an FBI agent (y’know, the ones who go to school and work their whole life towards it) is $65,000. Why toil away at that job when you can steal the Hope diamond, disappear behind a fake wall and call it a day?
16. Which actor will call his career into question by accepting the role of Cameron Black? Who is in need of a job so badly that this is where they will turn?
17. Do you think the season finale (if it gets one) will be Black turning on the FBI in his ultimate act of deception?? Maybe this whole thing was a ruse to bust a magician brother out of federal prison. Maybe that guy took most of the heat for the aforementioned scandal! Does tunnelling out of prison count as an illusion?
18. One of the show’s consultants is David Kwong who also consulted for Now You See Me, so question #1 has been answered. Not a question, sue me.
19. Is it too late to turn Deception into a reality show where we watch as Kwong applies for a job in the FBI and goes through all the necessary training?
20. Kwong is credited with being a “magician and crossword connoisseur.” Please tell me crossword connoisseur was one of Black’s rejected occupations.