There’s a Kiefer Sutherland-like quality to British actor Sean Bean – he’s a rough-and-tumble, gruff-voiced performer and at times in the pilot for TNT’s “Legends” (9 p.m. Wednesday), you can almost smell a mix of cigarettes and alcohol wafting through the TV screen, lack of smell-o-vision be damned.
He’s absolutely believable as deep-cover FBI agent Martin Odum, who takes on a new character – or “legend” – for each assignment.
The show itself is action-packed but less legendary, feeling more like a series audiences have seen plenty of times before.
Mr. Bean’s Odum has a lived-in quality but those around him – nagging colleague Crystal (Ali Larter, “Heroes”), punky computer genius Maggie (Tina Majorino, “Big Love”) and boss man Nelson (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) – play more to TV types.
“Legends” does offer some unexpected plot twists, killing off characters who seem like series regulars in early episodes, and a serialized story thread about whether Odum has a true personality of his own or if “Martin Odum” is himself a legend.
In the series premiere, Odum goes undercover with a homegrown terrorist group for six months to try to prevent a new terrorist attack. In episode two, he’s up against Russian baddies and the episode ends with the promise of Odum resurrecting an old legend from his past.
Darker and less escapist than TNT’s other new summer entry, “The Last Ship,” “Legends” offers a down-and-dirty hero with rough edges but surrounds him with a cadre of cleaner, less sullied colleagues, making for somewhat of a tonal mish-mash.
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.