Recommending Counterpart (2018)

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I am huge fan of spy thrillers, videogames, movies, novels, doesn’t matter, if it falls under that genre, I am more than down to give it a try.  Which is why when Counterpart was announced by Starz, it had already piqued my interest.  A show tinkering with an alternate universe that features an aging protagonist who in one universe is an analyst and the other a clandestine operative?  Money.  Throw in the fact J.K. Simmons is the lead and you have the potential for a critical acclaimed show.  The only unfortunate part is that it’s on Starz and premium TV outside of Game of Thrones doesn’t really capture a large market.  But here are a two big reasons why you should give Counterpart a chance.

J.K. Simmons is Awesome

A criminally underrated actor for years before he won his Academy Award for Whiplash.  J.K Simmons is the heart and soul of Counterpart.  He portrays both versions of Howard Silk, who in one universe acts a low-level analyst (Alpha) and in the other is a high level clandestine agent (Prime).  Watching Simmons switch personalities is fun as he will often go from a character lacking any confidence to one who operates with surgical precision.  Their interactions with one another are incredibly entertaining as each try to unearth what led them to their current status.  It’s fascinating to see how envious they are of one another and even though they contrast heavily in personalities, they do share similar interests, even if Howard Prime balks at the fact the Howard Alpha never had the ambition required to be successful.  I would be shocked if J.K. Simmons doesn’t take home any awards for his excellent portrayals.

Compelling and Cohesive Narrative      

Normally, when any show deals with different timelines or alternate dimensions, the narrative can become cluttered as a result.  Thankfully, this is not the case in Counterpart.  A rogue agent from the Prime dimension has begun targeting agents in the Alpha.  Howard Prime is sent to retrieve the agent and wants to use his counterpart Howard Alpha as bait.  What follows is a complex narrative that uncovers the origin of the dual universe’s as well as the hatred and fear that exists between the two.  The Office of Interface (OI) is supposed to act a pillar that prevents people from crossing over.. But not everything is as it seems, every character within Counterpart seems to have their own agenda and none for the betterment of either universe.  It really is fascinating watching all of this unfold and it is unfortunate that it’s almost the end of the first season.

 

Counterpart is great spy fiction.  It features double crosses, shady alliances, assassinations, and tense action all while featuring a cohesive narrative that will keep the viewer hooked.  Production values are high and its direction is excellent.  The absence of music brilliantly elevates the tension and makes every confrontation memorable.  Its action, while brutal, serves as a reminder of the seriousness of Counterpart’s setting.  With an excellent lead and an exciting story, I highly recommend giving Counterpart a look.

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