"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" lands on Prime Video tomorrow — all eight episodes. It's tipped to be one of the best TV shows new on Prime Video this month. Scratch that — it's tipped to be one of the best TV shows this year. We even had it on our list for the most anticipated shows of 2024.
Luckily, the lovely people at Prime Video sent me an advanced copy of the original series starring Donald Glover and Maya Erskine as the titular married spies John and Jane Smith, so I can tell you whether or not you should watch this show before you start binging seven to eight hours of TV. After all, what's worse than sinking time into a show that isn't good?
Well, spoiler alert, this show is good. Really good. Glover and Erskine are perfectly cast — in fact, I'd say that Erskine is ultimately better cast as Jane Smith than the talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was originally attached.
But it's also not necessarily what you'd expect. While elements of a spy thriller are certainly littered throughout the show, including one episode that features an epic 10-minute-long chase through Lake Como, this is first and foremost a workplace dramedy. It's as much "Suits" as it is James Bond.
I'm sure after reading this you're already sold on watching the entire show when it drops tomorrow (Feb. 2). But just in case you're not, here's why I think "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" may be the most enjoyable show of 2024 so far.
Spoiler alert: Spoilers for "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" series ahead
'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' expertly lays the groundwork right away
It's not the only instance of the show laying the groundwork that eventually pays off, but the first episode starts with a job interview that almost feels like filling out a dating profile. Both Glover and Erksine, separately, sit down in front of a computer terminal that asks them a series of questions. Military history, finances, kill count — it all gets covered in this job interview.
This is brilliant for two reasons. First, it covers a lot of exposition right away. We don't need to spend time on John and Jane having conversations that only serve the point of explaining their backgrounds to the audience rather than developing their relationship with each other. It allows the showrunners to keep things hidden from the characters but not the audience.
And that pays off. There are moments throughout the show that call back to what we learned in this job interview. I won't go into too many details so you can spot them for yourself, but what I will say is to pay attention to the interview scene. It is satisfying to see what you learn eventually pay off throughout the eight episodes.
'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' has all the markings of a procedural workplace dramedy
While there's no ignoring the talk of kill counts and the fact that these two people have seemingly ditched their pasts to become the essentially anonymous Mr. and Mrs. Smith, this show is executed like a classic workplace dramedy. Think "Suits" but instead of lawyers, they're spies.
The format of each episode is essentially a "mission of the week," whether it's bugging a phone in the Dolomites, infiltrating an art auction in New York or performing an extraction in Lake Como. The previous week's mission is largely irrelevant, with only developments in the relationship between John and Jane carrying over from episode to episode.
A key example of this is in an episode where John and Jane go to couples therapy. The therapy session brings up things they've discussed about their relationship from a past episode, but they don't dwell on the mission that brought about that development in their relationship.
And that relationship feels like one that would be at home in any show about a workplace romance: the initial awkwardness, the clear chemistry lurking under the surface, the pact to not cross the line between professional and personal that inevitably gets broken. There's even an episode that centers around John and Jane having a double date with another Mr. and Mrs. Smith that they run into out in the field. Yes, there are guns and explosions, but there are also topics covered ranging from casual racism to fashion choices and more.
Don't be mistaken — there's still plenty of action
Okay, so remember how I just spent all that time talking about how this show isn't really a spy thriller? Well, that's true, but it also still very much is a spy thriller and the show doesn't hide from it.
Yes, there's talk about whether or not this fictitious married couple should have kids, but there are also explosions and kidnappings. The episode where they go to couples therapy? It's interspersed with several people being killed at the hands of John and Jane. And John Turturro essentially goes full Bond villain in his guest appearance, one of several tense moments in the show
But the show excels at using the tension and action wisely. It knows exactly when to cut back to the relationship, insert some absurdist or surreal comedy or even when to add a bouncy score to say "Yes there's a chase scene, but you should feel this is an exciting chase scene to watch, not anxiety-inducing."
'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' is a must-watch
It's important to remember that this is first and foremost an adaption of the 2005 film starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. In fact, after watching it you could make the argument that both stories exist in the same universe. So yes, it makes sense that while there's action and fighting, the focus is on the chemistry and relationship between this married couple. This adaptation changes things about the nature of the couple's relationship and their backgrounds but the tone of an action comedy about two spies is still undoubtedly there.
That ultimately, leaves something for everyone to enjoy. Not everyone can relate to a pair of trained killers, but they can relate to work impacting their personal lives or being jealous of their partner talking with the hot neighbor. If you like action, it's there. If you like a spy thriller it's there. Workplace dramedies? Procedurals? Introspective looks at the role of one's gender and race plays in their everyday lives? Check, check, all the checks. It's honestly harder to find no way to connect with this show than it is to find some way to connect with it.
And that's why this show is so enjoyable to watch. It knows what it's doing, it knows how to do it and the execution works on a broad level. I don't know if it's the best show I've watched this year — I think that honor still belongs to "True Detective: Night Country" — but "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" is the most enjoyable show I've watched so far in 2024. Even if I didn't have to binge it for this review, I would have. Once I started it was impossible to stop.
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Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.
Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.