I'd never actually heard of Breaking In before its miraculous resurrection by Fox, the same network that killed it last spring at the end of a bite-size, seven-episode first season—but apparently, it’s a show about geeks, and as a geek who has a geek-shaped hole in my heart where the recently ended Chuck used to live, I’m in the market for some new TV fanboy awesomeness.
Breaking In may very well be able to fill that hole.
My curiosity about the elusive first season (and elusive it is, unavailable on Hulu and the magical Netflix Instant Stream—way to make it difficult, Fox) was quelled by tonight's Season 2 premiere, which felt very much like a pilot. The addition of Megan Mullally to the principal cast and the removal of Trevor Moore and Michael Rosenbaum, implies a distinct intention to change something about the series... but what? Without even a “Previously on Breaking In” to bring newbies up to speed, I can’t help but wonder if this second season is intended to be a continuation of an already established story, or a second chance to tell an old story with a shiny new cast.
Despite missing out on Season 1, I found it very easy to get comfortable at the whimsical Contra Security offices. Boss-man Oz (Christian Slater) has a Captain Kirk chair, and Slater’s tongue-in-cheek introduction—a gentle dig at the network that previously ditched the show—roped me in. I’m a sucker for flirting with the fourth wall, okay?
When the underlings at Contra Security, a ragtag group of hackers, thieves, and techies, learned that Oz had agreed to sell the company to conglomerate Optimal Consumer Products (OCP), they attempted to save the day by derailing the deal. Unfortunately, Oz had blown most of Contra’s cash, and unless the company was sold, everyone would be facing a pink slip. The gang pulled together to convince Vice President of Acquisitions at OCP, Veronica Mann (Megan Mullally) to reconsider the sale... by utilizing their skills to crash a board meeting at OCP. Miracle of miracles (something this series excels in, as far as I can tell), it worked and everyone was soon back to pranking temps and awkwardly (not) hitting on co-workers.
There is awesome stuff here, definitely, but there is also ample room for more awesome stuff. Office hijinks are cute and all, but they are the cornerstone of every series that takes place in an office ever. Set yourself apart, Breaking In! You have the geekery and the secret-agent-lite aspect at your disposal and quite frankly, the highlight of this reboot-tastic season premiere was the Contra Club’s infiltration of OCP headquarters. It was fun. It was exciting. The fingerprint-snatching goop was cool. I’d rather see the hackers hack and the thieves thieve than watch Creepy Carol’s endlessly awkward attempts at hanging out with the cool kids. If you want to fill the Chuck void, Breaking In (and you probably won’t, but I’ll at least let you try), I need you to give me more than The Office for geeks. I mean, The Office is pretty geeky on its own, wouldn’t you say?
My own minor nitpicks aside, there’s a lot to work with here. I see a future of Oz and Veronica snarking at one another before inevitably entering the reluctantly attracted-to-one-another stage of their delightfully antagonistic relationship. Veronica’s undercover stint as a hapless office temp to study Contra Security from the inside out was funny. Borderline annoying—I was a little bit relieved when she was revealed to be a psychotic executive—but funny. Snort-inducing one-liners were plentiful (“In my defense, I didn’t know you were important”), and there were just enough nods toward geekery to give the Contra Club some street cred without overdoing it.
And please, please don’t overdo it, Breaking In. No one likes the person who tries too hard. Just look at Creepy Carol.
What’s your take on Breaking In’s resurrection? Are we in reboot territory or hitting the well-beaten path?