It’s hard to forget the 2005 movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which starred Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as a married pair of assassins who work for competing agencies. Besides being a great film, with as much humor and charm as action, the film was notable for sparking the real-life romance between Jolie and Pitt, which would turn into a courtship and marriage that would captivate the tabloids for years to come.

Considering the indelible imprint on popular culture that film left, anyone who tries to remake it has a mountain to climb to match the original’s allure and entertainment value, not to mention the chemistry of its two stars. Well, that didn’t stop actor/producer/writer Donald Glover (Atlanta), who, along with Francesca Sloane, created Mr. & Mrs. Smith the television series, which premiered on February 2 on Prime. So, obviously, the big question is: can the series live up to the film?

What’s so great about Mr. & Mrs. Smith the series is that, even though you clearly know going in that it’s an homage to the film, most comparisons are set aside pretty quickly, as the series charts its own path and forges its own identity early on, so the question isn’t as much can it live up to the film, but how good is it when separated from all comparisons to the film. Can Mr. & Mrs. Smith the television series stand on its own?


The benefit of eight one-hour episodes versus a two-hour film is you have the ability in a series to delve deeper and spend more time on character and relationship-building, and Glover and Sloane’s series does just that, introducing us to John and Jane Smith, played by Glover and Maya Erskine (PEN15), two strangers put together by a spy agency to carry out missions as a married couple. While there is certainly a lot of action, as their missions vary from simple package deliveries to hits, the series offers more of a focus on the relationship between John and Jane, and the series becomes more of an examination of marriage than it does the life of professional spies.

But what’s so fun about the series is the perfect blending of action scenes with non-action scenes. John and Jane are professional spies, which is a 24/7 job, and work intrudes into every aspect of their lives, even if they happen to be in the middle of a fight. Just as in the film, mundane everyday aspects of marriage are heightened by both John and Jane’s unfamiliarity with each other and their mutual professional obligations, which lead to some charming and thoroughly entertaining juxtapositions.

Even the titles of the eight episodes in the first season reflect the journey of a marriage, from “First Date” to “Do You Want Kids?” to “Couples Therapy” and, finally, “A Breakup.” The progression of their relationship runs parallel to their growing competency as spies, but just as their professional responsibilities become more complicated and tangled, so too does their relationship. Unfortunately, unlike any ordinary couple who has issues to work through, Jane and John can’t just take a time out. Instead, they may just have to take out each other.

The writing on the series is stellar, but it is the performances that keep you coming back for more. Glover and Erskine (who was a last-minute replacement for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who left the series due to creative differences) are dynamite together, Glover playing the sensitive, needy type and Erskine the more aloof and controlling partner. While they don’t have quite the chemistry that Pitt and Jolie had, it’s not missed as their dynamism together comes from their verbal sparring, which is sublime and layered. Glover is especially appealing, utterly watchable in every scene.

Another great feature of the series is the slew of guest stars that make appearances. Much like Peacock’s great series Poker Face, each episode of Mr. & Mrs. Smith features a famous guest star, as the season is packed with great cameos and supporting turns, from John Turturro to Sarah Paulson to Parker Posey to Paul Dano to Alexander Skarsgård.

The action sequences are great, the production values are top-notch, the acting is excellent, and the characters are textured and compelling. There’s so much in the series Mr. & Mrs. Smith to recommend it, whether you’ve seen the movie or not. It is so much more than a copy of another idea, instead, it takes an idea, runs with it, expands it and makes it a whole new living, breathing and fantastic thing all of its own. If you’re looking for some bold entertainment that’s filled with charm, action, humor, and heart, put Mr. & Mrs. Smith at the top of your list.