USA’s Newest Character Is Underfunded!

Underfunded - Daryl Freehorn [Mather Zockel]Daryl Freehorn is the best that the Canadian Secret Service [yes, they have one, too!] has to offer. Pity his agency is a shoestring operation. Underfunded [USA, Wed, 10/9 Central] introduces the resourceful Freehorn as he attempts to save the world – by preventing World War III!

Underfunded opens with what could be the conclusion of a cliffhanger – Canadian Secret Service Agent, Daryl Freehorn [Mather Zickel] saving the day [and a pulchritudinous young thing from certain death] and escaping with help from a U.S. helicopter. We know Freehorn is no James Bond, though – when he comes on to the young thing and she's not only married, but faithful to her husband.

Freehorn returns to base – hidden behind a dry cleaners, he reports to an office that would fit in the closet at U.N.C.L.E., OR Bond's MI-5. There we meet Naomi Lutz [Joanna Canton, who will remind of the younger Nicole de Boer], the boss' secretary [who has an overwhelming ambition to become a field agent. Owen Barnaby [Brian Howe] is the boss – a "hale, well met" kinda guy until the matter of money comes up.

When Freehorn's next assignment finds him, once again, trying to save the world – while CIA Agent Matt Sykes [Ryan McPartlin] takes the credit – Barnaby calls him in the middle of an urgent meeting to rake him over the calls for a difference of a few cents on his expense account! The assignment – find out who's behind a series of assassinations – would be a by-the-book espionage tale if it weren't for the wry humor that's built on the penny-pinching of the CSS.

Underfunded - Naomi Lutz [Joanna Canton]

We begin with an assassination that gets our hero involved; move to the beautiful woman [Monica Schnarre – a supermodel turned actress, who will never be as good as Tricia Helfer] whose husband is an influential senator; the agency mole who turns out to be fairly easy for Freehorn to spot; dance various shootings, explosions and chases, and, finally, come to the twist ending.

Zickel is suave enough to pull off the frustrated Freehorn – who has one other major problem: his father was the legendary CIA Agent, Jake Freehorn, who saved the world [single-handed] many, many, many times. So, not only does he operate on a shoestring, but Freehorn also has an inferiority complex. No wonder he's always on the verge of quitting!

Fortunately, he also has Naomi. In her zeal to become a field agent, she has mastered a number of disciplines, including: tracking, planning and tai kwon do. Unfortunately, the combination of ambition and a blind devotion to [and major league crush on] Freehorn frequently get in her way.

Underfunded is entertaining enough, but I have to say that I enjoyed it more when it was an eighties syndicated Canadian series called Adderly. From the penny-pinching boss, to the field-agent-wannabe secretary, to rarely getting credit for his achievements, Freehorn could be Adderly – only not quite as good looking [Matthew Zickel is no Winston Rekert]. If you're not into serialized programming, or game shows, it's still a more than adequate ninety-minutes of sly fun.

Grade: C+


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