How creator pitched CBS's Intelligence as Six Million Dollar Man for modern era

Contributed by
Jan 6, 2014, 2:53 PM EST

The new CBS spy-fi series Intelligence debuts this week, bringing fan-favorite Lost star Josh Holloway back with it. So, what should we expect?

According to series creator Michael Seitzman, a pretty big blast from the past (with a nice modern twist). In a lengthy chat with IGN, Seitzman explained how they actually developed the series as a spin on the 1970s classic The Six Million Dollar Man.

But, instead of super speed and super strength, Holloway’s operative, Gabriel Vaughn, has a computer chip implanted in his brain that gives him access to a huge network of information. So, super-brain powers instead of super-strength powers. Yeah, it sounds like a more serious take on NBC’s critically beloved Chuck, but we’ll give Seitzman the benefit of the doubt with the Six Million Dollar Man comparisons.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview in which he explains their take on the concept:

"In [Six Million Dollar Man’s] case, it was physical strength, which was something in the '70s that meant something different than it would mean today. In a world where you can press a button and a drone five miles up can kill a man on the ground, does super physical strength matter as much? Probably not... So while we have a very strong, athletic, military, experienced character, the idea of being able to access the same information grid just in a different way than the rest of us do was incredibly compelling…

Probably the biggest thing you're doing with a character that has an ability is defining what he can't do, as opposed to what he can do. You try to approach it from that angle. Storytelling is conflict management. The tension's always going to come from what he can't do, from what other people can't do. You know, you get a certain amount of satisfaction and wish fulfillment from the things that he can do, but a lot of what you're doing is trying to frustrate."

Executive producer Tripp Vinson revealed they actually considered giving Holloway’s character super strength and speed in the early development of the series, but axed that angle once they realized it was veering toward well-trod territory:

“In fact, there was a point in the early stages of development where the writers were considering giving Gabriel physical abilities as well. I think Michael rightly pointed out that that was going to be a very familiar area to go down, especially given the things we see with Marvel and their superhero movies; you see those powers given to heroes all the time, and the great challenge I think was when we started talking about finding something else that would make him special, a different type of power that we hadn't seen before. That's how this all sort of began."

The series debuts Tuesday, Jan. 7, on CBS, so we won’t have to wait too long to see how it turns out. Do you think this series will be worthwhile? Do you plan on tuning in?

(Via IGN)