Sleuths and Secret Agents, and Similarities, Oh My!

The spy genre of entertainment has been around for some time now in our Western culture. The interesting thing is, there hasn’t been much variation of the overall theme of these movies and television shows. As of now, there are two main over-arching categories of the industry: witty and comedic spy works, or the serious and devilishly handsome spy works. Of course there is almost always some interplay between the two, but very rarely is there a new type of spy based movie or television series. Why is that the case?

As I continued to look into the Spy theme of our class and watched 39 steps, I see so many glaring similarities between so many productions, or just slight variants. Spy’s are all dangerous and incredibly talented, who either are no-nonsense or all nonsense and still perform life, country, or world savingĀ tasks on the regular. In doing so, they are almost always assisted by a secondary character or group of characters that for some reason have the protagonists best interests in mind at all times and always know exactly what the protagonist needs ahead of time.

For example, in 39 Steps, the protagonist is thrown into the situation but by using wit and charm and cunning, is able to make his way around and eventually complete the mission. But not without the help of many around him, and a wide availability of resources.

Taking all of these into account, the basics for a serious and true-ish to life spy movie require a dashing, suave bad-ass spy that knows how to manipulate people and situations. The spy needs to have a massive availability of gadgets, vehicles, and people willing to help, as well as endless charm and sophisticated humor. If a humorous spy movie is in order, then simply switch the sophisticated wit for dirty humor and it’s basically the same from there on out. Character looks may vary heavily, but overall, those are the basics to any spy movie.

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