Throughout the years, the spy genre has produced many memorable films and TV shows, from the James Bond franchise, to shows like ALIAS, NIKITA, and CHUCK, among others. Yet, the new web series ASSET, set to debut with 15 episodes in late Fall, written and co-created by the show’s star, Matthew Carvery, and producer Charles Branagan, is a new kind of spy thriller. The protagonist, Eric Blair, is literally a spy with no training, no experience, and no high-tech gadgets to aid him in his fight with a Russian arms dealer, who married the girl Blair let get away.
The show also stars Victoria Sullivan as CIA analyst Julia Carlysle, Jeff Sinasac (CLUTCH) as her boss, and Eric’s handler, Fredrick Coleson, plus Steve Kasan (OUT OF TIME) as an arms client, Tonya Dodds as the dealer’s spy hunter, and two other recognizable actors also set to appear, though yet to be announced (their contracts are still being negotiated, Carvery says).
Carvery and Branagan developed the concept for ASSET before seeing the latest James Bond film, SKYFALL, although, says Carvery, the real inspiration for the show came from another popular spy series. “I liked Chuck, I thought it was a fun show, but I always thought it’d be interesting to do something like that but more serious in tone and without the main character having superpowers. Charlie agreed, and we both wished someone would make that show. Then we looked at each other and said “Wait a minute…we write shows, why don’t WE make that show?” I went home after the movie and wrote the pilot episode that night.”
ASSET also was inspired by Carvery’s real life experiences, which were the basis for his character. “I actually did date a Russian exchange student in high school (Hi Olga!) so it was pretty easy to play the ‘what if?’ game using that part of my life.”While other shows would normally play the aspect of an untrained, error-prone spy for laughs, ASSET takes a much different approach. “I think what sets us apart is that we’ve got a guy, untrained, trying to get by as a spy, and we aren’t playing it for slapstick. He’s going to screw up, but those screw ups aren’t going to magically end up working in his favor. He’s got to learn from them and clean up the messes he makes or get himself killed,” Carvery says. The show is also seeking funding from Canada’s Independent Production Fund (IPF), which is now funding web series. However, it’s been a battle that has recently proven to be more difficult, because the show’s funding application has since been lost in the vast atmosphere of the Internet, and even though ASSET is still hoping to qualify for the IPF funding, Carvery has launched a new campaign to secure funding for the show, one powered not by money, but by word of mouth – check out the new trailer for the show on Youtube embedded below.
Carvery, who cites TV writers Jane Espenson (BUFFY, GILMORE GIRLS, and the Streamy Award-winning series HUSBANDS, among others) and BUFFY creator Joss Whedon as his writing influences, has many hopes for ASSET, from providing steady work for his talented cast and crew, to putting a new spin on the spy genre, by telling a unique story about a character we can all identify with: “If we do our jobs, it’ll be an action packed thriller full of tense situations, gritty fight scenes and occasionally a little steamy romance and some dark humor thrown in for good measure. Ultimately though, it’s a story about a man who’s in over his head, and how he either rises to the occasion or falls short.”