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The B-Team: Secret Agencies That Deserve Their Own Films

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Aug 30, 2011 | 5:30am EDT

When you watch spy movies, it’s all CIA and MI6, with the occasional taste of Mossad or KGB thrown in for the measure (i.e. this week's The Debt). But what about the other, underrepresented intelligence agencies? Including the ones that aren’t especially intelligent. We’ve assembled a list of government agencies that deserve their own movies. Because if we're living in a world with TWO Johnny English films, there must be available space in spy film market.

hp aurorsThe Aurors

Who They Are: The Harry Potter books introduced the Aurors as the magical equivalent of the police—wizards and witches who work for the Ministry of Magic and ensure that magical crimes don’t go unpunished. Their illustrious ranks include James Potter, Nymphadora Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody, and eventually even Harry and Ron, after the end of the series. The Aurors are the Wizarding World’s first line of defense against big baddies like Voldemort and everyday scumbags like Mundungus Fletcher. At least, when they aren’t being used for evil, like in book seven.

Why They Deserve A Film: Okay, hear me out. Now that the Harry Potter books and movies are officially over, it’s only a matter of time until WB tries to do something new with the franchise. And rather than rehash Hogwarts or follow the trio’s kids, why not head in a different direction? An Auror film could either be a prequel, tracking the rise of the Death Eaters and the Ministry’s attempts to stop them, or be set after the events of the series as they face off against organized wizard crime. Can you imagine goblin crime lords? Werewolf drug-dealers? Veela prostitution rings? Well, maybe not that last one, if they want to keep it in the PG-13 zone. And there’s no reason to keep it in England, why not embrace spy-film aesthetics and show us a glimpse of the wider wizarding world? The possibilities are endless (and someone's already dabbled with the possibility, in the April Fool's TV Show "The Aurors")

sphinxS.P.H.I.N.X.

Who They Are: In the world of The Venture Bros, where super-villainy lurks around every corner, there’s got to be someone mildly competent around to protect against the forces of evil. That’s where S.P.H.I.N.X (!) comes in. While The Venture Bros is crowded with superheroes and secret organizations including the O.S.I. (Office of Secret Intelligence) and The Guild Of Calamitous Intent, S.P.H.I.N.X (!) stands out for having the best talent,  best uniforms and best giant talking security Sphinx. Plus, they happen to be pretty good at their jobs, which is especially noteworthy for the Venture Bros universe.

Why They Deserve A Film: Think of it as Team America: World Police for a new generation. Venture Bros as a whole is an excellent series that really deserves a film, but the complicated universe may not translate well to the big screen for beginners. So a familiar starting point—a G.I Joe parody—might make it more accessible. Plus, there’s never been a character as ready for the big-screen as mulleted murder machine Brock Sampson. The Venture Bros delights in skewering and repurposing film tropes, so a transition to the big screen could be as natural as Hunter Gather’s transition to woman and back. (What, we didn’t say that it was a normal spy parody cartoon.) And would be good encouragement for Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick to hire some additional voice actors.

torchwoodTorchwood

Who They Are: Founded by Queen Victoria, Torchwood has served as Britain’s first line of defense against hostile alien activity. At least, when the Doctor’s busy. Run by immortal Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood has dealt with dangers large and small, and with a good sense of humor. It’s like Men In Black, but with way more sex. Way, way more sex.

Why They Deserve A Film: Children of Earth proved that Torchwood could be genuinely great. A miniseries that felt more like an intense Hollywood thriller than many intense Hollywood thrillers, Children of Earth proved that Torchwood could get beyond its sex-and-melodrama roots and produce something painfully suspenseful and gripping. The current series, Miracle Day, isn’t quite as good, it’s still a fun show to watch and proves that Russell T. Davies isn’t tapped out yet. Plus, John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness is basically the lovechild of Indiana Jones and James Bond, so it only makes sense that he would to the big screen of his ancestry. Torchwood’s unique blend of spy-thriller and science fiction roots means that the entire universe is at its disposal, for a film.

aliasSD-6

Who They Are: Before he crashed an airplane on an island or became the next Spielberg, J.J. Abrams made his first foray into nonsensical conspiracies with spy show Alias. Agent Sydney Bristow serves as a double agent in SD-6, an organization that claims to be part of the CIA, but is actually part of a very convoluted ancient society known as the Alliance Of Twelve. SD-6 is a classic evil organization, profiting off of chaos and destruction while striving towards world domination.

Why They Deserve A Film: Before the whole Rambaldi plot collapsed under its own weight, Alias was a pretty great show. And now that J.J. Abrams has a lot more experience with TV and film, this could be a great chance to reboot the franchise from a new perspective. The original Sydney Bristow, Jennifer Garner, is getting a bit old to return to the part, but there’s a new crop of young actresses growing out there who would kill for a role as a well-developed, smart, and kick-ass character in a J.J. Abrams project. My vote? Natalie Morales, who already followed in Bristow’s footsteps in ABC series The Middleman. While we’re not usually big fans of reboots, Alias had so much potential that we’d like to see Abrams get another shot.

archerISIS

Who They Are: After the Austin Powers films, you’d think that the James Bond parody would be tapped out. So it’s a good thing that Archer is so surreal, bizarre, and hilarious that calling it a “parody” barely scratches the surface. The FX series follows the exploits of ISIS, a CIA stand-in so terrible at their jobs that it explains how the Cold War is still going on well into the twenty-first century.

Why They Deserve A Film: After two glorious seasons, Archer is quickly becoming the funniest show on TV. But just because something’s funny for 22 minutes doesn’t mean that it’ll still be funny for two hours. Fortunately, Archer’s humor seems like the type that could translate to the big screen—witty, dialogue-heavy action films, like Lethal Weapon or Iron Man have had success before. And with a full two hours, there would be time for each cast member of Archer’s sprawling ensemble to shine. It’s not often that we see the ISIS crew try to tackle a large-scale mission, but I think they’re up to the challenge. If only because it open up a whole new world of ways for them to screw up.

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