Mr & Mrs Smith Prime Video asset showing a Black man and Asian woman running, with lettering that reads Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Prime Video February 2
Photo: Prime Video

It might be helpful to think of the new Mr. & Mrs. Smith series as more of a “refraction” than a “reboot.” Yes, the new Prime Video series from Francesca Sloane (Fargo) and Donald Glover (Atlanta) takes its inspiration from the 2005 movie of the same name, but it redirects its aspirations, transforming the series into a fresh viewing experience.

That film from almost a decade ago starred two beautiful cinematic performers, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and let their charisma burn through each frame they were on screen. In that story, two assassins, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, unknowingly worked for rival organizations while working through a marital rut in their civilian life. There, the marriage trappings were ultimately fuel to power the explosive set pieces — shoot-outs, car chases, and daring espionage action with its leads’ sexy chemistry and star wattage cranked to eleven.

This series from Sloane and Glover takes the premise in a different direction, with two strangers paired together as John Smith (Glover) and Jane Smith (Maya Erskine), spies posing as a married couple who live in Manhattan. Here, Glover and Erskine get to be beautiful in dapper clothing and partake in intense firefights and down-to-the-wire spycrafts. The missions they partake in each episode highlight the pair’s development as they go from being in a fake relationship to a real one.

Donald Glover and Maya Erskine look dapper in Mr and Mrs Smith
Photo: David Lee/Prime Video

The most effective TV genre shows have taken a particular genre—from vampires to mobsters—and used it as a springboard to magnify universal human experiences. With Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sloane and Glover show an understanding of the need to do this throughout the series. It is fun to see the plot intertwine and map common marriage and relationship situations as John and Jane go on their spy missions.

In one episode, the Smiths go to a beautiful assignment in the Italian Dolomites. During a funny scene, Jane lies in bed asleep with John and quickly wakes up when she realizes she farts for the first time around him. Embarrassed, she tells John she heard a noise and grabs her gun, prompting him to grab his own and leave the room to clear the area. This gives her enough time to open a window and quickly air the room.

Moments like these make Jane and John feel more like real people and less like the always-on-point Mr. and Mrs. Smith from the movie, which worked for that rendition. The series focuses a lot on the trajectory of the relationship between Jane and John throughout the episodes, and thanks to its writing and two lead performers, you enjoy spending time with them as a viewer. Jane has a very direct and straight-to-the-point way of dealing with missions, which differentiates from John’s more sociable and free-flowing approach. This gives the pair a fun dynamic and natural conflict in both their spy and personal lives.

These moments of interpersonal tension feel authentic and work in conjunction with the relationship-leaning focus of the series. 

Maya Erskine and Donald Glover in Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Photo: David Lee/Prime Video

However, admittedly, sometimes I wanted Jane and John to make nice faster, especially when Erskine and Glover have such an infectious chemistry when their characters are in sync or bonding. It’s truly a joy to see these characters bond over time, and the episodes make lots of space to show off their dynamic. Indeed, it felt like watching a rom-com interspersed with exciting spy beats at some points—in a good way.

Even with a dramatic core, Mr. & Mrs. Smith still has the creative elements one would expect from a spy series. It has fun action, lavish international locations, beautiful costuming by Madeline Weeks, and a fantastic, pulsing score by David Fleming (The Last of Us), which also brings additional weight and flair to the missions of John and Jane.

For the initial season of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sloane and Glover have made something inspired by the 2005 movie that feels different yet satisfying. Combining the elements of a relationship drama with an episodic spy series, the show hits its target, especially with the natural chemistry between its two leads. When the last episode hits, you’re left hoping that John and Jane have more action-packed missions ahead, and more importantly, you’re left wanting to see how their relationship develops in the future.

All eight Mr. & Mrs. Smith episodes are now available on Prime Video.