'Special Ops: Lioness' star Zoe Saldana takes command.

Taylor Sheridan, the "Yellowstone" writer-producer, has excelled at drawing big performers to television with rather light content, a strategy that feels especially apparent with "Special Ops: Lioness," his latest series for Paramount+. Zoe

Saldana takes the lead in this fact-based drama about female special-ops soldiers, which rushes through the setup by relying on a laundry list of war-story tropes.

Although Saldaa's Joe is in charge - assembling female operatives used to infiltrate terrorist groups by getting close to wives and girlfriends as a means of locating and 

 killing "high-value targets" - the premiere focuses on Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira), who escapes an abusive relationship by conveniently running into a Marine recruitment office.

"You came to the right place," she is assured before completing her training and getting drafted to join Joe's unit.

In terms of bigger names, Nicole Kidman (who, like Saldaa, is an executive producer) plays Joe's employer, and Morgan Freeman is also engaged if unseen in the first hour, which is all that was made accessible in advance.

Despite being buoyed by Saldaa's blockbuster credentials as a marquee value, "Lioness" joins a long list of military-style movies and TV shows built around such squads ("SEAL Team," which migrated to Paramount+ from CBS, comes to mind as a recent example), 

 a genre that possesses clear appeal in knowing who wears the white hats but doesn't feel particularly worthy of a premium-TV label, as constructed here.

Even in the prestige-conscious streaming world, there is a place for what amounts to meat-and-potatoes TV. 

Nonetheless, "Special Ops: Lioness" feels about as basic as it gets when it comes to educating an audience to return week after week.


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