How to make ''Bond'' better -- EW offers five ways to improve the 007 spy series

This week, we raise a shaken martini to the James Bond producers for issuing a license to kill to blond and blue-eyed Brit Daniel Craig. With any luck, the actor will infuse the upcoming Casino Royale with the same edgy allure he brought to this year’s indie thriller Layer Cake. But is a new secret agent enough when the whole 007 franchise is showing some tatters in its tux? Here, EW offers five ways to freshen the 43-year-old series before it dies another day.

1 GET REAL While Bond was driving his invisible Aston Martin around an ice chateau, The Bourne Supremacy was winning praise with a tight script based on real-world intrigue, featuring raw hand-to-hand combat and — gasp! — actual relationships in hot locales like India and Russia. There’s hope, though: Royale screenwriter Paul Haggis mastered a similar mix of drama and action in his script for Crash. (Oh, and by the way, the hot casino game now is poker, not baccarat.)

2 GET BADDER Remember the villain from Die Another Day? Neither do we. But the best Bond movies featured a noteworthy bad guy (hello, Goldfinger!). So give 007 a commanding nemesis — not unlike Craig’s own baddie from Road to Perdition, who was boiling over with loathing and vengeance.

3 GET BETTER BUDDIES Audiences loved Halle Berry’s sexy Jinx — and not just because of that mango bikini. Look what Ron and Hermione did for Harry Potter.

4 GO DARKER As cool as his lifestyle is, the character of Bond is anachronistic: That smug Playboy Mansion lothario is so ’70s. These days, heroes need to be fallible and anguished like Peter Parker or, heck, Tony Soprano. Make JB suffer a bit — then turn him loose as a mayhem machine (see: The Matrix‘s Neo).

5 ASSASSINATE PRODUCT PLACEMENT! If only we had a license to kill.