Tag Archives: Person of Interest

Person of Interest: “Pilot”

My expectations for this series were – and still are – pretty high. I can’t say that I loved the pilot, but I’m not sure if that’s because there was actually anything wrong with it or if my disappointment is just a reflection of overblown expectations not being met. Or maybe a strange combination of both. (This dilemma, along with the similar difficulty I’m having pinning down my thoughts on Prime Suspect, is actually fairly amusing given the article I wrote for Personal Arrogants yesterday.)

If I’m totally honest, I think 90% of the problem is that I saw the “big plot twist” coming from five minutes into the episode. When I watch an at least half-decent detective show (let’s use Castle and NCIS as examples), I almost never know who the killer is before it is revealed in the script. I would make a pretty terrible detective. So I worry when I can do some quick math (quote from Finch “She might be the victim, she could be the perpetrator” + Natalie Zea is credited high up on the guest star pecking order + we stop focusing on her for most of the episode + red herring of the jailed guy’s little brother = OMG IT’S HER) and figure out what is supposed to be the epic turning point of the episode. Especially when I can do it before the second commercial break. On the other hand, maybe knowing what was coming helped me see more clearly the crafty writing/plotting used to set it as a surprise – which was pretty crafty – , and I should actually appreciate it more as the result of a set-up than be disappointed with it as a successful shock-me moment? (I think I may have just accidentally converted myself to agreeing with the conclusion of this UC San Diego study re: the benefit of spoilers, at least in letter. In spirit, I maintain my belief that stories are more enjoyable when you don’t know what’s coming.) I think I’m going to have to wait to pass judgment on the script/story quality of this series until after a few more episodes pass. The episode that blows my mind is coming – I’m still holding out.

As far as the broader storyline of the series goes, I was actually pretty impressed. Not so straightforward Minority Report style afterall. And not even straightforward ex-government-agent-seeks-redemption either. It’s been revealed explicitly that Reese (Jim Caviezel) is presumed dead, on the run, and seeking newer better purpose after his disenchantment with his work for the government. Here’s what we don’t know: who he was, what he did, who, specifically, he worked for. Yes, I know they said “Agency,” presumably with a capital “A”, presumably as in “CI-A”, but you never know. Given that he apparently has warrants out for him on US soil and given the ties being drawn to 9/11, I’m almost thinking DEA or NSA might be more likely. I suppose we’ll find out eventually. In the meantime, I am looking forward to the development of this story line. Also oddly intriguing is the girlfriend storyline…which is weird, because I never care about the dead-significant-other story, even (or maybe especially) when it’s the point of the whole thing. Gotta give props to Jonathan Nolan for this bit of writing. I think the main reason I’m so curious in spite of myself is that practically nothing was revealed about it.

Final note on story: I really want the investigation of Reese by Carter (Taraji P. Henson) to be an on-going thing. I mean, I’d probably have to shoot myself if I heard “Just one guy. In a suit.” as many times in every episode as I did in this one, but the fact that she can find anything is a) unusual, b) fascinating, and c) possible fodder for long-term plot development wherein the NYC investigation crosses paths with people looking for Reese everywhere from D.C. to Americanaville, USA. And (just had this full revelation thanks to a seed of thought planted in my brain last night by an excellent TVer friend), the whole investigation-of-a-vigilante-bad-guy-fighter gives a great Batman vibe to the whole show. (Yes, I’m mentioning Batman. Sorry Jonathan Nolan. I really didn’t mean for that to happen. But seriously: think about it.) Gotta love the Batman vibe.

One place where this show definitely meets-and-exceeds expectations is sheer badassery. And by “this show” I do mean Reese. The one-guy-taking-down-a-whole-room isn’t what I’m talking about. I mean, sure, it’s a passable cheap thrill. But it isn’t new or exciting anymore, and it’s actually rather unimpressive when the room is a handful of the douchiest white kid punkfaces ever. I’m gonna give props for pointing out exactly How Stupid the whole holding-a-gun-sideways-“it’ll-eject-a-shell-casing-in-your-face” thing is – I didn’t know it until that happened, but I’ve been waiting for someone to point this out for years. I don’t know about the necessity of Reese carrying The Largest Gun Ever at all times either, but I’m willing to overlook it. The moment that validated Reese/Jim Caviezel as a bona fide bad ass in my mind was the grenade in the car…the car that he was riding. The framing of that detective was also pretty good, but I’d say the grenade and the point-blank shooting that followed were the key moments. The only moment that might have been better: “You need to know what it’s like to listen to someone be murdered and not be able to do anything about it.” We didn’t get a lot of Finch in the pilot, but that moment/the following scene count for an awful lot.

There are some things that I did really, truly enjoy about this pilot. The visual style is excellent – a nifty mix of security-cam-type footage, pseudo-voyeuristic camera shots, and wacky (but not too annoyingly wacky) diagonals to make the two-people-talking scenes just a tad more interesting. I’m also impressed by the level of taste – reducing the final result of the final showdown to exterior shots of two gun blasts might have been intended as a time-saver, but it is also a relief from what might have been a totally gratuitous display of violence. And of course there are a couple things that I found highly disappointing – prime example: the recording-switch in the courtroom. Yes, it is always a little satisfying, but. Old. Tired. Cliche. Try Harder Next Time.

I guess the final conclusion is, I need to see more. I definitely need to see more Michael Emerson than we got in this episode. And I could also do with just little a bit more influence from J.J. Abrams – the most obvious thing I could pick out was that the sound editing and soundtrack seemed to share a lot of features (major instrumental bursts before commercial breaks, for example) with Abrams/Michael Giacchino series…and then it turned out that no-one in the music department has worked on previous Abrams series and I was just wrong anyway. Person of Interest could benefit from a little of the hit-maker magic, although giving it some of the Cloverfield/Super 8 Abrams flavor could be more interesting. What I want to see most is staying power, because I have every confidence this show will improve with time – it just needs the chance.

FALL IS FUN: New Series for 2011/2012 – CBS

LAST ONE!!! I’m doing this in a bit of a rush, so please forgive any insane errors or typos or whatever. Thankfully for my time crunch, there are only three new CBS shows I care about. (For other Fall Fun, see my posts on the new series from ABC, NBC, FOX, and miscellaneous networks.)

UNFORGETTABLE
Premieres Tuesday September 20 at 10pm

Here is a series that definitely falls under that potentially leaky umbrella of “quirky and improbable procedural.” The main character remembers everything. Like, crazy photographic memory everything. And she’s a cop, so she uses that delightful superpower to solve crimes. I’m actually really excited about this show. For one thing, the insane memory thing is a source of endless fascination for me (part of the reason I love Suits so much, truth be told). And for another, This Is The Type Of Show I Hate Prime Suspect For Not Being (see: my rant in the Fall is Fun NBC post). Finally, a procedural about a main character with wacky amazing awesomeness…who just happens to be a woman. As in, where the fact that she is a woman isn’t the point. This series has the potential to be a pretty sweet cop show, and I am definitely looking forward to it.

PERSON OF INTEREST
Premieres Thursday September 22 at 9pm

Michael Emerson. Jim Caviezel. Fighting crime, Minority Report style. Emerson’s character built an email-reading-phone-call-listening supercomputer after 9/11, and the entire purpose of his mission is to stop crime before it happens. To do this, he’s privately recruited ex-CIA agent Caviezel’s character to do the dirty work. I’d be lying if I said I was crazy fascinated by this premise. Because, again, Minority Report. Been there, done that, right? But here’s the punchline: showrunners for this series are J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan. If you don’t recognize that first name, just leave. If you don’t recognize that second name, it’s not entirely your fault, it’s because he doesn’t always get the spotlight cred he deserves. Yes, he is the brother of Christopher Nolan, a writer of the Batman films, and, oh yeah btw, he didn’t just write the script for Memento, he also wrote the short story it is based on.

I don’t really know what to expect from this show, other than Michael Emerson playing a character even nerdier and socially inept (but probably significantly less terrifying) than Ben. I do expect to be impressed. I will be very very disappointed if the pilot doesn’t knock my socks off. LITERALLY.

A GIFTED MAN
Premieres Friday September 23 at 8pm

This is another series I don’t quite understand. Patrick Wilson plays a brilliant surgeon who, for some unknown reason, suddenly starts hallucinating his dead ex-wife. And, supposedly, after the initial period of insanity she starts being helpful or something. Emphasis on the “or something.” It is very possible I won’t stick with this show much beyond the pilot. Sad but true: 90% of the reason I’m watching at all is the actors. I enjoy Patrick Wilson for sure. And, like any self-respecting person who has seen the 1995 A&E Pride and Prejudice, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jennifer Ehle. I mean really.

Feel like I missed something? That’s probably because I have absolutely no interest in seeing it. If you want a full Fall/Midseason schedule, I suggest Zap2It’s nifty interactive chart, which will provide you with a nifty little interface and handy links to check out the titles you don’t recognize.

PHEW. FEELS NICE TO HAVE THAT ALL OVER WITH.

This Week 9/19 to 9/24

We’ve had a week of discovering just how much my life is ruined by not having internet access. (How much, you ask? SO MUCH.) Anyway. Ducks are in something resembling a row-like formation, approximately, so now here we are: a This Week post for the first time in MONTHS. It’s almost like I’m making a legitimate effort or something.

TONIGHT:
8pm – Eureka on Syfy (season finale!)
10pm – Castle on ABC (season premiere!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS (season premiere!)
10pm – The Playboy Club on NBC (series pilot!)

Really, Monday nights at 10? Really? Of course I’m going to be watching Castle, no question there. But it’s the principle of the thing. Also going on tonight: Ashton Kutcher’s Two and a Half Men debut. (Am I the only one who thinks the title should be changed to One and Two Half Men?) AND, two hours later, Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. Somewhere out there is a marketing genius.

TUESDAY:
8pm – NCIS on CBS (season premiere!)
8pm – Glee on FOX (season premiere!)
9pm – NCIS: LA on CBS (season premiere!)
9pm – New Girl on FOX (series pilot!)
9pm – Ringer on the CW

So I haven’t watched the pilot of Ringer yet…or the finale of Glee. Probably going to watch NCIS prime and then New Girl (just to finally put my morbid curiosity to rest).

WEDNESDAY:

Apparently I’m going to spend Wednesday catching up from Tuesday and Monday. Or maybe I’ll give in to the temptation to watch the pilot of Revenge at 10pm on ABC.

THURSDAY:
8pm – Charlie’s Angels on ABC (series pilot!)
9pm – Person of Interest on CBS (series pilot!)
10pm – Prime Suspect on NBC (series pilot!)

What is Prime Suspect doing on Comedy Thursday? Can anyone explain this?

FRIDAY:
8pm – A Gifted Man on CBS (series pilot!)
9pm – CSI: NY on CBS (season premiere!)
9pm – Fringe on FOX (season premiere!)
9pm – Supernatural on the CW (season premiere!)

I don’t know what CSI: NY is doing on my schedule – I pretty much stopped watching. I don’t know what Fringe is doing on my schedule – I’m now two and a half seasons behind or some damn thing. I do know what Supernatural is doing on my schedule – just finished S4, so as soon as I slam down S5 (so to speak), I’m working it in because that show is freaking awesome.

SATURDAY:

Saturday is not even a day on TV.

And now I have to go do my last Fall is Fun post REALLY REALLY QUICKLY before I end up staying at this Starbucks for an awkwardly long time. Enjoy your week! Premieres, guys! Funandnews!