Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Person of Interest, season 1 (2011-12) **½

NR, 23 43-min. episodes
Creator: Jonathan Nolan
Directors: Richard J. Lewis, Charles Beeson, Fred Toye, Stephen Williams
Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Patrick Harbison, Greg Plageman, Amanda Segel, David Slack, Denise Thé, Sean Hennen, Michael Sopczynski, Nic Van Zeebroeck, Erik Mountain
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman, Susan Misner, Enrico Colantoni, Michael Kelly, Elizabeth Marvel, David Valcin, Brett Cullen, Robert John Burke, Mark Margolis, Brennan Brown, Annie Parisse, Paige Turco

If I had my druthers, I would’ve quit watching “Person of Interest” after seeing the first three episodes. This show is a great example of CBS grooming. CBS is the number one network for the same reason that most Hollywood blockbusters tend to run in the mediocre quality range. They each rely heavily on time tested formulaic storytelling. Don’t rock the boat, and nobody will have any reason to hate you.

This is precisely why I was done with the series. It wasn’t bad. It was just dull. The characters were archetypes, the storylines were all the same, and the premise was near about absurd. It involves a supercomputer that watches everybody in the country? The planet? I’m not sure. It only seems to concentrate on New York City, but they talk about it as a global thing. The creator of the computer made it for the government as an anti-terrorism measure, but there were so many crimes it recognized before they happened that he had to strike out on his own to try to prevent them. He hires a former mercenary to help him stop crimes before they happen.

I know purists will jump on me for over simplifying their mission and they way it works. But, with such a grand premise, I expected the other elements of the series to be better, especially considering that Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher and co-writer of “Memento”, “The Prestige” and “The Dark Knight”, created the series.

So why did I watch the whole first season? Well, my wife likes it. I grinned and bore it throughout the Fall. At the start of the year, I decided I’d had enough. I stopped watching, but my wife continued. Then I overheard her talking to someone about some of the story elements. It sounded like they were finally starting to develop characters and background and flesh out the details of the machine. So, I caught back up with my wife and watched it through the end. I have to admit, they did put together one hell of a season finale.

I still am not entirely sold on the series. It got much better during the second half of the season, but it’s still a little safe for my television tastes. I suppose there’s a reason all the shows I really love get cancelled.

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