Person of Interest – Pilot Review

John Reese is a scarily competent former CIA type who’s pretending to be dead. He’s picked up by Mr Finch who’s extremely rich, very creepy, slightly obsessed and also pretending to be dead. He designed a program that the US government spies on people to find anomalies – the government is looking for terrorists but it also finds people for whom bad things are going to happen. The US government isn’t interested in helping them, so Mr Finch hacks his system and enlists Reese to investigate and save who they can.

It’s a pretty bloody daft idea, but if treated with a humour and enthusiasm it could be quite fun – solving unknown crimes before they start when all you have to go on is a single identity who might be the victim or the perpetrator. It could be a sort of spy show meets Minority Report, with lots of potential for an A-Team style bunch of misfits helping people that the authorities have no interest in.

Shame that instead they managed to make a desperate dull piece of over the top rubbish.

I lay most of the blame at the feet of Jim Caviezel (Jesus in Passion of the Christ), as the most monotone borderline psychopath the world has ever seen. Boy, this guy can drain the charisma out of a room with just a raised eyebrow. He is DULL! He’s also overly violent, prone to wondering into situations that are likely to get him killed and… of course… seemingly traumatised by some trauma that happened to his girlfriend who we see in flashbacks. Oooo… that’s original.

Meanwhile Michael Emerson (who was apparently amazing in Lost, but I’d given up on it by then) is hamming it up like no one’s business having opted to play his character with a mysterious limp and a neck that only turns one way. It really is most distracting. Although on the plus side the distraction minimises the amount of attention you can pay to the plot which was overly complicated and utterly uninteresting.

It seems that I’m missing something, because most of the other reviewers seem to think it’s ok, if not brilliant and it also drew in pretty massive ratings that it mostly maintained for its second episode. I genuinely can’t understand it! It’s not like I’m on the fence about it, I really do think it’s utterly awful – charisma vacuum characters making ridiculous decisions and delivering cliché ridden dialogue – the least entertaining 45 minutes of television I’ve seen in a very long time. I can only conclude the rest of the television watching populace is insane.

Other reviews
AOL TV – If you’re looking for a procedural drama of a very different color, or even if you don’t care for the procedural format, you might just fall in love with ‘Person of Interest’ (Thu., 9PM ET on CBS). It certainly had one of the stronger pilots in this new premiere week.
TV Fanatic – There’s a lot of potential for the show and I look forward to seeing where it takes viewers. It’s safe to say that, while not a perfect start, I’m still very interested.

The Upfronts: CBS

Looks like CBS had a pretty good run last year, it has the most returning shows of any of the networks and the fewest cancellations (bar The CW). Unfortunately that means there is precious little space on the schedule for new shows, and it therefore also has a slimmest pickings for potential new hits.

What’s out
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior proved that just rehashing a popular current show didn’t automatically create success, I thought it was a bad idea from the start so I feel faintly smug that it’s been disappeared. I don’t think anyone will really be crying over the cancellation of Bleep/&*$£ My Dad Says either, not least to the people who could never work out how to deal with its name.

Medium was wrapped up after seven seasons, I never watched it though so I have no idea whether that’s sad or not. Also off are Chaos, which I’ll admit I never even heard of but was apparently a comedy drama about rogue CIA spies and was pulled from the schedules after three episodes. The Defenders and Mad Love also didn’t make it beyond their first seasons.

What’s back
CBS is home of the procedural and the spin off and all the usual suspects are in the returning slots. Coming back are both NCISs, all three CSIs (including the slightly unexpected CSI:NY which may be a season too much for me), Blue Bloods (with Tom Selleck’s mustache returns), Criminal Minds: Original Flavour (with JJ returning, yay!) Hawaii Five-O (mindless action in the sun) and The Mentalist (I gave up a couple of seasons back). Rounding out the dramas is the massively successful and rather brilliant The Good Wife.

Also back are a load of comedies (Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Mike & Molly and Rules of Engagement) although the only one that anyone will be talking about is Two and a Half Men – minus Charlie Sheen, plus Ashton Kutcher.

What’s new
2 Broke Girls – posh girl has to struggle by with no money, finds sassy waitress to help. According to the behind the scenes, it’s “really funny”. I see no evidence of that I’m afraid.

A Gifted Man – rich doctor falls in love with a ghost. Painfully saccharine.

Unforgettable – it wouldn’t be CBS if they weren’t trying a new procedural, this one has the hook that the lead character has a perfect memory. It doesn’t look bad, we’ll have to see how well they use the idea.

Person of Interest – not really sure what’s going on with this one, something about two blokes preventing crimes using a combination of technology and extreme violence. It comes across a little dry and intense in the trailer, but I’ll give it a try.

How to be a Gentleman – the third new comedy this year about men being MEN. Not as painful as the two that ABC offered up as at least this one also features the ‘perfect gentleman’, but it still looks awful.

The 2-2 – there’s no trailer for this midseason show, but the fact that’s it’s exec produced by Robert De Niro is probably enough to get the hype going. The synopsis makes it sound a bit unremarkable (six rookie cops on the streets of New York) but the character outlines () and creative oomph behind it make me quietly excited.