Monday, September 22, 2014

CBS's "Scorpion": Review of pilot episode

My TiVo is close to overflowing, as I still have 12 episodes of the second season of "The Americans" to get through, and a bunch of new shows are debuting this week, as well as old ones returning. I decided to start with CBS's A-team of nerds show, aka "Scorpion," to see if it's worth a season pass.

The premise of the show is that a group of social misfit geniuses based in a rundown warehouse in L.A.are the key to fixing crises that are otherwise beyond our government's ability to solve. The most recognizable actors in the show are Robert Patrick (the liquid metal terminator) as the government agent who calls on the misfits, and Katharine McPhee ("American Idol" runner-up; "Smash" co-star) as the single mom of an autistic genius boy.

The crisis in the pilot episode involves a corrupted software patch in LAX that cripples the airport's ability to communicate with airplanes. Unless the problem is fixed, planes are going to start falling out of the sky.

Yeah, it sounds kind of ridiculous. At least in "Die Hard 2," the planes were kept in the airspace above Dulles by terrorists who had commandeered the communications and could issue deceptive orders to the pilots.

And of course, the nerd/genius characters are pretty much what you'd come to expect, more character tropes than actual characters.

Still, this is the kind of show that CBS knows how to produce in a slick, glossy format with neatly packaged resolutions in a 59-minute program. It's kind of like "CSI: Misfit Geniuses," or "NCIS: Nerdville." It pretty delivers what it promises, it's entertaining, and it'll probably get decent to good ratings.

I'll stick with it for now, as it's watchable, and there's hope that it will follow the path of "Person of Interest" (also a CBS show), which started off as a procedural of the week before developing arcs in season 3 that blossomed into a season-long arc in season 3.

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