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‘Scorpion’ – Not a just a Big Bang Theory-esque procedural

Scorpion – the new FBI/genius procedural on CBS from executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci, Justin Lin, Nick Santora, Walter O’Brien, Heather Kadin, and Scooter Braun.

I was not going to watch this show. I liked the idea, but was afraid it was going to be like every other show on television right now.

I read some early reviews of the pilot a few weeks back and no one seemed to really like the show. I read a few write-ups of the pilot today, after it aired, and again, no one seemed to like it. One review I read was verbatim what I heard everywhere: “It’s like a cop version of The Big Bang Theory.”

All those bad reviews were enough to put me off the show, and yet, some little part of me really wanted to watch it. I like Katherine McPhee (I adored her in ‘Smash’), I don’t think Robert Patrick can be in anything that’s bad (anyone remember Agent Doggett from the X-Files or the T2000 from Terminator 2), and I heard there was an incredible car/plane scene at the end of the episode.

So, I decided to watch it. And I am damn glad I did! Scorpion was a thrill from start to finish! It wasn’t convoluted, or boring, or ‘too much like everything else’. I found it emotionally intriguing – where as most shows are about one interpersonally challenged smart person learning how to relate to the outside world, this show is about 5 – each of them unique, in their genius level abilities, and their difficulties relating to people. It actually reminded me a lot of Leverage in that way, and I loved Leverage!

The main character, Walter O’Brien, played by Elyes Gabel (Game of Thrones, World War Z) is drawn a lot like Sherlock, and yet, he’s younger, he’s multiethnic, and he doesn’t have a British accent, which funny enough really does make a difference. The three supporting characters, Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas American Pie), Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong Cosmopolis), and Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham Huge) each display unique genius qualities, but because of their well defined individuality I’m already starting to like them. I especially like the character of Sylvester. He’s neurotic and a hypochondriac, but he’s also brilliant, and charming.

The other cast includes Robert Patrick, as Agent Cabe Gallo, Katherine McPhee, who plays Paige, and Riley B. Smith, who plays her son Ralph.

A few other reasons why I really liked this episode:

  • It was directed by Justin Lin. Justin is an amazing director. I love his work on the Fast and the Furious films.
  • The score was written by Brian Tyler, who also did the score for Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and the Fast Furious films.
  • There is a kick butt car chase scene involving a plane and a Ferrari. Need I say more?
  • It’s executive produced by Bob and Alex, the amazing writing team behind Star Trek, Transformers, Fringe, Alias and more.

Will I watch this show? YES.

Why will I keep watching this show? Because if the next episodes can keep up the momentum of the pilot, it will be a wild ride to catch every week. Also because I find it fascinating to take a serious look at what it’s like for a highly intelligent person to interact with the world around them. They don’t see things like other people. They’re always seeing patterns, numbers, systems, relationships, formulas… I know other shows touch on this subject (Sherlock, House, Elementary, Monk), but where a show like The Big Bang Theory does so in a humorous way, this show does so in a very realistic way. In this episode Walter points out that Paige’s son is actually a genius, and when he does, Paige begins to cry. She’s not crying because it’s a bad thing that her son is different, but because knowing this about him, may actually help her relate to him. I truly believe so many children suffer neglect and emotional impairment when their parents stop interacting with them because they don’t understand why their kids are different. I loved when Walter said “He paints your nails because he wants to hold your hand, but doesn’t know how to do it.” So often we think when people are distant or unresponsive to our questions or attempts to get close to them, it’s because they they just don’t care, when more often than not they want to connect, they just don’t know how.

This show really grabbed me emotionally, and I enjoyed the action. Has this story been told before? Sure. Gather misfits and let them solve crimes. Pretty common story. But this story felt different – it felt set apart… Maybe because while the characters may be based on archetypes, they are also based on real people – the life and files of real life Irish hacker Walter O’Brien. O’Brien’s life actually plays out on screen in the opening of the pilot when men in black break down his door after he, at the age of 13, hacked Nasa from his bedroom.

Rating: 10/10

That might seem like a high rating for a show that’s only had one episode, but I felt really satisfied after watching the pilot. I was so satisfied that I immediately put on Brian Tyler’s soundtracks and stayed up til 4 in the morning writing about a show I wasn’t even going to watch! The music is fantastic (thank you Brian), the car chase was exquisite (I’m a Fast Furious junkie), and I really liked all the emotional beats. Did you catch the pilot? Did you like it or dislike it? Shoot me a tweet @lauren_gallaway 😀 and thanks for reading!

Scorpion airs Monday nights at 9pm on CBS.

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About laurengallaway

California girl who loves superheroes, sci-fi, and all things nerdy. Assistant editor at Comic Book Resources, co-founder of The Marvel Report.

2 comments on “‘Scorpion’ – Not a just a Big Bang Theory-esque procedural

  1. xclampa
    October 2, 2014

    I felt the same way – the ability to see the world through the eyes of a person who is highly intelligent, to understand what makes them tick – had me riveted. Second episode delivered as well. So glad they decided to produce this show.

    • laurengallaway
      October 2, 2014

      I’m enjoying it as well! I love Paige’s son too 🙂

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This entry was posted on September 23, 2014 by in Reviews, Television and tagged , , , , , , , .
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