Wednesday Is the New Monday Night

[Ha!  After spending the afternoon writing this post, I forgot to publish it.  So, should it be retitled “Thursday is the New Monday Night”?  Nah.]

PJ Byrne dons a mesh-like cap with remote capabilities.

The SciFi Chicks need a cap like this!

Golly jeepers, where have the past four weeks gone?  In fairness, I’ve tried writing several posts, but they never quite convey what I want.  Fortunately, only a few new Supernatural episodes have aired since, and Suzanne has picked up my slack.  She always has some great insights.  Check out her post.

On to Monday nights.  Now that Sleepy Hollow is over for the season, we still have two shows of sci fi interest, Almost Human and Intelligence.  I’m more I’m interested in Intelligence, but its ratings are very poor and will likely be cancelled, or at least not renewed beyond its first 13 episodes.  So why write about it?  Probably because I have at least two posts in my drafts queue.

Both shows are at the heart a “cop buddy” procedural, yet in both cases, the lead is rather unlikable.  (I disagree, but more on that later.)  They also feature women in strong positions, the requisite scientific nerd support, and ultra-cool 3-D renderings.

Almost Human

Detective Kennex and Detective Stahl from Almost Human are attracted to each other.

A couple? A ‘ship? Hey, don’t force it.

I complain a lot about Almost Human.  Much of it is predictable, and its running jokes are getting a little old, even though only 11 episodes have aired.  John Kennex (Karl Urban) is indeed unlikable.  So far he’s shown only a rough, sarcastic surface with no hint of heart.  Perhaps we’re supposed to take his attraction to Detective Stahl (Minka Kelly) as his softer side, but I’m not interested in an inter-office romance.  It feels forced.  The relationship I’d like to see developed more is that of Dorian and Rudy, the android and the nerd.

Speaking of Rudy, enough with the kinky sex doll robot innuendos.  Mackenzie Crook deserves better.

Lili Taylor and Michael Ealy star in Almost Human.

Is Dorian about to get a reprimand?

I’ve always liked Lili Taylor.  She’s an Emmy-nominated actor, but she falls flat here.  She speaks too quickly and without any intonation, so her character is just blah.  I know she’s capable of so much more, so I don’t know why she’s chosen this type of performance.

For at least the third time, the police-drama scenario has played out as such:  1) a man (or in this week’s episode, a man and woman) is killed in some high tech manner; 2) during the investigation a second male victim is killed; 3) the third intended victim, a woman, is saved just in time.  That’s just lazy writing.  Get with it, folks!

For all my complaining, I still watch the show, so it can’t be all bad, can it?

Intelligence

Gabriel and Riley prepare for action in their bullet-proof vests.

Hey, where was my US CyberCom bullet-proof vest when I needed it?

Yes, Virginia, there is a U.S. Cyber Command.  I’m not sure the producers knew this when they created the show, because this Cyber Command is all kinds of whack.  Still, it’s fun to see my last workplace depicted on television, even if it is a total fabrication.  After all, who would find people sitting at their computers entertaining?  We certainly didn’t have anyone running around with computer chip in his brain.

Josh Holloway, as the chip-enhanced hero Gabriel Vaughn, has been getting a lot of heat in reviews.  I’m not sure what all the griping is about.  For my money, Gabriel is a far more interesting character than John Kennex.  He’s showed us a softer side, perhaps prodded by his female “partner” (technically, she’s his Secret Service protector).  And recently he’s started questioning whether he’s man or machine.

Nelson demonstrates his remote-control copter-hat.

‘Copter-hat in action!

The big draw for me is Meghan Ory as Riley Neal, the agent brought in to protect Gabriel.  I’ve liked her ever since her guest appearance on Dark Angel several years ago.  She was heavily underused as Ruby/Red Riding Hood in Once Upon a Time, so it’s great to see her in a leading role—even if that role doesn’t take advantage of her tremendous beauty.  Riley appears to be giving Gabriel some stability, and they’ve developed respect for each other.  Their relationship has all the signs of growing into more.  Ordinarily I’d be cautious of these things moving too fast, but since Intelligence seems to be short-lived, I’ll play along.

Marg Helgenberger plays Lillian Strand, the Cyber Command director, in CBS's Intelligence.

Lillian Strand: awesome boss or power-crazed bitch?

There could be potential for Intelligence.  John Billingsley is a beloved actor and his character, the doctor who imbedded the chip in Gabriel, is well liked. CyberCom chief Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger) appears to be more than some high-level bureaucrat, having shown us recently a frighteningly ruthless side.

But characters are only as good as the writing, and the writing for Intelligence is not excellent. I’d say it’s better than Almost Human, but I’d likely be in the minority.

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4 responses to “Wednesday Is the New Monday Night

  1. Again, I typed up my thoughts as I read your post, and again, they are lengthy. Sorry. 😦

    CBS isn’t really treating Intelligence like a low-rated show (what you said was shocking news to me LOL), and much of its run has been during the Olympics, so it will be interesting to see what happens through the rest of the season. I can’t believe they gave a kind of dull, invisible show like Unforgettable a third season and Intelligence might not make it.

    I don’t find Kennex unlikeable. I think he has a compassionate center that drives him to do his job, but the writing doesn’t bring that out enough. (And yes, I admit, I may be “writing” it in myself. LOL) In fact, I think all of the problems on this show come down to the writing and the directing. Maybe Lili Taylor isn’t choosing to present her character that way, maybe she’s being directed to. Also, the writing SUCKS for her. She’s relegated to asking obvious questions and directing traffic, sometimes literally.

    I just feel like they’re missing the boat in a hundred different ways. They touch on things but then drop them for multiple episodes. No cohesion. And they seem to be undecided on what they want Dorian to be. He’s already different from what he was at the beginning of the season. Though the mystery about the memories has great potential, and I still like both leads enough to keep watching.

    People are complaining about Gabriel?! What is there to complain about? Oh, wait. He’s honorable, self-sacrificing, determined to serve his country but not blind to its flaws, dedicated to his wife and respectful of his female partner and boss. He’s not a smug, self-destructive, alcoholic murderer engaging in deviant sexual behavior and operating with a questionable ethical agenda. So obvious!

    I LOVE this show, so of course it’s doomed. *sigh* I think it has a million times better writing than Almost Human. It has flaws, and it engages in all the ridiculous procedural shortcuts and “we’ll do it this way cuz it’ll be cool” stuff that they all do. But so far, there’s been a level of tension and cohesion and character building that’s completely absent in Almost Human. I find it intriguing how they’ve presented the team as idealistic and world-saving yet questioning whether that makes them any better if they’re still operating with a Machiavellian intent. There’s irony in the powermongers questioning Clockwork’s power.

    I think the most important thing any show can have is chemistry, and I do think Intelligence has it. It might end up being the new Fringe or Chuck, struggling through for 5 years and making its small but hungry audience happy. Assuming I am not the only member of that small but hungry audience. LOL

    • I’m so glad you feel the same way about Intelligence! I’ve only heard inklings of cancellation from “unofficial” sources, i.e., tvbythenumbers.com. Hopefully CBS will wait to see how ratings fare after the Olympics. And perhaps move it back to Tue nights, where the pilot did well. Speaking of, I recently rewatched the pilot, and it’s actually not as good as the more recent episodes, writing and acting-wise. Then again, I thought the wife situation was a show-killer. But I imagine she isn’t really dead and might return. All this is assuming, of course, the show continues. 🙂

      The people complaining about Gabriel are at Television Without Pity. It’s interesting how shows draw a certain type of audience there. Intelligence seems to have the same disgruntled types as Supernatural, while others are more supportive of their shows.

      And I’ll say it again… NEVER apologize for lengthy replies! Part of the reason I post at all is so I’ll find out your thoughts. 😀

      • I’ll try really hard to stop apologizing. LOL

        I checked Ausiello’s renewal scorecard, and it says it’s a long shot, too. But it might also depend on pilot season and what kinds of shows they test out.

        The Amelia thing is interesting. I was surprised they brought her in so quickly and “resolved” her so soon. I was also surprised they brought in that other chip-head and also resolved *that* so soon. So I wouldn’t be surprised if either came back. But they could also just have been using Amelia as a setup for Gabriel’s motivation and internal conflict and now they’ll do a slow build with a romance between him and Riley.

        Everyone else I’ve asked who watches the show likes it like we do. But in the big picture, that’s a very small handful. LOL

  2. Pingback: Almost Human Breaks Its Mold… Almost | SciFi Chick (s)

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