Horrible TV shows can be incredibly entertaining. That’s how network television has remained in business all these years. But none in recent memory have been both as horrible and as entertaining as the new CBS drama, Scorpion. I fought the entertaining part as long as I could during its world premiere in Ballroom 20 at Comic-Con Thursday afternoon, but ultimately gave in.
My undoing was a final action sequence that was so ridiculous and so improbable, yet so thrilling, that I could no longer resist. All criticism aside, it was just so much darned fun! Based on the true story of Walter O’Brien, an eccentric genius with a high IQ, but a low EQ, you cannot tell me that O’Brien once sped down a runway in a car while a pretty waitress tried to connect a laptop to a cable dangling from an airplane flying a mere few feet above.
Scorpion is one of those shows where reality is hyper-extended. For example, there is supposedly a two-hour window after which several flights will crash when a new version of computer software at the airport contains a glitch. It’s a true race against time. However, the characters have time to talk about their pasts and chit chat about how awful it is to be misunderstood.
The producers would have us believe that Scorpion is really a character-driven show, but also promise each week will have an “adventure”. Why does network television always claim their shows are actually dramas at heart? Do they think that’s what promises longetivity? In this case, it seems they would be better served to embrace the outrageousness of their show and be honest about what it truly is. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Perhaps I’ve seen too many of these CBS shows to be kinder to Scorpion. They all seem the same to me with interchangeable characters. (You must admit they have their formula down pat.) It feels like any other show that has come and gone in recent years. There’s the misunderstood genius (Elyes Gabel) reluctant to help the authorities and his team of misfits. There’s the tough authority figure with a past (Robert Patrick). And there’s the aforementioned pretty waitress (Katherine McPhee) who, at the end of the episode, is unbelievably offered a job on the team.
Scorpion is a show I’ll probably watch occasionally, but not on a regular basis. At this point I don’t see a need to be involved regularly. I will likely be entertained, if not a little worn out. And my brain will definitely be checked out. As with any CBS show, you know what you’re getting. Take that for what it’s worth.