Tag Archives: CSI: Cyber

Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: CBS

13 May

CBS

Well, there’s no point in making predictions if you’re not willing to revisit them later and see just how wrong you were. Now that the final decisions are in, let’s review how I did.

CBS now. My fall predictions are here and my spring predictions are here, and in short, every show gets one of three predictions: that it will air 12 episodes or fewer, 13 episodes or more, or be renewed.

Madam Secretary

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

CBS invested heavily in this series, and it was a sensible match for its adult Sunday night lineup. Combined with the fact that CBS was debuting fewer shows than any other network, backing Madam Secretary seemed like a smart bet.

Scorpion

Prediction: 13+

Reality: Renewal

Scorpion looked hackneyed to me (and it was) and while it’s the type of show that could (and did) succeed on CBS, I didn’t think it had what it took. I was wrong and that’s okay.

NCIS: New Orleans

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

NCIS remains, after all these years, one of the most successful shows on TV, and the Los Angeles spin off is quite successful as well. Taking the over on NCIS: New Orleans was definitely the safe bet and worked out as expected.

Stalker

Prediction: 13+

Reality: 13+

Stalker looked like the worst show in the CBS line up, and was, and also the one that made the least sense with existing CBS properties, being a little too horror-oriented; closest to Criminal Minds, but still not quite right.

Spring:

The Odd Couple

Prediction: 12-

Reality: Renewal

This show was terrible and it looked terrible, and I know it’s CBS, but Matthew Perry has a couple of post-Friends network failures already and this looked like an obvious continuation of that sequence. I’m still a little surprised it will be back.

Battle Creek

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 12-

Battle Creek also looked not quite right for CBS (more Fox like, being procedural but silly, like Bones), but more on brand than Stalker, and came from a CBS-ized vision from superstar creators Vince Gilligan and David Shore. I banked on the star power carrying the show to at least one more season; I was wrong.

CSI: Cyber

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

CSIs have faded in the wake of triumphal NCISs, but each of the three editions had a very successful run, and I figured that picking a CSI led by Patricia Arquette was just another smart wager. This one was almost, almost cancelled, but just held on.

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Spring 2015 Review: CSI: Cyber

30 Mar

CSI: Cyber

Police must love cop shows. Nothing glamorizes the institution more than detectives and officers fighting the good fight, always cracking the case, and locking the bad guys up for good. While this applies to almost every cop show on TV (there are of course exceptions, like The Shield), no show makes cops look better than editions of CSI. There are none of the classic cop struggles here. No alcoholics or cops who struggle balancing the family and work lives or copious amounts of red tape or cops negatively affected by prior cases. There are just ultra, ultra-competent cops who can do everything, from computers, to hand-to-hand combat, to interrogations, and do it impressively, staying well within the law all the time (no questionable go-too-far tactics here) and always in time to save the day.

CSIs are also a little silly by cop show standards, played completely straight within the shows, but in a way that makes me think the creators don’t take them all too seriously. Partly because of this, as much as they’ve been the butts of jokes over the years, I have a hard time actually hating them. They’re just so ludicrous. CSI: Cyber stars the FBI’s Cyber division, responsible for investigating any cyber crimes (which seem to be anything which involves programming or electronics, or, well, it’s hard to tell). The team is made up of Avery (Patricia Arquette), the leader, a behavioral psychologist, Elijah (James Van Der Beek), her second in command, a military type, Daniel, a super elite hacker, Raven, a woman who doesn’t do anything in the first episode so I don’t really know what her deal is, and Brody, a new one-time criminal hacker on a Mod Squad type program to either help the FBI and become one of them, or rot in prison. 

The case in the pilot is a series of baby abductions, which leads to the discovery that an organized crime ring has been orchestrating these kidnappings and auctioning off babies. The Cyber connection is that the criminals chose and cased the babies through a software weakness in baby security cameras owned by the victims’ parents.

Arquette and Van Der Beek are everywhere during the episode, and doing everywhere. They take over from local cops, work the home, convince a reluctant kid to give evidence, find the first lead in a warehouse, arrest a couple of lackeys who were then assassinated, shoot their assassin who was getting away on a motorcycle, and raid the warehouse where the real bad guys were at. Van Der Beek even literally saves a drowning baby towards the end of the episode, and Arquette performs CPR to bring the baby back to life.

There’s lots of silly cyber stuff, though to be honest less than I’d hoped. The Cyber division office contains a ludicrous amount of screens, kind of like one of those CNN Electoral War rooms. The show presents us with a few two-color black-and-green cyber-reconstructions of very computer-related events and the hackers talk a little bit of code (uberhacker Daniel berates a baby cam company IT guy for problems with their programming), but there’s far less technobabble than I was hoping for.

Calling CSI: Cyber a bad show is not so much right or wrong as it is beyond the point. It’s a very silly show. It’s professionally done, as CSI’s are. You get a case, it gets cracked little by little, until it’s all wrapped up at the end of the episode, and everyone goes to get a beer except for our fearless leader, Arquette, who goes off to think. And yes, before I forget, it turns out that Arquette got into this business because her professional records as a psychologist were hacked, leading to a patient’s murder, and yes, she still hasn’t yet found the hacker, but rest assured, should the show continue she will. CSI’s full of crime procedural cliché catnip like that.

Anyone familiar with CSI, and that should be, at this point, just about anyone familiar with television, knows exactly what this is. There are no surprises. If you’re the type of person who likes CSIs, you might like it, and you might not, and if you’re not, then there’s really no point watching, and there’s really no way you’re considering watching it anyway. There’s nothing to see here.

Will I watch it again? No. There’s no need to. I don’t mind watching these pilots so much, and they’re over-the-top which in doses is entertaining rather than bothersome, exceptionally compared to some of the worst pilots which can really be a slog to get through. Still, there’s no reason I ever need to see another episode.

Spring 2015 Previews and Predictions: CBS

16 Feb

CBS

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (edit: spring, now) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (spring, again)(reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

  1. Renewal – show gets renewed
  2. 13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed
  3. 12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Additional note: Since more and more series on network TV are following cable models with set orders for shorter seasons, and mid-season replacements tend to have shorter seasons in particular, I’ll note any planned limited runs in my prediction section for each show)

Only three new shows for CBS, since they just don’t have as many spots to fill in their schedule. One comedy remake, one drama spin off, and one drama from two highly esteemed TV minds.

The Odd Couple – 2/19/15

The Odd Couple

I watched the preview, but as happens with a few new shows every year, I didn’t really need to. Of course, this is particularly obvious here, because The Odd Couple’s two primary characters have been in the pop culture conscience for half a century now; the current show is a remake of a tv show of a movie of a play. It features the pretty standard time-tested tropes of the obsessive-compulsive neat freak (Felix Unger, played here by Thomas Lennon) and the easy-going slob (Oscar Madison, played here by Matthew Perry). They’re opposites, so they constantly put each other in awkward situations, but they’re also friends at the end of the day! You know how it goes. Who was actively calling for an Odd Couple reboot, I haven’t the faintest idea.

Prediction: 13- Matthew Perry is developing an impressive reputation as a show-killer since Friends (Studio 60, Go On, Mr. Sunshine) and I sure wouldn’t want this show to end the streak.

Battle Creek – 3/1/15

Battle Creek

Battle Creek is a procedural that seems like maybe, just maybe, it could be better than your average CBS procedural. It’s co-created by heavyweights Vince Gilligan and David Shore, and while this is not going to be Breaking Bad, the fact that names like those are attached still carries some weight. Josh Duhamel stars as a perfect, handsome FBI agent who comes to assist the underfunded police in the town of Battle Creek, Michigan. Dean Winters plays the gruff top dog whose position is in danger when golden boy Duhamel comes to town. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it being good, but it might not be awful, which already puts it above most CBS pilots.

Prediction: Renewal – it’s on the right network, and it’s got the pedigree. Every stroke CBS makes these days still seems to work out. I really want to dock it for the tagline “You Can’t Fight Crime without Going to Battle” but I just can’t.

CSI: Cyber – 3/4/15

CSI: Cyber

You know the brand. It’s been almost 15 years since the original’s debut and it’s long past time to bring on the fourth show in the CSI universe. “I’m a Cyber Cop” is a real line Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette utters in the trailer. Later she utters, “You work dark alleys. I work the dark net.” The Who plays. There is a self-acknowledged silliness to CSI; to its credit I don’t believe takes itself all too seriously. Still, I’m almost certainly never going to watch this show again after the debut until it starts showing in syndication at weird hours on weird networks.

Prediction: Renewal – Granted, NCIS is the new, currently more popular CSI, but still the shortest-tenured member of the CSI franchise, CSI: New York, lasted nine seasons. I’m not ready to bet against Cyber lasting two.