Person of Interest S1 E1-5/The Glades S1 E1

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Probably the most heralded recent new show from the US is Person of Interest, which started airing on Channel 5 a few weeks ago. With its pedigree of executive producer JJ Abrams and creator Jonathan Nolan (scribe of The Dark Knight), the premise sounded very promising: a supercomputer with access to Bourne-level surveillance technology predicts future crimes akin to Minority Report. It’s been a big hit in the States and I was looking forward to it airing here’ but I confess, it’s left me cold. Mainly that’s because the story of the week is usually fairly dull and uninteresting, and which require the protagonists to be seemingly wilfully blinkered as to the alternative interpretations of the supercomputer’s predictions in order to fit in the inevitable ‘twist.’ It’s all very dynamic and fast-moving, but also repetitive. It does nothing with the Bourne/Minority Report premise. The lead character is John Reese, and while Jim Caviezel is fine in the tall, dark and moody role as he spies intensely on this week’s subject and says his lines with a Batman-style gravelly rumble, I can’t say that I find him an interesting character. That’s despite the Lost-style flashbacks to his past which will doubtless be the series’ arc leading to some currently untapped development in the show. Far more interesting is Michael Emerson as the mysterious, quirky billionaire behind the project, but then Emerson always was one of the best things about the aforementioned Lost.

By contrast to the fanfare surrounding Person of Interest, while I’d heard of the A&E show The Glades I figured that we’d never get to see it in the UK as it sounded too vapid a show to bother brining over. But digital channel Alibi have a habit of picking up the cable channel programmes that the main broadcasters pass by (hence their expanding line-up which includes such shows as Rizzoli and Isles, Body of Proof, Murdoch Mysteries and Republic of Doyle.) In the case of this latest addition to the channel’s line-up, the protagonist is an ex-Chicago cop relocated to the laid-back Everglades who just wants a quiet time so that he can concentrate on improving his golf swing and chatting up the girls. As opposed to the usual obsessive/angst-ridden cops we get in cop shows (c.f. A Touch of Cloth), lead character Jim Longworth seems pretty disinterested in expending the effort to solve the case and is rather haphazard when he does investigate – but of course there’s method in his madness, and he gets his man at the end. The difference with Person of Interest is that the underlying case in the pilot episode, while simple, has enough twists and false leads and some interesting guest characters to make it appealing and engrossing, and which kept the surprise whodunnit reveal from being too obvious until the end. Moreover, when the answer came, you cared about who it was – in direct contrast to Person of Interest where you’re just pleased it’s done with.

Much depends on whether you find The Glades’ central character played by Australian actor Matt Passmore to be charming and appealing, or insufferably smug. I had my own answer when I realised I’d been watching the pilot show with a big smile plastered on my face for the last ten minutes. I simply enjoyed watching it, and hope that it keeps its sense of fun as the series beds in and doesn’t get tempted to get too deep, dark and meaningful. By contrast, with Person of Interest I found the latest episode was stored on my DVR for days before I finally got around to watching it, and while this week’s was one of the better outings (a money laundering gang kidnap a judge’s son for blackmail purposes) it still felt too much like a chore than it should have done.

Life’s too short. I think I’ll take the series that leaves me with a dumb smile on my face rather than one that feels like a duty to stick with.

Person of Interest and The Glades both premier new episodes on Tuesdays at 9pm on Channel 5 and Alibi respectively. Persons of Interest is due out on DVD on January 17 2013.

6 thoughts on “Person of Interest S1 E1-5/The Glades S1 E1

    SavhCaro said:
    September 16, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I’m curious as to how many episodes you watched before writing your review. Like any new show, POI took a couple of episodes to find it’s feet. By the fourth episode, the characters had gelled, the actors became the characters and the show took off running an never looked back. I hope you will continue to watch, if for no other reason than curiosity. You will find yourself standing up in front of your tv yelling at the characters on the screen and counting the hours til the next episode.
    Jim Caviezel’s portrayal does take a bit to grow on you but once it does, you will see just why he is perfect for the role of John Reese and Michael Emerson is his perfect counter-part as Harold Finch.

    SavhCaro said:
    September 16, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Sorry! Just saw that you had viewed episodes 1-5. Hang in there……….you’ll be glad you did! It will be worth your time to watch all 23 eppys.

    chimera said:
    September 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I agree with the prior poster!
    This is a brand new series with two main actors who have not worked together before, writers creating stories based on a new premise (too many US series are simply rehash of each other!), and set in NYC rather than close to Hollywood… So yes, it takes a few episodes for everything to meld.
    A per episode average ~14 million viewers, and a Neilsen ranking of #13 (out of 195 shows) can’t be that wrong!
    So hang in there and please give another report after you see the finale!

    andrewlewin responded:
    September 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the feedback and recommendation to hang in there, both of you! I have to confess I’ve been wondering what I’ve been missing in it, given the impressive pedigree of the creators; the US viewing figures and general buzz that you mention, chimera; and most of all the obvious enthusiasm and loyalty for the show shown by fans such as yourself willing to speak up for its merits.

    I’m sure I’ll keep watching though I’m not entirely sure it’ll be exactly every week. There are plenty of shows that I’ve not taken to in their early days and come round to later on as they’ve found their feet (such as Grimm for example) and if that’s the case again here I’ll be sure to report back with an updated take on it, I promise!

    blacktop said:
    September 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    You won’t regret watching Person of Interest through to the smashing finale. This show gets more complicated, emotionally rich, dramatically convoluted with each episode. The series takes an important right turn toward the middle of the season which left my jaw hanging and my heart pounding. When you finish up you will eagerly go back to -re-watch the early episodes (I just did last weekend) to catch all the nuances and character details you missed the first time through. Great show with superb acting by all four leads and twisty plotting that will make you think twice everytime you drive down the street or stop on a street corner.

    chimera said:
    September 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Andrew, if you don’t plan on watching the entire POI series then you will miss the overarching story: ie, the next one to air in the UK. Episode 7 (The Witness) sets up an plot that continues into the rest of the season and will likely carry over into S2.
    I was planning on giving you a list of episodes not to miss…but frankly, as was the case with LOST, this series presents weekly flash-backs to string out the mysteries surrounding the characters…including The Machine..
    The “number” is the one-n-done story of the week but the most interesting part of the series is the overall arc. I honestly can’t pick out one episode that doesn’t feed into that…!

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