« The wrong kind of adventure | Main | Creepy is the new Cool »

Must G33k TV

I've gushed in this space before about Monk, where I described it as the best television show not appearing on HBO. And while I think Lost may be giving it a run for that title, I'm not ready to do the soul-searching necessary to offer up such a decree. The new season began on Friday, and again, if you're not watching the show, you should start. While it's not quite as dramatic as Alias's remake, Bitty Schram left the show (over a contract dispute, I think), and they recruited Traylor Howard, whose career has mostly been being the "Girl" in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. Her role there was largely cute and perky, I think. Much less so on Monk, I suspect.

And the result was basically a transition episode, introducing us to her, and giving us backstory to explain Sharona's absence. Not bad, but not brilliant.

And only part of my point in posting. By the end of the Patriots-Steelers game tonight, I was anxiously waiting for the new CBS show Numb3rs, which features, among others, a pretty solid geek ensemble:

  • Rob Morrow, formerly of Northern Exposure
  • Sabrina Lloyd, formerly of Sports Night
  • Judd Hirsch, formerly of everything and then some
  • Peter MacNicol, formerly of Ally McBeal
  • David Krumholtz, formerly of...umm...er...The Santa Clause

Morrow's an FBI agent, while Krumholtz is his brother and a math professor who apparently harnesses serious mathematics to assist him in his cases. I say apparently bc I don't really have the math to know. The show seems pretty interesting, although I'm hard pressed to say how they'll manage to come up with solid plots over the long term. But Ridley Scott is one of the execs, and it was pretty stylish. They did a lot of flashy math interludes, modeled (I suspect) after the CSI stuff, where formulae get superimposed on phenomena, with lots of arrows and notations.

While I don't really know the math well enough to comment, I can mention that tonight's episode featured some insights that I've come to associate with network studies--the human tendency to seek underlying patterns, even when resisting them on the surface, for instance. I got the impression from the trailers that Krumholtz would be a lot less socially adept than he proved to be in this episode, which was something of a relief, bc they didn't go for cheap stereotypes in that regard. He is a little bit of a Beautiful Mind type, and I'm sure that this was another influence on the visual style of the show.

All in all, I'd call it intriguing, and worth another look. Except, of course, that CBS has scheduled it for 10 pm on Fridays, which is the same &*#$@!ing time as Monk. Of course. All of the props scheduled for CBS, for airing a show with smart people as the protagonists, have been cancelled for airing it at a time designed to remind smart people in the audience that their social lives are such that they're actually home to watch it. Not nice.

Oh, and every single reference to the show I've seen (including the URL for the show's page at CBS) keeps the 3. Woot.

That is all.


I enjoyed Numbers-- er, excuse me, Numb3rs-- last night as well, and since I'm not a Monk fan (sorry 'bout that) and old and married, I can watch it on a Friday night without feeling like a loser.

I did wonder about the math though. I have the math skills of a not very gifted high school student, so I'm not one to judge. But while the whole bit about a non-random network/spread of things made sense, I have to think that the math experts in the crowd were howling with laughter, kind of like the reaction I have with any show that features any kind of writer or English professor.

time to tivo?


1. I heard a story on NPR that interviewed a math scholar, who said it's okay--the realism of the math is equivalent to the realism of the FBI portrayals, so that seems fair.
2. If he's a "professor," as they all keep saying, why does he have a hot thesis advisor? I understand her narrative relevance, but the realism seems to have dropped away there.
3. Definitely Tivo. Especially since Monk is shown at multiple times, it's actually possible to Tivo both *and* go out on a Friday night. If one were, theoretically, to have something to do...

On #2, I was a little confused as well. On the one hand, I suppose her function was to be a particularly attractive example for Judd Hirsch's "sometimes you boys don't see what's right in front of your faces" reflections. On the other, she was in almost every scene with Krumholtz, from the gravity car to his office to his house to the FBI offices. A lot a lot of face time for an actor who wasn't even listed in the cast, yes? And then the cynic in me thought that it was entirely possible that she was a "focus group" add--the rest of the show is awfully boy-centered (even Sabrina Lloyd was dressing boy). I guess we'll find out...

I never watched Monk, even though Susie is a big fan, so when the Monk marathon came up over the holidays I took about 18 hours or so and got caught up. Can't decide how I feel about the new season. The inital show left me a little flat. Can't decide if the chemistry is gone or if I just burned myself out on the basic narrative. We'll see how it plays out.

Yeah, I thought the season premiere was a little flat too. It was okay, but they spent so much of it just replacing Sharona and preserving continuity that it just didn't do much for me. We'll see.

FYI--for all you Tivo-ers and tapers out there: the new episode involving the cobra will be re-aired at midnight tonight, and at 1:00am on Sunday morning (or late Saturday night, if you're Collin).