Welcome to the first episode of The3rdWall’s Video Reviews! This will be a new series of videos created for Sequart. Specifically, they will be a collection of video reviews of various comic- and geek-culture-related TV shows. They will be narrated, written, and edited by myself and will cover a wide series of shows. (Feel free to suggest shows and specific episodes in the comments!) Each time I introduce a new series, it will be accompanied by a brief article about the show’s significance.
Today’s episode is about the TV show Person of Interest. Person of Interest is a crime serial created by Jonathan Nolan (who co-writes projects with Christopher Nolan on a regular basis). Person of Interest is, however, secretly a super-hero show. It’s not marketed that way, but there’s no doubt in my mind it’s intended to be.
This show revolves around the character John Reese, who gets enlisted by Harold Crane. (Harold has a comic-book-like preference for bird-related aliases.) Turns out Harold Crane built a machine for the government that monitors just about everything in order to spot potential terrorist attacks. None of the information is accessible — it merely gives the government rudimentary data so they can anticipate the attack. Samantha Shaw, who now helps Crane and Reese, used to be responsible for stopping the terrorist attacks until her handlers tried to have her killed. When Harold built the machine, he realized that it was also detecting normal acts of violence. He knew this info would be written off by the government as irrelevant, so he programmed the machine with a back door. The machine now sends him the social security numbers of people involved in a violent crime. He gets one number per crime and has no idea what the crime is or whether the number is for the victim or perpetrator.
The show tends to be a little formulaic — the team surveys the number, they think they know where the threat comes from, danger starts popping up, normally closely followed by a reversal or twist. (“It’s not X, it’s Y” or “It’s not just X, it’s also Y.”) But the show is always exciting and engaging. Its characterization and thematic concerns are far better executed than any other super-hero show on television. Hell, Jim Caviezel makes a better Batman than a lot of the actual portrayals of the Caped Crusader! (It’s the fact that he’s intimidating and scary, but there’s often a faint sense that he’s enjoying it. It’s perfection.)
The whole show has a wonderful sense of casualness to it. It takes its time getting where it’s going — it doesn’t hit you too heavily over the head when important beats pop up. At least not at first. Each season has gotten increasingly better and increasingly intense. It’s worth starting from the pilot episode, but barring that, joining in as the new season starts is the next best answer. It’s, in my opinion, the best super-hero show on TV right now, even if it’s not about a licensed character or part of a franchise. More comic fans should check it out.