I’m watching the premier episode of Scorpion as I write this.
It’s a federal agent crime drama where the lead characters are a group of super smart, uniquely talented under 30 year old nerds, recruited by an old, wrinkle face, loud fed. I’ve just hit pause part way though, so I don’t know all the details yet.
What caused me to pause and blog, was witnessing some Computer mumble jumble fake tech talk. I ponder how long this kind of creative fake technology in TV will be acceptable. Back in the 80s, most people still didn’t have a home computer so when we saw Mathew Broderick talking to one, we believed it. Today, we’re pretty smart about what’s possible, and when a hacker goes into a restaurant and connects his computer via WiFi directly to the internal camera feeds at the airport, some people may still believe it’s possible… but when he hits ctrl-c on a flashing Blue screen of death Windows XP box and then goes back into the computer to solve the problem, that’s too far. Too hard to believe.
Kidding aside, I can’t help but wonder who they feel a demographic of reasonably unattractive nerds is appealing to. I understand that they can’t make nerds beautiful, or nobody would believe they were nerds, even in today’s nerd friendly society. However, true nerds may be bothered by a show like this, on many levels. Nerds don’t always like it when shows depicting nerds are able to do things that reality doesn’t really allow.
I’ve already seen 10 things that are not realistic in this show, and I’m only 15 minutes in.
Unpause – Pause
As I watch more, I see that all the other characters have equal demographic followers that will be irritated by the inaccuracies of their life, from crazy lock picking, amazing math, hackable electric power, and crazy psychology tricks. As I think more about it, I realize that all TV probably has an unbelievable quality that applies to any role. I suspect the real FBI agents can pick apart how crazy the agent’s actions are. I guess we all give in to TV being unrealistic. We suspend our disbelief for the sake of the story, or the action sequences. We even accept the part where a complete stranger waitress volunteers to save the day, by being asked to drive over 100km down the busy streets of LA, aided by one of the smart nerds, who has hacked all the traffic lights (but one) to turn green for the journey.
As the episode continues, I can partially respect it as an action adventure show. It’s not unlike any other federal agent against the bad guys show, with a novel twist. Parts were as silly as a Bond flick at times, and some of the silliness was laughably bad, like when they started driving a Ferrari at 200mph down an airport runway while a jumbo jet flies 20 feet above them for a few seconds so they can connect the two via a hanging network cable. Once they plug in, they are able to instantly download a fresh copy of the plane’s operating software and save the city.
The question is, will this silliness impact whether people like the show, or leave it. Can we accept absolute stupid moments in order to enjoy an action sequence? Can nerds handle stupidity that borders on mocking their talents and skills? Time will tell.
I’ll watch week two before I decide. For now, it stays in the rotation.