Intelligence – a review
Ok, I would just like to point out that I am not skipping this week – so take that!
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If you didn’t already know, the Olympics are on right now. I think they are rather interesting and I have been watching many of the different sports. I have also spared a few moments to watch some TV – alas, I have not read anything worth noting. So instead I am going to take a very brief moment to comment on one of the newest TV series titled: Intelligence.
In fact I am struggling to find one redeeming quality in this show. Now, I know that people will blissfully sit and watch awful programming. I have been known to absently watch poorly created TV without much thought; usually with knitting needles busily clicking in my hands.
So, let’s take a moment to consider the various aspects of the show.
Characters: well, they are all really, super boring with no characterization. Essentially, all the characters are interchangeable. Really, if I was to describe them we have: The Male Lead (with noticeably sloping shoulders), The Female Lead (a brunette), The Super Genius Scientist (of unspecified discipline, but advanced age – hence the smarts), The Scientist’s Sidekick (who is his son – wow, isn’t that new and different!), and the Hard-Ass Female Boss (the older blond). I assume the characters have names, but they are forgettable.
Plot: so here we have a super-secret technology based agency who have created an amazingly dangerous weapon by implanting a computer chip in a human. Yup, that is all they have done. A small chip, the size of a pea (or there about) was inserted in the brain of a human. How does this make them super-human and extremely dangerous? Why was this human able to survive the surgery when all others died? How can we protect this expensive asset?
Well, these are reasonable questions and the show has answers for some of them. First, there is a gene that allows only some people survive the implantation of a computer chip into the brain. Wait. A gene? As in genetics and DNA?? But that doesn’t make any sense at all. Even those with a rudimentary understanding of biology must recognize the fallacy of this statement. How could there possibly be a genetic trait for such a concept? What sort of mutation exists that allows people to better interface with implanted computer chips? I mean really?!
Second, according to all the people on the show, one single, small chip was implanted in the Male Lead’s brain. As best I can tell it is a portable internet search engine – WiFi enabled. Apparently through tech-magic, it also allows the user uninterrupted access to all types of technology that are powered by electricity. The Male Lead can turn on cell phones, hack into closed circuit surveillance cameras, utilize satellite imagery, search every database in a millisecond and remotely unlock key-pad operated door locks. All this using a very tiny chip and I have yet to touch the fantasy of ‘cyber-renderings’, which are ultimately too stupid to comment on.
At one point the Male is lamenting the ‘knowledge’ streaming through his head. He knows all the details of his partners life because of the data trail she leaves behind and he really wishes for one day he could wake up and just not know these things. At which point the Female should have said ‘Then stop googling my life, you stalker!’ Alas, the show failed to see the ridiculousness of its own creation.
Their magic chip is capable of everything or anything at every moment, which does create a huge disconnect. Where is the drama, the tension, the drive of the plot when the magic-chip will come through and expedite the problem solving process? The show has completely failed to define the limitations of their magic-chip. Without this critical framework, the creators really have nothing to explore since any problem the characters come across can be easily solved with that all-purpose magic-chip. Without challenge, there is no conflict and without conflict the show lacks any real draw.
The Third question is really stupid. The chip was implanted in a military-marine, who should be well trained to protect his brain. So why they brought in a female secret service agent to protect him can only mean they are looking to set up a love interest (how predictable).
This brings me awkwardly to the Writing. Obviously the writers have put little thought into the world’s development. They have not flushed out any of the characters. They do not have a clear idea what sort of themes they want to explore – and this is perhaps the most frustrating as there are so many options. You could explore the impact of bionics on humans and the blurring between man and machine, but not if the only difference is one tiny implanted chip. It would be interesting to explore the benefits (beyond a glorified search engine) and the manifold limitations (data corruption, viruses, the need to constantly clear the memory, etc), but they do not.
The writing in each episode has the heroes charging off to save the people from their everyday problems: kidnappings and terrorist attacks. All the while they are trying to keep their implanted human secret while using him as their most effective asset. There is question about government and power that could be explored, but isn’t. And of course, with modern media there are the constant, illogical and poorly conceived action beats. Why does a car chase suddenly erupt, well because it has been 10 minutes since the last chase/fight/explosion. Uhg, how predictable.
In the end, Intelligence brings nothing new to the table. It doesn’t even competently rehash old ideas. It is bland, super-bland. It is just another program adding to the monotony of current television programing.