Numb3rs and The West Wing: Last two for a while. I think

Two shows I forgot about in yesterday’s reviews:

Numb3rs: Still slowly going downhill, unfortunately. For a while, this everyday story of an FBI agent and his mathematical genius brother who helps him solve crimes was one of the few cop shows on TV that didn’t insult your intelligence too much. Well, it did a little but only in the “your mother smells of elderberries” way. So while the maths guys were all a little geeky and the maths itself was slightly off, there was nothing utterly offensive. But new season, new rules. We have a couple of new characters who don’t really increase the average IQ of the stories. The theme’s changed (what precisely was wrong with Talking Heads’ Once in a Lifetime?). But now the maths and particularly the physics is way off. One particularly egregious piece of work was proclaiming that quantum entanglement implies that all photons come in pairs. Clearly, somebody’s been skipping parts of their Big Boy’s Book of Quantum Physics because it got a little tricky for them. Don’t get me started on the “dark matter” and “Reverse Decision Theory” stuff, either. Will stick with it though, because I’ve noticed most of the bad episodes are all by the same guy.
The West Wing: Still not as good as in the Aaron Sorkin days, but at least it has a coherent plot now. This is probably going to be the last season, so it might be nice to see some of the drop-out characters – Sam, Ainsley, Moira Kelly’s character whose name I can’t remember – come back, rather than the bland post-Sorkin characters we’ve been lumbered with. Sticking with it more out of habit than great love of it, now, but I’m kind of hoping that Alan Alda and the Republicans win at the end of the season: eight years of seeing things from the other side will be more entertaining than watching eight more years of the same old Democrat-whinging.
UPDATE: Episode two of Numb3rs was much better, although still not as good as early season one; episode two of The West Wing was mediocre, although the presence of Janeane Garofalo made things at least a little more interesting. The problem seems to be getting any of the main characters together to have some sparkling dialogue, interaction, etc. Instead, we have familiar re-treads of the same situations, in the same way as we kept getting “Let Bartlett be Bartlett” every season during the Sorkin years.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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