Mini-review: Intelligence 1×1 (CBS)

CBS's Intelligence

In the US: Mondays, 10pm/9pm CT, CBS

Ever since The Six Million Dollar Man, TV history has been littered with shows about ‘upgraded’ humans: The Bionic Woman, The Bionic Woman (again), Chuck, Jake 2.0, Northstar – the list goes on.

Fancy another one, this time starring Sawyer from Lost?

Here, since that “super strength” and “super speed” thing is so passé (and scientifically impossible – plus they’re doing it on Almost Human anyway), we have former Delta Force soldier Sawyer from Lost getting a chip implanted in his head that allows him to connect to computers wirelessly and access data, control them, etc, through a sort of sixth sense. He can even do virtual walkthroughs of crime scenes, in order to provide something more visually exciting than him just squinting a lot.

He’s also got issues to do with his wife, who may (or may not) be dead and/or have been a terrorist/CIA agent. Still, nobody’s perfect, hey?

Because this is airing on CBS, it’s vitally important that he have a slightly dull team backing him up, just like with NCIS, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Elementary, Unforgettable etc. This one’s run by Marg Red Head from CSI. She barks orders and sits on chairs in various combinations.

However, despite being ex-Delta Force, Sawyer from Lost is too reckless so Marg Red Head from CSI decides the show needs to be more like Eleventh Hour and give the US government’s most important asset – more important than the President, even – a protection detail with a grand total of one member of staff: Red Riding Hood from Once Upon A Time. Her job is to talk sassy, be duller than Marg and be both professional and sexy, without having any real chemistry with Sawyer from Lost. And to get shot and captured a lot.

To round off the members of the cast that have a personality is the obligatory CBS nerd – Doctor Alien from Star Trek: Enterprise, who’s the guy who came up with the chip idea in the first place.

This first episode is a bit of a damp squid, however, since rather than showing us just how awesome Sawyer from Lost and his chip is, it’s dedicated to showing us how awesome the Chinese are as spies and developing/stealing their own version of the chip. It’s also clear that the chip actually does give super speed and super strength, judging by how many bullets Sawyer from Lost can avoid simply by walking quickly.

It’s not without charms, and it’s a pleasant throwback to a simpler age. And although it’s very much a show that you need to switch your brain off to watch, surprisingly, given its set-up, you’ll actually find far stupider shows on television right now.

All the same, this is just another CBS procedural that fits the CBS procedural template with just one or two tweaks. You’re better off watching CBC’s Intelligence, instead.


  • 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.