Monday, March 9, 2015

Pilot Review: CSI: Cyber

CSI: Cyber (CBS)
Premiered March 4 at 10pm

I started watching the original “CSI” in high school because it was the assigned weekly homework for a forensic science class I taught, one of the coolest offerings in my school system. I enjoyed it for the year or so that I watched it, but didn’t stick with it much past when I didn’t have to watch it anymore. It seems that brands like “Law and Order,” “NCIS,” and “CSI” are pretty much all that people are interested in watching these days, and so it stands to reason that there would be any number of new iterations. What’s strange about this one is that it doesn’t feel much like other CSI offerings, and the team is actually part of the FBI! That’s not necessarily problematic, but the main issue is that everything uttered on this show that is supposed to seem like a groundbreaking revelation or conclusion is actually pretty obvious and hardly intelligent. Focusing its first episode on criminals hacking into a baby monitor doesn’t feel nearly cutting edge enough, and that’s a disappointment since this could be a unique and energizing series. Instead, it’s completely ordinary and not enthralling. Patricia Arquette just won an Oscar for a role that she started filming before she got her last regular CBS gig, and now she’s taking a relatively basic and unimpressive part. James Van Der Beek was extremely entertaining as an exaggerated version of himself in “Apartment 23,” and now he’s reduced to an out-of-place military man whose action skills don’t fit the rest of his talents. I did not recognize – nor would I have expected to – Bow Wow, who is starring as a hacker forced to work for the good guys. This show is meant to be exciting and innovative, but everything about it screams standard.

How will it work as a series? Procedurals are procedurals, and that’s what CBS does best. This franchise is one of the most successful and longest running series that exists, with two ended series and the flagship having just wrapped its fifteenth season. With this tech angle, this show is sure to be full of possibilities and plotlines.
How long will it last? “Modest” and “okay” are words being used to describe this show’s performance. CBS has very high standards for its dramas, and you’d expect a spinoff like this to have an added boost from the start because of its original’s success. I don’t expect this to do very well, and a short first season should be all that we’ll see of this latest franchise offering.

Pilot grade: C¬-

No comments: