Much like its characters, Person of Interest flew under the radar. I don’t care that the CBS show routinely attracted over 10 million live viewers; no one seemed to watch it.
Or maybe, perhaps in the age of prestige TV, the wrong people watched it. Most of these viewers were casual watchers who enjoyed tuning in for one episode here and there. The show began and ended with its time slot, with little discussion being furthered in the greater television community.
Which is a shame because Person of Interest (POI) demands to be talked about.
It’s a layered and intelligent series with an eerie relevance to our times. I desperately wanted people to know that, so I hopped from friend to friend to that random guy at the bar, hoping to convince someone to give it a chance.
I’d explain the show as concisely as I could. “After 9/11, a billionaire genius named Finch built a supercomputer called “The Machine” to spy on everyone and predict terrorist attacks, but since it also predicts smaller “irrelevant” crimes as well, Finch hires an ex CIA operative named Reese to help him act on the crimes The Machine predicts and stops them before they happen. They save a different person each episode that the government deems irrelevant.”
“Oh,” that guy at the bar said, “It’s a…procedural.”
Yes. POI can accurately be described as a crime procedural. It can also accurately be described as one of the best science-fiction shows in recent memory, I just hadn’t gotten to that part yet.
“But then, near the end of season two, you start to learn more about The Machine, and there is this psychopath named Root who is on a mission to set The Machine free from Finch’s control. And then ANOTHER machine, Samaritan, gets made, and the two supercomputers go to war with each other.”
“Oh,” that guy at the bar said, “I’d watch that. Can I just skip over some of the first two seasons?”
I get it. Person of Interest consists of over 100 44-minute episodes. That is a large amount of time to dedicate to one show. Back in 2016, in an attempt to get my friends to catch up before the final season aired, I went so far as to write out a guide of which episodes were absolutely necessary to get one caught up to season five.
The problem behind skipping most of the first two seasons, or the promise that “it gets really good if you just stick with it,” is the implication that the episodes dealing with cases of the week are “fillers” and therefore aren’t as important or relevant as the show’s serialized episodes.
I was guilty of this mindset myself until I watched the finale and heard the show’s final message.
By the time the fifth and final season of POI ends, the plot has taken us through storylines exploring the worrying implications of uncontrolled artificial intelligence. Samaritan (the “bad” computer) is attempting to run the world in the way it deems right, disposing of anyone who is irrelevant to that goal, and our heroes and The Machine (the “good” computer) are trying to stop it from gaining control of humanity. Both machines have become characters in their own right, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for being so taken in by their story that they forget what the show is actually about – people.
The idea that the show is about people; about individuals with lives, dreams, and flaws, is easy to forget when we focus so closely on the serialized plot and the fate of the world.
In the pilot episode, Finch enlisted Reese’s help to save the people The Machine predicted would be in trouble. This was their purpose. As the show forged a grander path in Season 3, they obtained a grander purpose as well. This made for more compelling and thought-provoking television, and in my original viewing of the series, I was looking forward to the day that they’d leave the cases of the week behind.
They never did, and it defines the message of the show.
At the climax of the finale, Reese has an exchange with Finch where it seems as though he is speaking directly to everyone who finds the first two seasons of this show a bit of a slog to get through.
“I’ve been trying to save the world for so long, saving one life at a time seemed a bit anti-climactic. Then I realized, sometimes one life, if it’s the right life, it’s enough.”
Even while saving the world – one life matters.
This is something the finale doesn’t let you forget about, as mere moments after Reese’s words, The Machine recalls a lesson it learned from a police officer who said that “Everyone dies alone, but if you mean something to someone, if you helped someone, or loved someone if even a single person remembers you, then maybe you never really die at all.”
And so, at the climax of the series, when we are so focused on whether or not Samaritan will finally be defeated, The Machine takes a lesson from one of those “irrelevant” people that were so heavily focused on in the beginning of the series. “I know I’ve made some mistakes, many mistakes,” The Machine says, “but we helped some people, didn’t we?”
Every single case of the week episode contributed to this moment. Those first two seasons, which included week after week after week of Reese and Finch saving random people on the streets of New York, mattered. The final lesson here, that we can continue living on through helping others, would be empty if it weren’t for all those “filler” episodes.
As I said before, I get it. It’s a lot of television to get through. Yes, you can successfully understand the plot of the show by watching the most serialized episodes, but skipping the procedural elements of the series will lessen the impact of this final lesson.
I find a certain irony that the episodes we most highly recommend are the serialized pieces that mostly sideline saving an individual. It feels like an almost Samaritan way to watch the show, where we dispose of the irrelevance to arrive at the goal more quickly. Without those first two seasons, and without those procedural episodes, POI is about the birth of artificial superintelligences and a fight for a faceless humanity, because like so many other ambitious sci-fi tales before it, the little people would have gotten left behind.
But POI doesn’t leave them behind. It never forgets that the world is only worth fighting for because of the individual people who live in it, and that long after the battle is won, we should continue helping anyone we can.
That message only carries the weight it does because of those first two seasons. The case of the week “filler” episodes are the backbone of the show’s final message.
I started this piece mentioning that despite 10 million viewers tuning in for the show, the “right” people didn’t watch it, and therefore the series doesn’t rank amongst the more popular peak TV titles. That statement isn’t quite fair, just as discounting the procedural elements of POI isn’t fair.
Every person matters, and every person who watched or was touched by this show matters as well. POI will likely never achieve the recognition it deserves in our current landscape, but perhaps, just as “[one life is enough],” knowing that it touched so many people can be enough, too.
6 Sexy Shows to Watch for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day can be celebrated in all sorts of different ways.
Some people bake cookies, others go out for a romantic date, while some do a fun activity with their significant other.
However, this is the first Valentine’s Day under COVID-19 restrictions, which means that you likely don’t have as many fun and romance-filled options as in years prior.
That’s where TV comes in! Regardless if you’re spending February 14 with a significant other or your besties, these are some of the sexiest and steamiest shows to watch on the day that’s all about celebrating L-O-V-E (for friends, family, significant others, and, most importantly, yourself!)
Romance, scandal, drama… Bridgerton has it all! Dubbed the Regency-era Gossip Girl, Netflix’s smash hit and most-watched series is a brilliant and entertaining period piece with enough sex scenes to make you blush. And Regé-Jean Page isn’t bad on the eyes.
Emily in Paris
Emily in Paris, which was just surprisingly nominated for a Golden Globe, hails from Sex and the City creator Darren Star. It’s an airy flick about a millennial named Emily who travels to Paris for a dream job and becomes enamored with the City of Love and the men that want to show her all that it has to offer.
Falling in love requires you to be open, honest, and vulnerable. The American rom-com anthology web series, based on a weekly column published by the New York Times, explores themes of love (romantic, platonic, friendly) with a star-studded cast. The 30-minute episodes are standalone and easily digestible, which makes them the perfect viewing on a night like Valentine’s Day.
What happens when Liza, a 40-year-old single mom, decides to be 26-years old in order to re-enter the working world and falls in love with not one but two very different men? An exciting journey through the world of publishing and heartbreak. As Liza tries to find herself, she does everything in her power to hide her true self from those she’s become most intimate with. It’s another whip-smart Darren Star creation!
Two sisters, Beth and Annie, along with best friend Ruby find themselves embroiled in a dangerous life of crime after robbing a grocery store. Beth, specifically, falls victim to a crime of passion with one sexy “gang friend” that pulls her further and further into his world.
If Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars had a baby, it would be this Spanish-language drama. A private school becomes the scene of a murder after a clash between the rich and poor students. There’s plenty of sexual tension and unexpected turns as detectives try to narrow down the list of suspects.
** Article originally published in February 2021**
Is Bruce Greenwood Leaving ‘The Resident’?
After The Resident Season 6 Episode 9, many fans have been wondering if Bruce Greenwood, who plays Dr. Randolph Bell, is exiting the FOX medical drama.
While there has been no official word about a potential exit, it’s a fair question to ask considering the nature of his most recent storyline.
In the latest episode—which aired on November 29—Bell, who found himself as the target of Governor Betz’s smear campaign, finally admitted to himself, and to his wife, Dr. Kitt Voss, that his MS is progressing.
After Bell exposed Betz’s corruption while trying to secure funding for Chastain, Betz decided that the only way to teach him a lesson and make an example out of him was through revenge. Betz ordered a hit piece on Bell that painted him as a dangerous doctor to Chastain, which, in turn, tainted the hospital’s image.
Of course, while some parts of it were true at one point in Bell’s career, it was largely exaggerated and sensationalized to paint him in a bad light, and it didn’t take into account all the work Bell has done to become a better man and doctor.
The stress of all the negative press caused Bell’s MS to flare up, triggering a variety of symptoms like a high-pitched ringing in his ears, seeing double, and dizziness, which made him realize that he was pushing off the inevitable.
This time around, instead of operating when he shouldn’t, he acknowledged that he no longer felt confident in his abilities, nor did he trust himself to perform any future surgeries. When he told Kit that he needed to go back to the clinical trial, it was a shock, but ultimately, she was supportive because she knew that’s what he needed.
But what now? How will The Resident keep incorporating Bell’s character into the storyline? Will we just see him communicating with Kit from the trial in the same way we did earlier this season? Or will he slowly get phased out and written off?
The trial could prove to be successful again, and all of Bell’s worries could have been for nothing. After he prioritizes his health and the whole thing with Betz blows over, it’s possible we could see Bell return to surgery for many more years—back to his previous glory.
Losing Greenwood would be a huge blow to the series, especially since he’s been part of the series since its inception, however, it remains unclear which direction The Resident will go with this storyline.
Hopefully, we’ll find out in the upcoming season 6 finale, which is set to air on December 6, but as of right now, there’s no indication that Greenwood is exiting the drama.
Madelaine Petsch’s ‘Hotel for the Holidays’ Is a Gem Among Cliché Films
There are a lot of Christmas movies out there, which is why it’s important to make the right choice this holiday season. After all, no one has the time to waste over two+ hours on a bad movie.
At the top of your list should be Hotel for the Holidays, a rom-com that offers a refreshing take on a festive genre that oftentimes lacks creativity simply because the forces behind the scenes know it will make money regardless as everyone longs for a slice of familiarity and comfort around the holidays.
There’s plenty of Christmas magic (it must’ve slipped through the cracks) in Hotel for the Holidays, and it sneaks up on you—and Madelaine Petsch’s character, Georgia—in the best possible way. It’s Amazon Freevee’s first original holiday flick, and hopefully, not the last.
The plot is rather simple on the surface, but it isn’t predictable as with other holiday rom-coms.
Here’s the gist: Georgia is a young and ambitious hotel manager at the historic Hotel Fontaine (it gives The Plaza Hotel vibes from Home Alone 2), which attracts an eclectic bunch of guests, including some heartbroken singles, an infamous popstar, a European ex-prince looking for a taste of the real world, and more. They all arrive in New York City for the holidays looking for an escape from the norm, and Georgia is determined to give it to them. However, she also has her own plans and goals that get her into a bit of a love triangle with the hotel’s chef, Luke (Mesa Massoud from the live-action Aladdin), and the ex-prince, Raymond (Max Lloyd Jones from Book of Boba Fett). It also stars Kayleigh Shikanai (American Gods) as Pandora, Jami Belushi (According to Jim) as Kiki, Neil Crone (It) as Milton, and Jayne Eastwood (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) as Florence.
Pretty early into the film, it’s obvious how Georgia’s romantic life will resolve itself, which allows the film to dig into other captivating subplots that are positively unexpected. Unlike other holiday films, Georgia values herself beyond a romantic partner, which, right off the bat, is a breath of fresh air.
The supporting cast plays an integral part in the film, right down to the chef’s best friend/fellow chef and the janitorial staff. They may not be the sole focus of the series, but the team behind the rom-com found a way to involve them in a way that’s natural and easy to keep up with. Pretty soon, you find yourself rooting for the happiness of everyone at Hotel Fontaine—the staff and the guests.
The acting is also great. It’s just the right amount of feel-good so it never feels forced, nor do the character’s choices seem questionable. It’s all believable within the world they’ve created, aside from the scene where they are dining on a rooftop in the dead of a New York City winter without jackets or even sweaters. How are they not cold? As for the few over-the-top performances and characters, well, they also work—the prince’s bodyguard (AJ Zoldy) is a delight.
If I’m being perfectly honest, the magical thing about the film is that it’s a love letter to the community of people you surround yourself with: your found family.
The film doesn’t just settle for telling a story about two people who finally admit that they love each other because that’s tired and expected. Instead, it recognizes that romance comes in all shapes and sizes—in romantic partners, in co-workers, in friends, and even in new acquaintances that pass through your life for a brief moment (or stay awhile).
The storylines come together seamlessly, and the themes of belonging and acceptance—in addition to staying true to yourself, finding the inspiration to pursue your goals and ambitions, and acknowledging that it’s ok to move and find happiness on your own terms, even if it doesn’t always please everyone—help the film stand out among the other cliche seasonal offerings.
Most importantly, Petsch shines… and it’s so deserved. The film allows her to show off her range of acting chops that, sadly, get stifled on Riverdale. The CW series may have been her mainstream big break, but it stopped working in her favor a long time ago, so it’s exciting to see her take on new projects and characters.
Of all the Christmas films that I’ve seen in 2022 thus far, Hotel for the Holidays is one of the best.
Check it out for yourself when it premieres on Dec. 2 on Amazon’s Freevee.
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