Kate's View on NUMB3RS

When Numb3rs first came out, I watched the first two seasons and then lost interest (I was in the middle of my master's, so that was a contributing factor). Recently, I was able to get the first two seasons from my local library. I watched them and thought, "I bet the show lasted about four seasons."

Imagine my surprise when I discovered it is still going on!

My reasoning was based on the weakness of the mysteries. Each episode went something like "problem, bad guy, Charlie's equation, capture, end of story" which is, to put it mildly, a tad plotless.

It is, however, enormously relaxing, so I went on to Season 3 which was much better than the first two in any case.

Part of what makes Season 3 better (and what made me doubt Seasons 1 and 2) is that the math makes more sense. Ah, yes, I'm an English person, so I need to clarify this: The use of the math makes more sense.

For example, in a Season 1 or 2 episode, the team is investigating home robberies. Charlie comes up with some complex equation that shows that although the families had nothing in common on the surface, they had an underlying commonality: voila! they all bought special riders for their antiques from the same company.

Okay, I've heard of riders. If I've heard of riders, surely someone at the FBI could have said, "Hey, maybe they all insured their antiques with special riders." You really need an equation to figure that out? I'm sorry, but that's just . . . silly.

(To be fair to Numb3rs, I think they know this; in Season 3, there's a scene where Charlie does a complex statistical analysis of petty thieves in L.A. to try to track down his dad's stolen laptop. Meanwhile, Don locates the laptop using its GPS chip. I would have preferred that Don find it just by asking the local cops. But at least the characters point out that Charlie's method would have taken several years.

And what is it with all this data that is ready-to-go as soon as Charlie needs it? Does anyone have any idea how time-consuming data entry is, especially when, as is likely, it isn't all categorized and cleaned up ahead of time?)

Okay, I'm done with the math rant.

Especially since, in Season 3, Charlie is doing more stuff like game theory and mapping out debris, and the use of the math makes a great deal more sense!

And there are other things I like about the show. For instance, I am fascinated by the Colby character which, frankly, really surprised me. Dylan Bruno, who looks like a younger/shorter Barry Van Dyke, is not at all my type: sun-bronzed, square-jawed, jock-like. But this is actually what fascinates me. Colby comes across as having this all-American-what-you-see-is-what-you-get persona, but there's this dark edge that keeps cropping up. And I like the Colby-David relationship which is surprisingly central to the show. (One thing I really like about the show is how flexible the producers are with their actors. I've never seen such flexible producers! I think at one point Peter MacNicol popped of to 24, Rob Morrow was making a movie, Diane Farr was having a baby . . . and the producers just worked around it all.)

By the way, the Larry Fleinhardt character is another thing I like, oh love, about the show, and I'm terribly relieved he is coming back after going into space in Season 2. Adorable, romantic, intelligent, and eccentric beats tough guy any day of the week (although David Boreanaz's portrayal of Booth earns him extra kudos for being idiosyncratic and adorable as well as tough. Still, Larry's hard to beat).

Finally, I truly like the FBI chase and capture scenes. In general, unless there are stick-shift cars or tanks involved, chase scenes can get really old really fast. But the chase and capture scenes in Numb3rs are carried out the way a team should carry out a chase and capture. The members radio in. They wait for back-up. Everybody does his or her part. The guys with the big anvils and whatnot go first. It's tidy; it's efficient. I never get tired of it.

Which doesn't mean I won't get tired of the show. But it's nice to discover, again, how relaxing the show can be.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I enjoyed watching Numb3rs for a number (ha ha) of seasons as well. I stopped watching it because it just got to the point where it was unrealistic. The FBI wouldn't constantly be consulting Charlie for all these cases and I felt the personal storylines were moving too slow.

I'm glad you revisited the first few seasons, because indeed those were very good!