drawnonwords - A Writers Tale

My own views, posts, musings, stories and the odd picture for all to enjoy and let others know.

Category: television

Person of Interest

Are we watching?

Hello Dear Readers

This blog does contain some spoilers regarding a television series so be warned.

Person of Interest is one of those television series that comes along every so often that just hits the marks. The basic premise of the program is about one man who appears to be fighting against the machine with a machine. Now that is not a concept that is new to television. Many series, mainly sci-fi, have used this idea. It lends itself well.  This series has a slight difference.  The man in question is called Harold Finch and he is not your typical hero as he has no genuine physical skills. He is the mastermind, the brains behind the scenes, yet Harold puts himself in danger.

Spoilers from now on.

Person of Interest is a very clever, well written action show with a huge set of twists. It has such a real feel to it, which gives the show that unnerving element. Here in the UK we have seen the first three series so far. The basic premise is that a man, Harold Finch,  has created a Machine, which watches over everyone and gathers data. It’s function is to collect data on terrorists organisations, those who present an issue for the Government. In collecting that data, it see’s everything from the small to the large. Naturally the Government cares little for the small. They ignore it but the creator does not. So Harold Finch decides he has to do something but what? He teaches the Machine. He builds a ‘back-door’ allowing the Machine to give Finch a number. That is the curious part, it is just a number. No clue about what they have done, going to do or more importantly who might be waiting for them. Victim or foe, Harold has no clue.

The first season opens with a man on a train. He just looks wrong, unclean, unshaven, down and out. You think he is about to be set upon by some thugs. You quickly realise that this man has something about him as he quickly takes down all the thugs. It is a very one-sided combat. The man, known as John (Mr Reese), becomes the interest of the police and Finch. The police can’t hold John as he has no information and you do find out why. John Reese is a former CIA agent, presumed dead after the death of his girlfriend. Finch is a billionaire software designer who is as mysterious as Reese. In some respects I would liken the two to the ‘Odd Couple’. Poles apart in some many ways but drawn together by Finch.

I won’t go into details about each series you can read that here on Wikipedia Person of Interest. There are big spoilers there so be warned.

What drew me to this series was its idea. It is classed as sci-fi even though it is set in current times. It works because taking real incidents, 9/11 for example and makes you think. With all the technology we have in the world could it be used in such a fashion? It also explores the multi-threads of corruption, dishonesty and oddly enough, hope.

The character of Finch, knows he can do nothing about the bigger picture, so he fights for the little person. Throughout the series, so far for me, we see the team expand from Finch and Reese, to include people who can be used, like a corrupt cop named Fusco. There are good people as well one of whom at the beginning tries to investigate Reese but ends up helping. Joss carter, who is a very strong female lead. This is another element of the show which makes it standout from others. The writers were not scared of pushing characters forward regardless of their gender, hence we get Joss Carter an NYPD cop, Root a ruthless assassin and one of my favourite characters Miss Shaw. Shaw is the female version of Reese, just as deadly, just as forceful and just as complex. There is one slight difference between the two, one which is allowed to be humorous, which is Shaw’s aversion to dressing like a woman. You get the impression that she hates dresses unlike Reese who just wears a suit like a second skin. There are some wonderful moments when Shaw shows her feelings for looking glamorous. She clearly hates it.

As with any show there has to be interaction between the cast members to make it work and you do see that. The main cast started with Michael Emerson as Harold Finch, Jim Caviezel as John Reese, Taraji P. Henson as Detective Joss Carter and Kevin Chapman as Detective Lionel Fusco. In the second series they are joined by Sarah Shahi as Sameen Shaw and Amy Acker as Root. Root did guest in the first series but became a regular from series 2. There is also one more character who has a non-speaking part which is Bear a Belgian Malinois dog rescued by Reese and guard for Finch. Together the cast really do make this show a one to watch. Of course without good stories they would be wasted talent.

The stories are well written, balanced in pace and action. Everything is laid out and yet completely hidden, I know that does not make sense but the clues are all there. There is much more than just the normal guardian angel type, good-cop bad-cop routine, which adds levels all over the place. The use of technology, flash-backs, hints of conversations and the tease of what might be happening all makes this a critical success. In series 4, which I have yet to see, one episode gained what has to be the ultimate in television, a 10 out of 10. Not from fans mind you but from the really hard to please people.

At some point, sadly or not, this series will finish. In America, rating make all the difference. Some series in my humble view should have finished long before they made it past episode 2. They were already ‘lost’, one might say.  There is the normal balance, do you go out at the top or just as it starts to become boring or when no one is watching but the harden fans? Some shows do seem to survive cast changes and all, like NCIS. Again, for me it’s down to cast, crew, writers and all to keep pushing the show and that fresh feel.

Person of Interest is a show I would recommend to watch and enjoy. It feels good, well written, beautifully crafted and flawlessly acted. For me a top 10 show.

As for my tagline, I can’t do any better than what Harold Finch says at the start of the show: “You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know, because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people; people like you. Crimes the government considered ‘irrelevant’. They wouldn’t act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You’ll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number’s up… we’ll find you”.

Picture this

Hello Dear Reader

I struggled this week to think clearly what to write about, a number of events have happened. Sometimes, there is a desire to want to write everything, warts and all. A certain sense often kicks in, call it common or fear or whatever, it changes what you want to discuss.

Having been around the interweb long enough to know that the old saying ‘walls have ears’ is true, so I decided to concentrate on a couple of things. One, which has already generated interest, was the new Bond trailer for the fourth coming film ‘Spectre’. There is a dark foreboding element to this trailer, gone are in the light-hearted in jokes. These last two Bond movies are much more in keeping with the novels in my view. They may well be influenced by other spy thrillers and franchises, but Bond is always Bond. One noticeable element of the trailer was the use of old theme music. It just added to the atmosphere. Of course, we now wait for the song.

There is one never-ending issue with films that run for such a time. Bond is 50 in film years. If he was going now he would be approaching his 70s. At some point there will be a call for a new Bond but who? Here, I have an issue. According to the books, the author, the man who created the character, Bond is remarked to resemble the American singer-songwriter Hoagy Carmichael (below), except with a “cruel mouth” and a “coldness in the eyes”.  There are various descriptions of him in different books. Some people wish to see the character played by someone who is not what the author wrote. So who is right? For me, it is the author, set it in stone not to be changed. He can’t be female, he can’t be a 16 year old boy, he can’t be …

I don’t care what others say, it’s the author who made the character. The same goes for another beloved character, Doctor Who. Again this character has been set out 50 years or more as male. The Doctor or Professor as Ace often called him, is another icon who for me can’t be changed from male to female. Again, I don’t care what the current show runner wants or feels is right for him. He has no say in changing that fundamental element of the show. This is not about disliking female Timelords, it is about being true to what has already been created.

Some people just want change because they want to shake up the universe. Some shows can handle change and very well. I don’t often mention certain shows, however, soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street change their characters with ease. But they themselves never (and I don’t know this since I don’t watch them) change a man to woman or pick a new actor to play the same role. Now I know that is not always true as child characters do change but that is just growing up.

Why call this blog ‘Picture this’, because I want to make sure the right picture remains, for at least two well-known characters.

Tagline: “Bond is Bond, Who won’t change no matter what”

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