While I love the whole ensemble concept in series these days I’m concerned that at some point it will seem to standard to work. That hasn’t happened yet but it could easily become that way with the number of shows working that formula. That being said at the moment I’m still happy with several series in that mode and this is one of them.
Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) is an eccentric genius, devoid of emotion but able to think things through faster and in more depth than any normal person. His current line of work is solving problems for people with a team of other genius outcasts like himself. The team includes Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas), a brilliant psychiatric specialist who is a behaviorist but with a gambling addiction he’s in the midst of conquering. Then there is Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), an engineering prodigy who also happens to have an anger issue she tends to solve with physical confrontation. Lastly in this group is Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham), a mathematical and computer whiz who has social skills problems. The team isn’t doing well when the show starts but their fortunes soon change.
That’s because into their life walks Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick) who works for Homeland Security. Gallo and Walter have a past together. It was Gallo who arrested Walter when he was a young child and had hacked NASA. He became a father figure to Walter helping him through those troubled times and keeping him out of prison. But something happened that brought about a rift in their relationship, something that works its way out before the end of season one. When the show begins though, Gallo walks into the team’s headquarters and offers them a job working as consultants for Homeland Security. It pays well, offers them a chance to work with great equipment and stay solvent, but Walter is hesitant.
The team votes and agrees to the job and each week following is called upon to stop some crime or catastrophic event from happening. The types of aid the team offers to Homeland Security more often than not involves some technical situation that require knowledge only their expertise can handle. These items range from communications being shut down on all airplanes in the Los Angeles area to the internet infrastructure being attacked with the intent of collapsing it to a mole within the CIA. Each week the team takes on a different task.
Another item it tossed into the mix which is the fact that this group of socially awkward geniuses have trouble relating to people out in the field. A chance encounter at the local diner where Walter has fixed the internet for the owner finds him discovering that a waitress there named Paige (Katherine McPhee) has a young son named Ralph (Riley B. Smith) who reminds Walter of himself at that age, a child genius misdiagnosed as having problems when the truth is he is brilliant. It doesn’t hurt that Walter just might also find himself attracted to Paige but having never been in touch with his emotions he’s not quite sure of what is going on. When the time comes to get someone to take on the liaison task, Walter gets Cabe to recruit Paige. The healthy jump in pay coupled with allowing her son to be around others like himself makes her acceptance of the job a no brainer.
With all of the characters in place and numerous reasons to save the world set in motion the series kicks off. Everyone should be happy, including the critics right? Well maybe not. Many found this show to over the top and unbelievable to accept. Moments seemed cartoonish to them. For those critics I say hogwash. The show was made not to be a blueprint on how to set up Homeland Security. It was made to have fun, to offer adventure coupled with brains instead of a team that just opens fire at the first sign of trouble.
The show harkens back to another well received series that the critics were never overly fond of either, MACGUYVER. That show lasted for some time and then went into movie of the week mode. It was a fan favorite. And SCORPION seems to be following in its footsteps with better than average ratings for a new series. Season two is already being filmed.
If you find that the elements mentioned in this review peek your interest, if you think that a show that has fun and heart is one that you might like to watch then I highly recommend this one. Not only do we get to see the development of characters from week to week, we get to see a group of people that have grown into a family of their own as well as grow accustomed to the newer members with each episode. And while they’re saving the world the odds are that something along the way will be new to you as well, a method used to save the world might teach you something too. With the wasteful number of shows on TV these days this becomes a good thing. Who knows, you might find yourself watching season two the day it begins airing after watching this one.