Saturday, 9 April 2016

TV shows you should watch: Person of Interest


First in my series of articles of TV shows everyone should watch is Jonathan Nolan's first foray into TV, namely Person of Interest. With a pedigree of scripting the Dark Knight trilogy on his CV and JJ Abrams backing him up, this show had a lot of promise. Now, as it nears its 5th and final season, it will almost certainly continue to be a tour de force in storytelling.

The premise is relevant to our time, in that it is built off the reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Harold Finch, a brilliant computer whizz, has developed a Machine that can assimilate all surveillance that the Government collects and use it to anticipate terrorist attacks before they happen. Except an unexpected ability kicks in. The Machine starts to anticipate pre-meditated violent crimes and provides hints to the potential victims and perpetrators. Finch, riddled with guilt or a sense of morality, can't ignore it and recruits washed up CIA operative John Reese, played with monolithic coolness by Jim Cavaziel, to help him stop the crimes before they happen.

At first, the show seems to be a standard procedural with a near sci-fi twist. Find out who the Machine has identified and save or stop them before it is too late.

Then, after a dozen episodes, it becomes clear that some characters who appeared to be one offs were actually pieces in a bigger game of chess. Organised criminal gangs, a group of corrupt police officers, vigilante groups and an ever lurking big bad become more prominent. Soon, stand alone episodes step aside for serialised arcs that are far richer experiences for the viewer.

Yes, it has plenty of action, dark humour, tragic twists but one thing that makes this show stands out is its allegoric warning of what the world is becoming, especially under the possibilities of an artificial intelligence that isn't too far from reality. If you like your action shows to be intelligent, this is the one for you. See if you can unravel the conspiracy hiding among the episodes. Trust me, when it is revealed, you realise they have been slapping you in the face with it for three seasons.

Person of Interest seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix as of posting.

Recommended watch: Give it ten episodes. Nolan played the long game with this show and so should you.

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