Batmans of Interest

I’m progressively working my way through the new fall season, and one of the most promising shows I saw advertised was Person of Interest. I blogged about Lost for MSNBC, and Michael Emerson is one of my favorite TV actors, so it caught my interest on that alone. Add JJ Abrams and the involvement of a Nolan, and it’s kind of hard

That “Nolan” influence is pretty important, because this show is basically about Batman. It’s in New York, and the hero doesn’t mind killing or using guns when necessary, but those differences aside it shares a lot of Bat-DNA. With a little bit of Minority Report thrown in for good measure.

I’m kind of okay with that.

This first episode set up a lot of the groundwork. Reese is a former government black ops agent of some sort, approached by Mr. Finch to stop crimes before they happen. This essentially splits the aspects of the Batman character in two: Reese serves as the highly-trained muscle, while Finch is the millionaire bankroller, and double-duty as an “Oracle” type of character. The system informs them of people likely to be involved in crimes, a nice shortcut so that Reese doesn’t have to skulk on rooftops waiting for them to happen.

They even have a crooked cop to serve the Harvey/Flass role, and a determined police chief to stand in for Gordon. If they introduce a chaotic supervillain by the end of this, it will cross the line into being too transparent. For now, it feels about right.

The scenes with Emerson are always the best. Something about his twitchy, bird-like demeanor is just so pitch-perfect. He gives a speech about midway through the episode explaining the system, and you could even draw some interesting statements about America’s war on terror from that part of the episode alone. Not to mention the constant surveillance that makes up the entire show.

This is one of those shows that has a strong premise, but it will take a few episodes to see if it pans out. For now, it has a great opportunity, and I hope they don’t waste it.

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