The new CBS cop-drama NUMB3RS is chock full of great actors (way too many to mention) and because of that it will be sad to see the show go… but go it must. I cannot conceive of any possible scenario in which it lasts on the airwaves. The premise is that the FBI guy (Rob Morrow) enlists the help of his math whiz brother (David Krumholtz)to solve serial crimes.
This show does have a lot going for it. As mentioned above, the cast is stellar. The premise is good. The special effects enhance the story without getting in the way. The script is smart. Heck, even the direction is pretty darn good. So why won’t it survive?
Well, how many times can you use the “there is a serial offender loose – lets run some numbers to locate him – we can’t find him – aha, we missed a variable – lets run some more numbers – bingo, we caught him” sequence before it wears thin? Uh, once. Okay, now lets suppose that that can come up with unique ways to rework that standard storyline sequence and keep it fresh for a season… what about the math?
It is great that they have created a show that doesn’t insult your intelligence with every premise. It is great that you can explain how complex mathematical formulas can seemingly remove the randomness of random events. It is great that the small percent of the viewing population with a brain will find it entertaining. But what about the majority of viewers? You are going to lose them either way. If you have to dumb it down and explain what you are doing each week, they will get bored. If you assume that after a few episodes they understand boolean logic and probabilty theory, they will get lost. Either way the show fails.
They show’s saving grace appears to be what differentiates if from all the other cop shows – the family angle. The return of Rob Morrow and Judd Hirsch (their father) to the screen will lend weight and real substance to that family story – but unless the show can crunch the Nielson numbers, it may end up in the “Brilliant But Cancelled” file.