First Time Viewing: “CSI: Cyber”

It turns out that I’m a sucker for some pretty bad shows. I watch a lot of terrible stuff that TV has to offer, and usually enjoy it, as one should. However, there are some shows that should be avoided at all costs. If I’d only I’d taken that advice the moment I finished the first episode. The entire experience could’ve been avoided. But, I do it for you, so you know what to avoid or stop avoiding at the first opportunity.

The CBS Productions “CSI: Cyber”, is as lifeless and dull a procedural as I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something.

This drama series stars Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”, “Boardwalk Empire”), James Van Der Beek (“Power/Rangers (2015 Short)”, “Friends with Better Lives”), Shad Moss (“Entourage (2015)”, “Scary Movie 5 ”), Charley Koontz (“Community”, “Modern Family”), Hayley Kiyoko (upcoming “Jem and the Holograms”, “Insidious: Chapter 3”), and Peter MacNicol (“Star Wars Rebels”, “The Mindy Project”).

The series was created by Anthony E. Zucker (“CSI” franchise), Carol Mendelsohn (“CSI” franchise, “Providence”), Ann Donahue (“CSI” franchise, “Murder One”).

The series began airing on March 4, 2015. It is expected to return for season two on Oct. 4, 2015.

Where to start? That’s always the question with a new piece on anything. However, this time, I really don’t know how to begin as I shouldn’t have forced myself through this show in any way, shape, or form. I was initially drawn to this because of Arquette, especially since I watched her for years on “Medium” and then saw her in “Boyhood”; plus I’ve seen her plenty of other things to know she’s worth it. Here, sadly, that’s not the case at all. I’d heard some rumblings about what critics thought, and fortunately didn’t read them, but I should’ve taken their warnings seriously. Well, since I didn’t, on with all the negative thoughts I have towards this show. It is, after all, the only thing I have to offer.

For starters, as is apparently becoming the norm, there’s this terribly annoying voice over intro. It, like the majority of the other intros in shows, serves no purpose. Once you’ve seen the pilot, or the trailer, or TV spots, or even read anything on the show’s plot, (basically all the stuff that convinced you to watch in the first place), you know what to expect and don’t really need a constant reminder. Last I checked, the pilot was meant to sell you on the rest of the series anyway, which only makes the voice over bit more annoying.

This show’s voiceover is as follows:

“My name is Avery Ryan. I was a victim of cybercrime. Like you, I posted on social media, checked my bank balance online, even kept the confidential files of my psychological practice on my computer. Then I was hacked. And as a result, one of my patients was murdered. My investigation into her death led me to the F.B.I., where I joined a team of cyber experts to wage a war against a new breed of criminal hiding on the deep web, infiltrating our daily lives in ways never imagined. Faceless. Nameless. Lurking inside our devices. Just a keystroke away. It can happen to you…”

Yeah, this never gets old. I’m surprised I actually didn’t have it memorized by the time I typed it out. Looking aside from the fact that this is irritating, there’s the fact that the show mentions, more times than necessary, that years before she was hacked. Every other episode it seems has a moment that only serves to remind you of something you probably didn’t forget.

This show is a police procedural. I get that. I’m fine with that. However, it doesn’t offer anything new, especially when you look at the other “CSI” series’ that came before. Sadly, the situations for this show, even if they’re somewhat (I believe so) grounded in reality, just sound way too ridiculous. They’re almost at the extreme level of things, but come off only as farfetched. I will say this about the silly crimes committed on this show; some of them did come off as a bit entertaining and exciting. Mind you, that didn’t stop them from starting off, continuing as, and ending on an incredibly silly note.

I can say too, that if the shows next goal was to make me think twice about the way I use technology, or the way it’s used elsewhere, by individuals or corporations for whatever reasons, then it failed miserably. I’m no more aware than I was before of the dangers inherent with using technology in a lot facets of our lives. As with anything, there’s an upside, and a downside. You have no choice but to take one with the other.

Since the ridiculous case of the week isn’t really enough to keep me interested, maybe the characters will. Oh, wait, this piece is largely negative. I forgot. Can’t have happiness yet, if any. The characters (actors are okay), are not at all interesting. Nothing about them makes me give a damn. I also don’t believe that any actor in these roles could make the characters at all interesting. Yes each character has some sort of past or personal life, that either still haunts them or is part of their every day, but I couldn’t be moved to care. Van Der Beek’s divorced? and he has a kid he gets to see occasionally, Koontz has something probably having to do with hacking, Kiyoko and Moss were once black hats (which is also explained in the show) and now they work for the F.B.I., (not much else I can recall, and now that I think of it, they really don’t have much), and Arquette was hacked. God that was depressing to type out. I didn’t care nor could I remember fully, and I just finished this not long ago. I’m not sure if it’s more that these aren’t really unique life situations or if its because of the way they’re presented that makes me bored by them. It’s something.

With regards to Arquette, again the main reason I was watching at all, other than knowing she got hacked years ago and could lead a team, she never had anything that really made her likable. Sure I felt a tiny bit sad for her, that she was hacked and a patient was murdered, but that’s not a reason to care about her. That’s a single reason to feel bad for her. She spent the entire time seemingly closed off and not showing the slightest bit of a sign she even had a life. If it weren’t for the fact that an episode showed us the inside of her apartment (or house?) I would probably believe she lived in the F.B.I. headquarters she worked out of. An air mattress and a blanket is all she would’ve needed. I would’ve been fine not really knowing anything about her, I really would have. However, the writers had different plans.

The constantly reminding us she was hacked (like I appear to now be doing), had a purpose in the end. Of course it did. I spotted it the moment they mentioned it. Low and behold, the season finale rolls around. There it is again. She was hacked. It all comes about when another doctor is hacked and murdered and things at the crime scene start to look familiar. They came straight from Arquette’s office years ago. So, naturally, they begin to investigate and Arquette goes off on her own. In all this, we learn that she was once married, had a kid (kids dead), and we witness the bad guy get captured, or was it killed? Whatever. I really didn’t care to pay attention. Either way, everything was wrapped up in a nice little bow. She gets her allusive criminal (who also murdered her patient) and we finally get some insight into her character. Too little too late. By that point I really didn’t give a damn. I was over the show and was glad it was finishing. The only thing the season finale succeeded in doing was further irritate me, much like it’s doing now.

The show didn’t even have the buddy-buddy aspect. It didn’t exist, even though the writers constantly tried, with the group as a whole. This character approach didn’t exist between Moss and Koontz, or Koontz and Kiyoko, or Moss, Kiyoko, and Koontz, or anyone else, but it was mostly those three. Nowhere could a genuine feeling that these team members liked each other be found. I wanted to, and try as the writers did (quite valiantly I might add), I couldn’t buy into it. Without this component, half the reason to watch is gone. At least I have the relationships between the characters on “NCIS: New Orleans” to keep me entertained.

I feel like I’ve succeeded in sticking with the largely negative aspect I was aiming for. Time for one brief moment of happiness! I finished the season (as you no doubt guessed ages ago), which means I don’t have to watch another episode. Ever. More like I will never watch another. I discovered that either the writers wanted to really talk down to you, as if you knew nothing about technology and its dangers, or that the “CSI” franchise has always been this stupid and repetitive. I can’t even count how many times the writers felt it necessary to explain what malware is. They did this with so much other stuff too. It could also just be showing that there’s a reason I stopped watching this franchise. I think the last time I saw a “CSI” show was early in the run of “CSI: Miami”. I just couldn’t stand the original and stopped watching “CSI: Miami”, that I didn’t even bother with “CSI: NY”. Probably for a good reason too.

At the very least, I know now, that I can resume my life free of anything relating to “CSI”. I can also get back to hoping that this series will be cancelled after this season. With the mothership series ending in about two months, I doubt this new one will go anywhere, regardless of ratings. But hey! I can hope can’t I? Hoping for its cancellation gives me something to be happy about. Isn’t that all we want in life?


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