Dear CBS, Renew Intelligence

TO: The Powers That Be at CBS
From: A 40 something woman with some disposable income
RE: Intelligence (Monday Night’s 10pm EDT)

'Meghan Ory, Josh Holloway & Marg Helgenberger' photo (c) 2013, Gage Skidmore - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Dear CBS:

It’s March, and already talk is swarming about what TV shows will be renewed for next season. It’s a little early, but ok, I’ll to add my two cents.

I have to be honest, I’m not a reality TV person. In my opinion Reality TV brings out the shallow and petty side of humanity. I’m not much for horror or cat fights either. I like intelligent sitcoms (Good call on locking in the Big Bang Theory for 3 more years). Mostly, I tend to stick with dramas. I know they are fiction, products of someone’s imagination and usually, they wrestle with topics larger than what designer someone is wearing. I like action. I live what is more or less a quiet life, but like the mother in the comic strip Rose is Rose, deep inside is an inner warrior just dying to get out and save the world.

I love characters like NCIS’s Ziva David, Criminal Minds’ Jennifer Jareau and NCIS: LA’s Kensi Bly. Intelligence’s Riley Neal and Lillian Strand, are also women who can hold their own in a man’s world without sacrificing the emotional intelligence that women bring to a situation. Although occasionally I am left to wonder about Lillian’s “softer” side.

As soon as I started seeing the promos for Intelligence, I set a note in my calendar to set the DVR. Marg Helgenburger’s voice, powerful and commanding, bade me tune in. I love my Tivo® and typically I record a show and watch it at my leisure. With Intelligence, I’m impatient and find myself watching it live. I can assure you this is a rare occurrence.

The casting on Intelligence is awesome. Josh Holloway is certainly easy on the eyes, as is Michael Rady. Megan Orly and Marg Helgenberger are a treat to watch as they come at keeping Gabriel safe from two similar by different perspectives. P.J.Byrne’s character Nelson makes me giggle (I’m a fellow Eagle) and I love John Billingsly.

'P. J. Byrne' photo (c) 2012, Gage Skidmore - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Nelson: “You built a stun bomb?”

Cassidy: Long technical explanation

Nelson: “You built a stun bomb.”

Cassidy: “Hee, you bet your ass I did.”

The ideas are interesting, but I’ll be honest, I’d like a little more intellect and a little less boom (only a little).  I loved the Athens episode. It was wild to watch Josh Holloway play a completely different character. The idea of Man vs. Machine is one for the ages. Our recent society has made such huge technological gains. We accept this as status quo and only a small minority stops to question “Hey, is this really where we want to go?” and usually long after we’ve “gone” there.

The writing is off to a strong start, but the team clearly needs time to gel. It’s like when you make a soup, you pull together the best ingredients, fresh vegetables, quality meat, homemade stock and fresh spices. You chop and dice, mix everything together in the pot, and heat it up. But, by far the most important step is giving the flavor’s time to blend.

The cast is great, the story ideas are great, but the execution has the occasional bump. The’ve got the technology nailed, but they need time to smoothly work the characterizations into the drama. Right now, it sometimes feels forced and at times unwatchable. For example, Nelson’s plea “Please don’t let them die too” in Patient Zero made me cringe. But, earlier in the same episode I loved his hissed line “She’s a Disney villain!”. The exchange between Riley and Gabriel when she tackles him at LuAnne’s house was brilliant.

I really enjoy the live Tweet sessions with the cast, writers and EP, Michael Seitzman. It’s fun to really feel connected to the show and the behind the scenes info is interesting. They are great about fielding questions and that adds to the feeling of connectedness. I imagine as the show gets bigger (and it will), some of that will drop off, but that’s a trade I’m willing to make.

Intelligence is off to a great start and it is clear that the cast and crew are all invested in the show’s success. We as an audience need time to gain some depth on these characters and the writer’s need time to smooth over the bumps.

PLEASE, there is so much to explore here, give it a chance to mature and come into it’s own. Bring Intelligence back for the 2014-2-15 Season.

Haven’t seen Intelligence? Check it out online at www.cbs.com/shows/intelligence. Part 1 of the two-part season finale will air Monday March 24th. Come on CBS, don’t make it the series finale.

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