CBS'S SCORPION Brings a New Meaning to the Word, "Geniuses"
CBS Broadcasting Inc. – “America’s most watched network” – has provided entertainment for countries around the world through radio and television since 1927. The television network, in the past, has produced various, award-winning comedies, such as The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. Furthermore, CBS is known for long-running procedural television shows like NCIS, Person of Interest and The Mentalist. </SCORPION> (2014), created by Nick Santora – writer of Prison Break (2005), raises the bar for CBS and has become the network’s third leading freshman series for the 2014-2015 television season, averaging approximately two million viewers per episode.
The goal for many screenwriters is to create a show that is written well and targets more than one specific audience. However, not every television show is capable of satisfying more than one target audience. The Vampire Diaries (2009), for example, is the CW’s second most popular show (source: TV.com). While The Vampire Diaries targets a large audience of young women between 18 and 25 because of its erotic element of romance, the show does not appeal to many male viewers in spite of the action and suspense in which the show offers. According to SpoilerTV.com, The Vampire Diaries’s most recent airing had an average of 800,000 American viewers – not even a million viewers in the US. Granted, the CW is not as popular as CBS, but the average viewership rating of </SCORPION> with multiple target audiences as opposed to one of CW’s leading shows that has a narrow target audience provides perspective as to why it’s important to attract as many target audiences as possible and still make the writing of the television series believable. Because </SCORPION> has a healthy combination of intellect, action, suspense, romance and humor, the new-hit series is able to attract a wider audience.
Inspired by the life of Walter O’Brien, one of the top five smartest people ever recorded, </SCORPION> explores the life of a genius with an IQ of 197 (much higher than Einstein’s 160) and his team as they encounter unique cases that challenge their mentally enabled minds to go beyond their limits.
One of the reasons I love </SCORPION> has a lot to do with the program’s strong focus on family; the members of Scorpion are not just a team of people who work together to solve the world’s hardest crimes. They are also a family – a cyclone of scorpions who would do anything and everything to protect all of its members. Since mentally enabled minds have hard times connecting with “normals,” Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) – the show’s main character – first and foremost established Scorpion in order to give his friends, Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham) and Tobias “Toby” Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas) a place to call home. Above anything else, Scorpion is a fortress – a safe haven – for geniuses to thrive and meet their full potential.
From Callan, Ireland, Walter O’Brien – the leader of Scorpion – is probably one of the most interesting characters in all of TV history. With an IQ of 197, Walter has never been able to successfully socially engage with “normals,” yet, he has a strong desire to use his intelligence for the greater good. When Walter was young, he was caught hacking into NASA by the FBI and was escorted to the local FBI office in Ireland for questioning. When Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick) realized that Walter was nothing more than a curious boy who only wanted blueprints of his favorite rocket for his bedroom wall, he brought Walter back to his family and frequently contacted him so he could use his intelligence to help with certain American projects. At the age of sixteen, Walter had a falling out with Cabe due to an unfortunate mishap during the War on Terror and ceased all contact with the agent, only to be recruited for a national emergency fifteen years later.
Present day Walter O’Brien has moved to Los Angeles and fixes wireless routers for a living – hardly the breadth of his ability. In the Pilot, Walter’s social awkwardness is immediately revealed to viewers when he is seen breaking up with his girlfriend on the job on fixing a diner’s wireless in order to be “more efficient.” While he is fixing the wireless, Walter spots a young boy playing with sugar packets, salt and pepper shakers and other condiments as he quietly waits for his mother to finish her shift. After observing the boy’s lack of social behavior, Walter takes a special interest in Ralph (Riley B. Smith) and tells Ralph’s mother, Paige Dineen (Katharine McPhee) to help her son before leaving the diner without an explanation.
When he returns home to the garage, he finds Happy stealing electricity since the bills haven’t been paid and Sylvester writing various algorithms on his chalkboard. Toby is nowhere to be found.
Twenty-seven year old Happy Quinn, the team’s toughest member, is Scorpion’s mechanical prodigy. For the most part, Happy is hardly ever happy and likes to smash things whenever she’s torqued off. However, as the series continues, her character opens up more, and she is beginning to smile more often. Compared to the “Pilot,” Happy has come a long way in the most recent episode, “Forget Me Nots,” and I hope her character continues to develop even more.
Sylvester Dodd, age 22, is the youngest member of the team. Walter calls him the human calculator because he is able to mentally compute every single potentiality for each given scenario. He is also able to equate percentages in seconds and uses his math proficiency to help Walter with various algorithms. Next to Walter, Sylvester is the next best hacker on the team. While Walter has incredibly low Emotional Quotient (EQ), Sylvester has infinitely too much, giving him the ability to sympathize with others when the rest of Scorpion can’t. One of the most interesting character trait of Sylvester is his fear of everything; Scorpion is the only place he feels safe. As the series unfolds, with each episode, Sly – as the members of Scorpion often call him – encounters his fears and briefly overcomes them in order to help the team when they need him the most. Walter keeps Sylvester’s head on straight and helps him focus, making him a valuable asset on Scorpion.
Tobias "Toby" Curtis, 32 years old, is the team’s behaviorist and first enters the “Pilot” when he’s being chased down by members of a gang to whom he owes money. He is, perhaps, the strangest member of Scorpion but is the most resourceful because he uses his highly-observant skills to give other members of Scorpion a perspective on the human psyche. While Walter is best known for his authority issues; Happy, for her anger management problems; and Sylvester, for his anxiety, Toby has a reputation of being a condescending jerk. Despite his cynicism, Walter still considers Toby Curtis an asset to Scorpion. By far, Toby provides the most humor in </SCORPION> with his smart-alack one-liners, and Eddie Kaye Thomas does an excellent portraying Toby’s character. The amount of humor Toby contributes to the program balances out the intensity of the show, relieving the audience from the show’s heavy-duty intellectual and physical action.
Agent Cabe Gallo is the team’s handler; he joins Homeland Security and moves his office to the LA branch in order to keep tabs on Walter O’Brien. Because the software of LAX was bugged with a nasty virus, disabling all communications between planes and the LAX command center, Cabe sought out Walter O’Brien and his team, needing their expertise to save hundreds of lives. Walter, at first, is reluctant to help Cabe due to his past history with the man, but he agrees to help for the sake of saving people. While Cabe promised that Scorpion’s help would be a one-time deal, he had much more in store for the members of the team, knowing that the bad guys were getting smarter. Walter was able to predict Cabe’s underlining desire to use Scorpion as an asset to the government and accepts Cabe’s offer because being able to help people again reminded Walter that he had a purpose in the world, and being government contractors would give his friends a purpose too.
Paige Dineen – the mother of Ralph – helps Team Scorpion in the “Pilot,” making Walter realize that she would be an important addition to the team. Walter realizes that he and his friends do not communicate well with “normals,” so he hires Paige to serve as a liaison between the geniuses and the rest of the world. During the “Pilot,” Paige discovers that her son, Ralph, is not challenged like she thought he was; in fact, he is the exact opposite. Walter explains to Paige that her son is using those diner condiments as substitutes for chess pieces. Both of them watch Ralph win chess against Sylvester, a grandmaster, in eight moves; for the first time, Paige’s eyes are open to just how special her son truly is. Walter stresses the importance of Paige needing to connect with Ralph while he is still young or else she will never be able to connect with her son. In Walter’s mind, everything has a solution; therefore, by hiring Paige, Walter not only can have someone help his team connect with “normals,” but he can help Paige connect with Ralph by translating the boy for her. It’s a win-win situation. Each episode is able to explore just how valuable Paige’s contribution to the team is as well as focuses on Walter’s unique ‘fatherly’ connection to her son, Ralph.
Nick Santora, and the rest of the program’s crew, does an amazing job in portraying strong character development and providing a television series that successfully attracts different target audiences; </SCORPION> is not a show you want to miss.
Season passes for the show can be purchased on Amazon and iTunes for a maximum of $34.99, and if you subscribe to CBS, you can watch all fifteen episodes of </SCORPION> online.
To view episode information, refer to the Informational Movie Database.
If you don’t think this review of the series is enough to convince you to try </SCORPION>, feel free to view the trailer below:
Do you watch CBS's "SCORPION"?
PRESS RELEASE FOR THE NEXT EPISODE 1x16 “Love Boats” :
Press Release Title: Love Boat
Airs: February 9, 2015
TEAM SCORPION GOES UNDERCOVER ON A CRUISE SHIP TO LOCATE AND DISABLE DEADLY STOLEN ROCKETS, ON “SCORPION,” MONDAY, FEB. 9
"My name is Walter O’Brien. I have the fourth highest IQ ever recorded, 197. Einstein’s was 160. When I was eleven the FBI arrested me for hacking NASA to get their blueprints for my bedroom wall. Now I run a team of geniuses tackling worldwide threats only we can solve. Toby's our behaviorist; Sylvester's a human calculator and Happy, a mechanical prodigy. Agent Cabe Gallo's our government handler, and Paige? Well, Paige isn't like us. She's normal. [...] Together, we are Scorpion."— Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel)