Why Doesn’t Good SF TV Spawn More? Case in point, CBS’s Great Person Of Interest vs. Its Intelligence

I’m excited for the return of ” Person of Interest” Season 4 premieres Tuesday, Sept. 23 on CBS. I will not be missing the cancelled TV show Intelligence.

I was praising the show recently and i09 user Longsnake agreed.  “POI is probably the best show on TV, full stop. ” Agreed.  I wondered, how the hell did this make it to mainstream network TV? J.J. Abrams of course, but I wondered if any of the people who green lighted PoI figured out why it works and make more like it or if they learned the wrong lessons and make crappy copies? The answer: They make crappy copies, like: Intelligence. 

But why make crappy copies? To answer the question I used the power of my mind and my computer hacking skillz to find the answer.

Below is an inexact transcript of the pitch meeting for Intelligence that took place at CBS following the success of Person of Interest.* 

Guy pitching Intelligence: “It’s like Person of Interest meets Chuck. He’s a good looking Navy Seal who has the NSA database in his head. Actually the whole Internet is IN the head of  the hero. He works for a Government cyberspace agency nobody’s heard of and travels the world solving cases.  We show great special effects graphics only he can see, so we skip boring people sitting in front of computer screens typing stuff.  He’s military, but he’s reckless , so they assign a hot woman to “protect” him, but he doesn’t really need it, so there is lots of sexual tension. Plus, he has a dead wife. Or does he!?”

Studio exec: “I love it! We’ll MAKE IT! First, casting. We should use some leftover Lost and CSI people in it. One of those square jaw guys from Lost. I know that Marg what’s her face is free, she can be the ‘smart yet vulnerable female boss’ who has more balls than the men she works with. I’ll hand that part, you handle the rest.

Pitching Guy gets up to leave.

Wait! You need some comic relief like in PoI. Get some goofy nerdy SF characters, my agent knows that fat dumpy guy from Star Trek and says he’s good at technobabble.

Wait! Include family drama for backstories. Do some father and son or father and daughter things. Stay away from mother and daughter or mother and son things, men hate that, makes them feel weird especially if the female lead is a MILF, which Marg is. God she’s hot for her age. Sure Camryn Manheim brings weight to PoI but, HA! Weight! I meant gravity but I said weight, that’s so funny.  My point is family flashbacks sell to women so if the men have to watch them they should be hot women.

Wait! You are going to tie it to big political issues like PoI, right? Don’t be too controversial. There was a China hacking story on the news yesterday something about cyberwars. Use China, they will just pirate the shows anyway, screw ’em.  Hey, isn’t there some agency that fights cyberwars? They’ll let us use their sets, I mean buildings, we just need to run the scripts by them first to make sure they look great.

Wait! Is there a cute animal in the show? We can’t use a dog like in PoI, too obvious a rip off. Cats aren’t really a guy thing. A parrot? Ravens? Maybe a bionic monkey or something that was a test subject before human trials? Yes! That’s it! Or maybe we could use a dog after all. Everyone loves dogs.

CBS Exec: I see your special effects budget is huge, excellent! I want to see it all up on the screen. That’s what people will notice and remember.

You are new show runner, so who you get as writers is up to you, but remember, the cost for them comes out of  your end, not ours. Let me give you some advice. Don’t hire those hot shot movie or cable TV writers, they want to be all dark and subversive.  Get some novelist to do it, they work cheap and you can punch up their scripts later. Lots of unemployed writers out there will work cheap. Thank you reality TV!

In my opinion the PoI writers are getting paid way more than they should, luckily they haven’t  won any awards besides some bullshit ‘Peoples Choice” crap. An Emmy would go straight to their heads and there would be no controlling them.

Speaking of controlling them, if it wasn’t for that Snowden guy leaking proving what was going on were going to crush the whole, “The Government Really Does This Stuff” line a long time ago. As it is we tricked them into focusing on “Secret Military Contractors” as the bad guys in their next season. Our DC lobbyists say we shouldn’t be on Snowden’s side in anyway. It’s bad for our business.

The PoI writers were trying to push, ‘The Government can do the right thing, and people care about privacy” line and we sent them notes to tell ’em to stop. Eventually they went with some silly “secret Military contractor ” that makes tech that uses and controls intelligence plot. But, get this, they put a old white guy in charge! Idiots. They should totally have made him Iranian. At least they made him British.  As if British or military contractors have anything to do with US surveillance.

Oh, one more thing. Get more women to watch! PoI has great demos with women over 25, we don’t care about the olds watching, but the young ones are good. It’s totally because of  Jim Caviezel‘s looks, so get the tough guy’s shirt off in as many scenes as possible.

Pitcher: “I’m on it!”

Studio exec: “Why are you standing their looking at me? Go! Start making magic!”

-audio feed ends-

*Like Intelligence and PoI, all the above dialog is fictional. 

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