Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Murderous Ninja-Hobo Show! Or not...

So, because we were up late for baby-related reasons, the wifey and I checked out the first episode of a new show on TV1 - Person Of Interest

It started, promisingly enough, with the protagonist (ex-special forces/secret agent chappy haunted by the death of his True Love) getting harassed by young thugs on a train, and beating the crap out of them despite being nearly-passed-out drunk - sort of like an unarmed American Zatoichi with drunkenness instead of blindness. I was pretty stoked at the idea that I was going to be watching an hour of murderous ninja-hobo TV. That would, after all, be a fairly unique premise - or at least an interesting reimagining of the "Man With No Name" cowboy/samurai archetype for an almost-totally urbanised modern America.

The first warning sign came when he was at the cop-shop getting booked, and it turned out all the punks who'd been hassling him were there too. So he's not lethal, and in fact fights large groups of opponents without seriously injuring them? So we're in superhero-land? Ah well, this still might go somewhere interesting.

Except that after initially Refusing the Call, his first act was to book himself into a hotel, off his hobo beard, and change into fresh non-filthy clothes. This had the effect of instantly making him less interesting. The actor playing Non-murder Non-hobo actually has a pretty bland face when not bearded, and the lack of his distinctive hobo-plumage strips away the last shred of interest his appearance had.

My certainty that this is going the wrong way is finally confirmed when, as soon as he has "purpose", the main character's drinking problem disappears. Firstly, addictions Do Not Work Like That, and even assuming that his drinking was just supposed to be problematic rather than chronic, the show has just dodged another opportunity to add depth to their main character. Obviously his Dark Past is supposed to be enough. It's not even like your main character can't be plausibly lethal and an alcoholic.

Oh well. I suppose if I'm up late in future, Person Of Interest has a cute enough rest-of-the-premise (people using a backdoor into a pervasive government surveillance network to play superheroes) that I might watch it. But it's not the Murderous Ninjahobo Urban-Man-With-No-Name that I was promised*.

* Yes yes, I realise J. J. Abrams & Co. actually promised me nothing of the sort. I still hate it when something has an interesting first five minutes then has all of the points that would make it actually unique stripped out in the next ten.


  1. I'm trying to think of a film where the second half was better than the first.

  2. Seven Samurai? That first long segment with the kind-of-pathetic peasants going looking for some samurai to hire is noticeably less fun than the actual samurai-hiring, and the tactical planning/fighting/Toshiro Mifune being generally awesome in the second half...

  3. True. I'd argue that The Big Lebowski second half is AS good as the first half.