About a year ago I started watching the show Person of Interest. It had a great premise of the kind that I usually devour, some good characters, and began with some thought provoking questions of morality and ethics.
But, I just didn't like Reece. Which is kind of a problem, since he's, y'know, only the main character of the show.
I struggled to really put myself into his mindset and understand him. He didn’t intrigue me, he annoyed me. Now, theoretically, I should have loved him. He seems to be everything I enjoy in many characters: mysterious, effective, cryptic, scarred because of betrayal, lonely, good guy at heart who doesn't really have a reason to keep going or anything for which to fight.
But no matter how hard I tried - and I did try - I just couldn't really /like/ the guy.
It finally irritated me so much that I took a break from the show for a few months. Then, several weeks ago, needing a distraction during my intense push to finish my urban fantasy novel, I went back to watching it. And I figured out why he bothers me so much, and correspondingly, why I just can't like the show.
Reece lacks flair and charisma.
He delivers his lines with a deadpan expression that’s supposed to be amusing BUT ISN’T. He lacks the charisma to make the wryness funny.
He’s one-dimensional, sometimes two-dimensional. One knows there are other sides to him but he comes across as flat because the other dimensions are only vaguely hinted at in a very cloak and dagger mysterious way that is supposed to make one intrigued but made me want to fling something at the screen. Now, I think this might be a simple case of too much telling us that Reece has other sides and not enough showing us, but I'm not sure. I didn't stay around long enough to find out.
The actor doesn’t facially emote very well in this role and that is VITAL in acting. Now, I don't know this actor from anything else, and I'm NOT making comments on what kind of a person he is in real life, or bashing him in any way. I'm just stating that in this role, he wasn't great at facially emoting- at least from what I saw. If an actor doesn’t facially emote enough for people to
be able to read their expressions, it's hard to feel connected with their character.
Reece doesn't do a good job of manipulating or inspiring people yet the show portrays his methods as working in the real world. People
have to be //connected with// to be inspired or controlled. If he came up to me and told me I was in danger with the same cryptic, sounding-like-a-stalker comments about trusting him and following his lead that he's said to several other characters on the show, I'd either kick/punch him and run away or call the cops.
When you are
making what could come across as a creepy stalker comment about how you
know someone is in danger, the difference is in how you communicate it.
Make sure the other person thinks that it's because you are a secret superhero who wants to save them, not because you
have access to information that invades the other person's privacy.
There's not enough humor in the show.
The show has a great premise. But Finch
and Carter are really the only funny people on the show for the first several episodes- and Carter has comparatively few scenes during that
Voltaire said that a sense of humor is the only thing that keeps intelligent people from hanging themselves. Finch delivers this - it's hilarious to see him frustrating Reece's attempts to find out more about him. Carter's exasperation with not being able to find Reece or discover anything about him is plain amusing in a way that makes you feel sorry for her and instantly connect with her.
Reece occasionally smiles, but he often feels like a blank canvas. Humor is often found merely in the inflection of words. But his inflection is rather oddball, and not in an amusing way.
For example, the phrase: 'easier said than done.' At one point in episode six or seven there's a scene that goes like this:
Finch: 'You need to get her talking.'
Reece: 'Easier said than done.'
But instead of Reece saying: 'Easier SAID than DONE', his inflection is 'EAsier said than done'.
To use another example: several times Reece will tell someone, 'It's a long story' but his inflection is: 'IT'S a long story' as opposed to 'it's a LONG story'.
Like most people, I'm a busy person with a lot of irons in the fire. When I can be persuaded to give myself a break and use that time to sit down in front of a TV show; I expect to be entertained, amused, and given something about which to think. Otherwise, there's not much point in watching it in the first place. Reece consistently made me growl at the screen, roll my eyes, and want to smack him. Whiiiiiiich... isn't really conducive to relaxing.
So I dropped the show. There are dozens of other shows on my TBW list- and some that I'm currently watching- which give me an intriguing plot but also deliver humor,
charismatic characters, intensity, and thought provoking plots. I'd rather spend my time on them.
"But Arielle," you say, "you're just a very critical person. Maybe you're being too harsh on the show." It's entirely possible. This is, after all, just my personal evaluation. If you are curious about the show or think you want to try it, go ahead!
Disclaimer: I only watched the first third of the first season. It may well improve in later seasons, but for myself personally, there wasn't enough of interest in this show to keep pulling me past the slow and lame sections.