(Check out my website, www.seriesmonitor.com)
Of all the TV shows I watch, the show whose season appears to have flown by the fastest is definitely Person of Interest.
You don't have to look too far to realize there's very wide consensus among the growing fanbase for the show, that it's one of the best shows out there right now. Every episode receives unanimous 'Awesome' ratings in the weekly SpoilerTV 'What did you think of the episode' - last week's episode was voted just that by over 95% of people. That says a lot about the consistent, gripping, high quality television that the POI creative team provides us every week
The growing fanbase is also backed by the impressive growth in viewership year on year. Statistics on my website, www.seriesmonitor.com, show POI has increased its audience to an average of 14.47 million L+SD viewers, well up on last season's impressive 13.31 million viewers. Average ratings per episode for the two seasons are neck and neck, with this season edging ahead slightly with a 2.92 average, to last season's 2.87 average. POI is also making solid audience gains through the week, with audiences this season growing from the L+SD average stated earlier, to a L+7 average of a fraction over 18 million viewers - a 20% increase. That's a touch up on last season's 19% viewership gains through the week
Moving onto the season itself. It's been incredibly entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Every aspect of the show has been expertly refined and crafted to build on and be better than what was an excellent first season. Aspects such as production quality, writing, acting, scoring, graphic design, set design, and much more, have all noticeably improved this season, and they've done wonders for the show
It started with a new introduction clip, which sets the tone for how this season would differ from the last, by adding some words, and removing others. While it's a small alteration, what it shows is that the creative team want to keep changing things - a very well pronounced trait that the show has. Nothing is static, everything is prone to change. This season's clip is actually 10 seconds shorter than last season's, and it's been altered twice so far to reflect The Machine's processes. You know you're in for something special when that introduction gets interrupted!
This season we've also seen some wonderful character development. Our two heroes have grown from pretty tense, distrustful beginnings, to two close friends who really care for each other. The beginning of this season saw Reese on a mission to rescue Finch from the hands of Root, while the midseason sees Finch doing everything he can to rescue Reese from the now dead FBI Agent Donnelly. The game has changed completely as of last episode with Finch clearly having something to hide
Also new this season is Carter and Fusco working together. They were in the dark about each other's involvement with Reese and Finch until the finale last season, but this season has seen the development of Carter and Fusco's relationship at a steady, yet entertaining pace. They are at the same stage in their relationship now, that Finch and Reese were at this time last season. Though Fusco is seeing less screen time (something I wish wasn't the case) he is Carter's only solid police based friend - everyone else either has an agenda or gets killed. How the pair of them will help Reese and Finch out of their current mess really is anybody's guess because they will have some sort of role to play
It's been fascinating to watch POI move away from a much more dominant procedural element that we saw in the first season, to, if anything, a slightly more dominant serial element in this season. By that I am referring to the usual 'numbers' this season furthering the overall storyline much more than they were last season. This shift in the basic makeup of the show has, in my opinion, been the absolute cornerstone to the success it's had this season. I know that is a pretty big claim considering the many other excellent elements that POI has, but let me explain my reasoning.
The most important component of POI is the incredibly extensive and detailed story which stretches more than 30 years back, but where the majority occurs in the 1 - 2 decades previous to the time right now. Its this story which gives all the main characters their background and personalities, and POI is far more reliant on the story to give these characters their personalities than most other shows, which tend to build from the pilot onward.
The key to advancing POI's story is to build on it, constantly. The story is what gets viewers hooked and obsessed with the show in the long term. However standard procedural format episodes can't do that with any significant degree of effectiveness because the very nature of an episode dedicated to a 'case of the week' doesn't allow for it. Therefore the creative team have actively changed how each episode interconnects with the one the week prior and the week after. With season 1, you could watch about 80% of the episodes in any given order, and the story - while still being built - wouldn't be affected significantly. This simply isn't the case this season. I'd hazard a guess that you could swap at most 10% of the episodes without damaging the story. What's more, POI has pulled the transition off without losing their traditional 'case of the week' like most other procedurals, but with the removal of some 'case of the week' episodes to focus on….. you guessed it - the main story. Thus, we end up at my original opinion that the move towards a serial format is the cornerstone for the success of the show this season
What else have I liked about this season??
Well the answer to that is pretty simple: lots of stuff
I'm extremely excited about the addition of Samantha Shaw to the cast. The flexibility of the character will allow the creative team to expand the main storyline further, while adding another variable to the procedural element in the 'case of the week'. I also detect some exciting chemistry between Shaw and Reese, which will come in handy when Reese and Finch need some female assistance, similar to that of which Zoe Morgan has provided
Speaking of Zoe Morgan, the recurring and potentially recurring characters have really added their own flair to POI. I've mentioned Morgan already, but Leon Tao has also been a great source of entertainment. On a more sinister side, the deceased trio of, Donnelly, Snow, and Stanton were the backbone of a gripping mid-season arc sensational, though I don't believe the latter two are done yet thanks to the beauty of flashbacks. There's also Root, Elias, Hersh, Penn 2, Greer, Simmons and Quinn, along with Grace waiting in the wings too. That’s a pretty substantial list of recurring cast members seeing all except for Grace would have featured in at least 5 episodes this season. Don't forget the cunning canine, Bear, too, who I think has been hilarious to watch. That is one smart yet menacing dog!
Of course, there would be no POI without The Machine, so let's talk about it briefly. It’s a standard tactic in mostly crime dramas these days to have a computer whiz who just presses a few keys, hacks into impenitrable systems and can type at 3260 words per minute, all of which saves hours and hours of arduous investigating. What is so ingenious about POI, however, is that the computer whiz comes in the form of a human, and the computer itself. The Machine is there. It provides the numbers, but nothing else - effectively rendering it useless to Finch and Reese, which is unconventional thinking considering its abilities. While Finch is a typical computer whiz like you'd find on a show with a computer whiz, Finch is many times more likeable and entertaining than his cousins on other shows. The remarkably casual, dry humoured attitude to hacking into the NSA, changing taxi logs, and cloning phones is what does it for me. The reaction from Reese, Carter, or Fusco makes things even funnier. Of course, then there's the marriage between Finch and The Machine, which makes the pair the center of the entire show - something no other computer whiz (or computer) on any other show has the advantage of being
What will happen on Thursday night really is anyone's guess. Like I said earlier, nothing is static, everything is prone to change. We were left with a pretty significant cliff-hanger last week - and that wasn't even the finale! So the events on Thursday will no doubt be bigger and better.
Like the finale, looking ahead to next season is also anyone's guess. I'm pretty certain of a few things however, though some are reasonably obvious. Shaw will be a full time addition to the cast. Elias will somehow get out of prison. HR will either be demolished or rise to power (I can't decide which). It will be Finch's turn to be the target of law enforcement. Either Fusco or Carter will be seriously injured. Root will somehow become an ally (it just seems to make sense for some weird reason). And finally, The Machine will crash, and Finch will feel compelled to rebuild it
Thanks for reading my review of this season of Person of Interest! It's been an absolutely incredible season. There is untold amounts of brilliant storytelling and theory-spinning to come next season. Thursday's finale will be an absolute cracker, and it will be a very, very long 5 month hiatus after that
Don't forget to check out Person of Interest on my website, www.seriesmonitor.com/personofinterest. Share your thoughts on what you think lies ahead in the finale and next season in the comments below, and follow me on Twitter below!
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Enjoy the finale!