Paramount discovered that we are all nerds here at the Nerd Mentality and thought that we might enjoy a show with characters more in line with our sensibilities, especially since it is based on a true story. Does Scorpion Season Two live up to our standards or does it need to go back and get more pocket protectors and tape for its glasses? Read on to find out.
It seems the show exists in the JAG, NCIS, and Hawaii Five-O universe due to crossovers with the characters. I think that is a pretty good indicator of what kind of show this is. You’ve heard of “monster of the week” shows? Well this is a “crisis of the week” show. Each episode starts with some type of major catastrophe just about to happen and our heroes get to deal with the ever escalating issue and personal relationships all to be tied up at the end of around 40 minutes.
Scorpion is about a genius that forms a team of super geniuses at the behest of Homeland Security. The main character is Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel, perhaps best known as Rakharo in Game of Thrones). The character is based on a real life “genius” Walter O’Brien who states that he has the 4th highest IQ ever recorded at 197. He also states that when he was young the FBI arrested him for hacking NASA. It is interesting to note that the real Walter O’Brien is credited as creator, executive producer and story contributor.
Walter is joined in his exploits by behaviorist Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas), the human calculator Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham), a mechanical prodigy Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), and a normal human Paige Dineen (Katharine McPhee) who helps them translate the regular world to them. Oh and the team also helps with her genius son Ralph. The cast is rounded out with Government Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick). Quite regularly in the show there will also be guest appearances that will make you go “oh yeah, that guy!” at the TV screen.
I know that people may say that it is unfair to pick apart a show when it should just be entertainment. However this is a show about geniuses and yet it contains very little smart writing. It’s like watching a thriller that has no twists in the plot or watching a kung-fu movie with no fight scenes. It’s like watching a show about the best mechanic in the world talking about blinker fluid (i.e. there is no such thing). Now, if you are the kind of person that knows things like that, then this television show will probably infuriate you.
This really makes sense once you delve into the background of the real “super genius” Walter O’Brien. None of his fantastical claims seem to have much merit, and certainly the “proof” is quite sketchy. According to the real life O’Brien, in an effort to promote his company, they came up with the idea to create a television show. So basically we have a 40 minute commercial each week for a charlatan.
I feel like this insults my intelligence as a viewer. Especially so once you do some research and learn background information. The real O’Brien didn’t keep the paperwork showing that he scored a 197 on his IQ test from primary school. Yep that’s right, I said primary school. I guess he is such a genius that he didn’t realize scores are scaled with age. What that means is a high score as a child doesn’t reflect his intelligence as an adult. O’Brien has not taken an official Mensa-approved test since. I wonder why? Oh by the way there is no evidence of a NASA hack and when O’Brien was asked about the details he claimed he signed a non-disclosure agreement. There has to be an arrest record though right? O’Brien states in his show that instead of going to jail he made a deal with Homeland Security agents, to expose flaws in computer security systems, apparently much like Frank Abagnale did for the banking industry. There is a slight problem with O’Brien’s story. He was born in 1975, yet Homeland Security was not formed until after the September 11th 2001 attacks in America. So unless time works differently where Mr. O’Brien lives it would be difficult to be caught hacking as a teenager by something that didn’t exist.
Therein lies the problem with Scorpion Season 2. The logical inconsistencies and gaps in reality kill any sense of interest to me. The characters are supposed to be geniuses yet they are written by people who do not understand such things, nor are they geniuses themselves. Scorpion is more of a superhero show where people do the impossible and hand wave the explanation away with pseudo techno-babble. It is strictly escapism. So if you just happen to love one of the lead actors or want to see another type of procedural show then this might be right up your alley. If you are hoping for a fictionalized MythBusters then you will be disappointed. It’s more A-Team and less actually about geniuses working in their fields and solving problems.
Audio and Visuals:
The audio for the show is dialogue heavy and is clear and what you would expect from a 2016 release. There are some action sequences and lively “hacking” music and for the most part this release is adequate for the shows needs.
Season One is available on Blu-ray but for some reason Scorpion Season Two is not. The quality of this release suffers because of that. If you want the show in a physical media format DVD seems to be the only way to do that at this point. The picture quality is obviously hindered but it is still decent for a DVD release. Explosions and car chase scenes are sprinkled throughout the show. Mostly however you are going to see nerds at work behind desks or sitting in cars and so the picture quality is adequate.
Six DVD set in regular plastic case with slip box
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
English 5.1 & English 2.0
English SDH Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles
Run Time – 17 hours, 5 minutes
There are quite a few special features on this DVD release of Scorpion season two and they are as follows:
Unlikely Heroes: Scorpion Season 2 (29:52) A look at the story arcs and situations from Season Two.
Creating Reality: Visual Effects (8:56) A behind the scenes look on some VFX sequences.
Geeky Gadgets (8:34) Interview with the prop master from the show.
Scorpion: The Comic Book (4:46) A brief look at the comic book release from IDW.
Location, Location, Location (11:23) An overview of the locations and sets from Season Two.
Audio Commentaries – for a couple episodes
Gag Reel (7:23)
Scorpion is very much so like the Big Bang Theory (the show) crossed over with an average procedural. In other words it isn’t very funny, it doesn’t depict real geniuses and it’s not all that interesting. It has a “been there, seen that” feel to it. It doesn’t really break new ground or do anything all that well. You may very well be entertained by it but I found that I lost interest in it quickly and it seemed like even by season two the writers had already run out of ideas on how to use the characters. I don’t think it is worth a blind buy. However, if you just happen to love one (or all) of the actors or if the description of the show interests you and you are not at all bothered by my perceived negatives then it is at least worth a rental. If you have already seen it and want to buy it I would advise either holding out for a Blu-ray release or waiting for this season to become heavily discounted.
If you want to torture yourself, you can buy Scorpion on Amazon here
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.