Let me be blunt. I am not a fan of this show. It personally ranks among the worst TV shows currently on the air… And that’s saying a lot. There are plenty of contenders out there, but this one is such an insult to our collective intelligence you just want to walk up to everyone responsible and give them a swift kick in the crotch. Despite abysmal acting, completely unrealistic plots, and more ‘hacking’ than Hillary’s email servers, the fact it’s based on an apparent bullshit backstory makes it even more reprehensible.
Let’s start with the show’s creator who, by most accounts, is a self indulgent blowhard that appears to be just as phony as the bullshit portrayed on his TV show. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if he just pulled the idea for the made-up show out of his ass, pitched it to a network, and it made it to air. The thing about this show is that it’s supposed to based on the real life person (Walter O’Brien) and his company (Scorpion).
The real Walter O’Brien reminds me of his Alaskan Bullshit People counterpart, Billy Brown. None of his outrageous claims have been validated by anyone reputable. He claims he has a 197 IQ, but according to sources that has never been confirmed. He also claims he hacked into NASA at the age of 13, another story no one on the planet can verify as even being close to real. His ‘genius’ computer skills were put to the test at the 1993 International Olympiad in Informatics computer coding competition where he claims his team came in 90th out of 250. What a genius. But wait, it appears Ireland wasn’t even represented in that competition.
Here’s the company website from 2002. Yep, looks like a reputable company that the US government would rely on for their most important last line of defense missions! I’ll sleep better tonight.
CNET, Techdirt, and others have not been able to verify many of the claims both O’Brien and CBS have made regarding his accomplishments. Even his company revenues and number of employees has been subject to scrutiny. One interview article claimed O’Brien’s company had 2,600 employees and $1.3 billion in revenues, but in 2014 an anonymous editor on Credibility.com recorded Scorpion Computer Services as having 1 employee with annual revenue of $66,000
Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. I already came to mine judging by the awful stories and completely unrealistic plot points that are presented as drama ‘based on’ this person.
Let’s get on with our discussion of the show itself. From the first episode you could tell this show was going to be a laughably insulting piece of shit. They have to reboot the computer system at LAX using a backup that’s housed on every airplane in the air. WTF? WiFi fails, so they have to dangle an Ethernet cable from the bottom of a jet and fly it close enough to the ground so someone in a car can reach up and plug it in long enough to get the backup downloaded from the airplane’s drives. I swear to Christ this is the actual plot! I know, right. A car driving under an airplane just a few feet off the ground? I think the original title for this show should have been Super Dave Scorpion.
Y’know how you can tell you’re watching a poorly written show produced by people who have no friggin’ idea how computers and networks operate, let alone ‘hacking’? They are able to find ANY piece of information, I don’t care how minuscule and insignificant, by ‘hacking’ into a ‘mainframe’ that magically holds exactly what they are looking for. I’ve been in IT for almost 30 years and I’ve seen a lot, but I know damn good and well it takes longer than 3 seconds to hack into a multi-layer secured, infinitely encrypted government network. As soon as the writers write themselves into a corner, they conveniently have a way to get the information they need to advance the paper-thin plot forward.
Here’s a sample script for next week’s episode:
“Quick, we need a list of every plumber that bought 1/4 inch copper fittings in Cousinfuck, Arkansas on February 3rd and paid using a $2 bill and change from their car’s ash tray.”
“I’ll hack into the plumbing supply mainframe and <click><click>… Got it!”
Scorpion is supposed to be the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats around the globe. Let’s look at some of the stories they use to promote that narrative:
– They travel to Las Vegas to help a casino that is losing money on their high-roller blackjack tables. OK. I guess that whole North Korea long range missile test thing is nothing to worry about because the biggest threat to our security is a rigged blackjack game.
– A musical prodigy, who created a controversial algorithm that generates the perfect hit pop song, helps Scorpion investigate the murder of his friend who was a music industry blogger. Again, nothing going on internationally? Oh, and a guy that creates hit songs with a computer algorithm? What ‘genius’ is writing this shit? Oh yeah.
– After Scorpion’s helicopter crashes while on a mission to save lost hikers from a church group, the crash ignites a massive wildfire that quickly closes in on them due to the Santa Ana winds. Saving lost hikers? Wow, our last line of defense is doing the job the US Forest Service could be doing. Good thing there’s a 197 IQ on hand to track down a wayward church group. I hope the Church Lady is OK.
– Scorpion is hired by L.A.’s Natural History Museum to determine why an ancient pillar is rapidly decaying and must stay overnight during lockdown to solve the problem. I guess Indiana Jones or that guy on History Channel was busy? Since when is a computer expert also an archaeology expert?
– Scorpion must act quickly with LAFD Fire and Rescue after a woman runs off the road to avoid a cyclist and gets trapped in her car at the bottom of the La Brea Tar Pits. How convenient most of their gigs happen in the vicinity of their home base of Los Angeles! Good thing Scorpion showed up. Y’know, ‘cuz firemen are so unprepared and untrained to handle a submerged car, but a warehouse full of self-absorbed social retards are the perfect fit.
Another laughably insulting thing is the complete and total lack of effort on the part of the writer’s (and producers) to come up with sub-plot devices that are remotely interesting or believable. For example, Sylvester, the fat comic book nerd every collection of genius’s has, is obsessed with a comic book character called… get ready for it… Super Fun Guy! WOW! How fucking original! Don’t put too much effort into writing a plausible, remotely interesting sub-story! Super Fun Guy, wow! Marvel executives must be kicking themselves in the collective ass because they didn’t think of such an original, awe inspiring name for a comic book hero!
How lazy was the writer that came up with that? “Hey, we need to come up with a make believe comic book hero that Sylvester is a fan of!”
“Uh,” said the half-baked writer laying on a futon trying to watch reruns of Banana Splits, “How about Super Fun Guy?”
“BRILLIANT! Here’s your check. See you at next weeks writer’s meeting.”
Unbelievable. And don’t get me started on the no-effort names of other things on the show like video games.
In closing, Scorpion is a show that should only be watched if you have suffered severe head trauma or want to torture a suspected terrorist. It’s nothing but self indulgent ego stroking on behalf of the creator and an insult to anyone watching that has a clue… Or advanced past the third grade. If you do find yourself drawn into the drama and suspense of the stories, put on your helmet, board the short-bus, and seek professional help.
Bright Spot: Robert Patrick. Ever since T2 I’ve been a fan. Also liked his work in X_Files and The Faculty, I feel bad for him being on a show like this, but hopefully something better and more worthy of his talents will come along.