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August 29, 2015

Why I'm done counting on Numb3rs

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Feb 14th 2007 5:21PM


60 minutes of ridiculous mathematical equations.
22 episodes in a season.
9 characters that have become flatter than paper.
1 fed up blogger.

I can't take it anymore. Numb3rs has gone from one of my favorite shows (I wrote my very first TV Squad post about an episode), to one of the blandest things on TV. Apparently, those behind this once spectacular show are now content sticking with its standard procedural formula. This show has for more potential than that. I argued on numerous occasions, that if done right, then there's no reason why Numb3rs couldn't hold its ground on another night. I take it back. Numb3rs has become just another cop show.

At this point in the series, there are just too many shortcomings. Judd Hirsch, a terrific actor, has been relegated to a mildly sarcastic curmudgeon who doles out advice only when one of his sons stops by for a beer or brings take-out over. Other characters, such as David (Alimi Ballard) and Amita (Navi Rawat), inexplicably disappear for episodes at a time only to return without reason.

Kathy Najimy was a nice addition to the cast, but she immediately went from being an obstacle for David to a good friend. Assuming the place left open by Peter MacNicol's temporary departure is a large role to fill though. Character development has been lacking (that's putting it lightly) and now that they're trying it with Don, it feels out of place.

The show just isn't as good as it once was. I'm repeating myself though. This is the same stuff I've been saying week in and week out in my reviews, and that's the biggest reason for my decision to stop. I just don't think I have anything fresh to say about Don, Charlie, and the FBI team. Count me out.

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I still like this show too. I just want to know where is the actress that plays Amita. I hope she will be in the seaon finale.

May 14 2007 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just watched last week's episode - which I'd taped - with my wife. Odd for us dedicated fans, in view of the negatives above, that we rated it as slightly sub-par; but only slightly so. A sub-par night for Numb3rs is still better than 99% of the rest. We slightly de-rated it because the plot lacked the usual convolutions, the denounment seemed forced, the Earth Day message was fairly blunt, and there was that cloying pop-song epilogue, which seems (or seemed) de rigeure for every show but Numb3rs. On the other hand, they spent a little more time on character development and addressed some reality issues, such as how Charlie seems to spend so much time with the FBI without sacrificing his University duties.

Comments to the effect that the police procedurals are getting stale completely miss the other pleasures Numb3rs has to offer - the deft direction and editing, the first-rate acting all around (yes, including Ms Farr, who has created an intersting and attractive character in Agent Megan Reeves - slightly unkempt, a little sarcastic, romantically interested in a brainiac. And, I like her nasal voice - I find it refreshing). Also, the interesting casting (except the drop-dead gorgeous Navi Rawat - why can't the female love interest ever be ordinary looking? Oh, right; this is network television. Given what they're attempting, we can allow the producers something to grab a few more viewers. I withdraw my objection). The walk-on characters who are always more than walk-ons. The writers have Hillerman's talent for sketch artistry; the small but illuminating detail - sometimes just one line - that brings a character to life.

Besides, I don't think the police work has gotten stale. Indeed, I marvel at the way they can tweak a seemingly ordinary crime into something very unordinary.

Did I mention the math? They're making math cool; sexy even! Who could object to that? The math is also real. I don't know from math, but I read people who do. See the January/February issue of Skeptcial Inquirer, "Do They Have Your Numb3r?" Math is a tool for advanced logic. Very few of us have that talent, but we can all try to be more logical, more rational in our daily lives. If Numb3s does nothing more than convince a few people of that, it deserves to be the most popular show of all time.

So, I encourage all you nay-sayers above to pay a little closer attention. I guarantee you will be amply rewarded.

And: Rob Morrow has finally put Joel Fleischman to rest.

April 24 2007 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
christina morejon

I am so glad someone has come forward to express their dismay with what used to be a very cool show. I dont even know where to begin listing my complaints so just put me down for a "DITTO" to everything Jonathan Toomey said in the above article + the following:
The first season was great-they showcased the diference between the two brothers and charlies naive genius was charming and a great contrast/foil to dons more world weary Fed. the plots were interesting and yet something was always missing...The show didnt really make you care about any of the characters. Dianne Farr kinda grew on me despite the whiny nasily voice, but not enough to make up for the repeat use of the Amita character. UGh, she has to be the WORST actress on the planet and her character serves absolutely no purpose other than to claim charlie is heterosexual. I kept hoping she would be blown up, but damn if they didnt increase her screen time and there is NO chemistry between her and david!!!!
Don has been written as a flat and dull fed stereotype, and am I the only one that feels like were being spoon fed a "message at the end of every show? I used to look forward to friday nights for this show and I groan every time I sit down and give it another shot. David Krumholtz is a great character actor and they have done nothing with him. The storylines and dull and cliched in short, Numb3rs SUCKS! whats worse is that it didnt have to...

April 09 2007 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I happen to like Numb3rs very much. They have a great cast of actors. Any show that makes you think is a great show, unlike the mindless backstabbing reality shows that are taking over that teach our children how to dupe and deceive. I also happen to like that they are exploring Don's character. People have wanted to know more about Don and his background, as well as his family and how they interact. I would like to see the exploration of more of the shows characters especially the Eppes family. I enjoy the family moments although they have become a little scarce lately. I tune in for the family dynamics, the police procedurals the great acting and the education. What more could you want from a good TV show? I will never be done with this show, even after they are gone some day. I'll still have my DVD's and memories.

April 09 2007 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally I like numb3rs. It is hard to keep a show fresh especially after one season which is why most shows don't last as long as friends did it's rare. I think the actors are great at least the guy who plays charlie seems to be and larry of course. In the end I prefer scripted shows over reality garbage.

April 09 2007 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think it has to do with the characters at all; it has to do with the writing. The first two seasons were all about numbers, with perhaps a show or two that did not really make it about numbers. Now, it is about story lines, and flat characters.

April 09 2007 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't help but disagree with all the negative comments.... TV is dumbing down in ways that really disturb me. I'll support any TV show that makes me google deconvolution algorithms.

And, as has been said before, cop shows are the hardest things to keep fresh. There are only so many ways to make crime fresh.


April 02 2007 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Diane Farr is sexy sexy sexy.. even pregnant, & the show is still my favorite part of saturday night.

March 10 2007 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Moncur

It's a shame you choose last week to quit reviewing this show - and even more of a shame that nobody at WIN picked up the slack.

This week's episode was one of the best. It not only brought Don's issues to the forefront and almost to a resolution, it also showcased the talents of virtually every other character in an incredibly tense episode that threw out the usual formula and tried something very different.

Sorry your audience missed hearing anything about it.

February 27 2007 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow. Only a few episodes sans-Larry and you're already throwing in the towel? I think that he and Charlie are the characters who make the show more than just another cop show. Where else can you get a nonsensical lecture on the planetary whosiwhatsits and black hole doodads that ends up making absolutely no sense in the end anyway but it still makes you laugh like a maniac? Just hold out until Larry comes back (if he does, I suppose). I think he is what makes the show great. Charlie is the math guy, Don is the cop guy, Judd Hirch (whose character name I don't remember) is the advice guy. Larry is the eccentric guy who we love because there is no one quite like him.
I'm still counting on Larry.

February 22 2007 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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