Jonah Nolan: Person of Interest and Westworld

Person of Interest came up in the mailbag section of the WW109 podcast and my TV lovin' heart did a little pitter-pat. I've been listening to the podcasts for a long time now, for a lot of excellent shows that I enjoy greatly (BrBa, GoT, TWD, MM, BCS....and even FTWD -never watched it, just listened to the podcasts-). Still, I've only ever been hardcore fannish about one show in this golden age: a underrated little procedural on CBS.

Not to spoil anything (POI seasons 1-5 -complete- are streaming on Netflix US if you're interested), but over the course of three seasons, POI shed it's layers from a "number of the week" crime procedural, to reveal itself as a mind-blowing sci-fi masterpiece about AI, ethics, free will, love, and more.

The story was doled out in the tiniest of bits and it took about three years for the BIG picture to come into focus. (The last two seasons are focused on resolving the big picture that is revealed at the end of the S3 finale). POI aired its series this summer and since then, I've had a giant Person of Interest shaped hole in my heart. 

Westworld fills that space quite nicely. POI trained me on how to watch a Jonah Nolan show and it was thrilling to see how much more realized some of his themes became in WW.

POI also had a storyline of AI achieving consciousness, and one version of what that might mean for mankind.
WW revisits a mythology of two creator figures that ultimately come to odds with each other over the ethics of what they've created.
Both shows share a through line of machines finally meeting their makers.

Heady stuff for TV, let alone CBS, and all told through impeccable acting (much more often than not), intricate storytelling, gorgeous cinematography, and a mesmerizing Ramin Djawadi soundtrack.

Anyway, if you dig Westworld, you might enjoy Person of Interest as well over the hiatus -and if you've already watched POI, I'd love to hear what you think of Westworld!

Elisaceburaska

Comments

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Huh really. Because I watched the first episode and thought it was kind of a cheesy, routine network show. I might have to give it another look.

    JinkyO is like the 20th person to tell me its more, I may have to check it out as well...But, ugh..24 episodes a season, seems like its a lot of effort
  • Give it a few episodes. The Pilot lays down the groundwork for the procedural aspects of the show but if you make it through to the final scene, you get a glimpse of the bigger plot. Next episode starts to introduce the mythology of the show, and by the time you get to episode 4, you should have a firm idea of what motivates our main characters.

    Episode 4, "Cura Te Ipsum", is a pretty good decision point to decide if POI is/is not the show for you.
    Vasilnate1Elisa
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Huh really. Because I watched the first episode and thought it was kind of a cheesy, routine network show. I might have to give it another look.

    JinkyO is like the 20th person to tell me its more, I may have to check it out as well...But, ugh..24 episodes a season, seems like its a lot of effort
    It is -and I won't lie, there are a few episodes that are a slog (depending on what angle of the show catches your fancy -and there are a LOT of angles)
  • ElisaElisa Los Angeles
    OK give it til episode 4 - will do.  FYI I had the same experience as @akritenbrink and I love Jim
     Caviezel, Taraji P Henson and Kevin Emerson.  
  • bizmarkiefaderbizmarkiefader San Francisco
    edited November 2016
    Oh man I love Person of Interest. The episode with the repeated simulations was so good. 

    This article has a really good guide of which episodes to watch in the first season if you want to skip all the procedural ones that don't add much to the bigger story (there are some spoilers for early parts of season 1 in the article):

    Elisa
  • ceburaskaceburaska London, England, United Kingdom, European Union (but not for long)
    If this had been 10 episodes a season it would have been top grade tv.
    Even with about ten episodes of filler (for S1-2 at least) it is well worth it.
    Plus it has been interesting to contrast to Westworld.
    POI became a different show in the middle of S3, I hope they do the same with WW, as right now I am a bit bummed by its stance on bots v humans. POI managed to show the pros and cons of its central issues, so maybe S2 WW will start doing the same.
    JinkyOElisa
  • Ok, I started this show yesterday based on the strong praise in this thread. Halfway thru S1 and it's still just average procedural tv. It's very, uhhhh, CBS-y if that makes any sense. Like the writing is extra deliberate in making sure the average aged 84 yr old CBS viewer is keeping up. But I trust you all when you say it turns into something more.

    I just want you all to tell me Jim Caviezel stops doing this David Caruso impression. Every line is delivered like he just took his sunglasses off in CSI Miami. It's driving me crazy.
    JinkyOElisa
  • WonderedObjectWonderedObject SAN Francisco, CA
    edited December 2016
    I gave the show FOUR tries this year when it'd air after SNF. Can't do it. Don't get it. Just not my cup of tea.
  • @phoenyx1023 It definitely gets more interesting and takes a sci fi turn but it keeps that network show feeling you're talking about because it's still stretched out to 20+ episodes. The later seasons are really good but if you aren't enjoying it at all or don't like the characters it might not be worth it.
  • @bizmarkiefader I don't hate it or anything. I'm interested enough to give it a chance to see where it goes. At the very least, it's decent enough to fill my background tv void during my long overnight shifts.
  • my girlfriend watched the first season and a half and filled me in, so I just started in the middle and read some of the wiki.  The long running story of the series is actually entertaining, but its got so much procedural filler and network style hand holding and cliches it makes it tedious.  If they tightened it up to 10 hr seasons it would be good. not to horrible to have on in the background while your doing other stuff though
    JinkyOceburaska
  • I think the "CBS-y" feeling is more than valid, especially when compared to WW, and, the show won't be for everyone, no harm, no foul. Still, if the show got past the meh-filter to become background viewing for now, there's still a good chance you might get hit by one of the show's many plot explosions.

    One of the big draws for me was the subversion of this weekday night, network crime procedural that slowly morphed into a sci-fi show with prescient themes of the surveillance state and ethical questions about the nature of AI. Plus, watching live, PoI fit nicely into hiatus breaks for BrBa, MM, TWD, GOT, and other premiere cable shows. 

     I lived with PoI for a long while and am admittedly biased. It's been a joy for me to move on to WW. I think the two shows explore some of the same ideas, and I'm really into seeing those ideas, outside of the constraints of network TV, refined. 
    Elisaceburaska
  • ceburaskaceburaska London, England, United Kingdom, European Union (but not for long)
    Westworld is starting further down the line than PoI, which really took to the middle of S3 to take off, but the latter seasons are so far ahead of where WW is now that I'm somewhat impatient.
    Come on Jonah, give me some Samaritan!
    If Jonah and Chris Nolan's uncle turns up in WW then I will get very excited. And scared.
    Vasilnate1
  • ceburaska said:

    Westworld is starting further down the line than PoI, which really took to the middle of S3 to take off, but the latter seasons are so far ahead of where WW is now that I'm somewhat impatient.
    Come on Jonah, give me some Samaritan!
    If Jonah and Chris Nolan's uncle turns up in WW then I will get very excited. And scared.

    minor *spoilers*

    Yeah I agree, I like the portrayal of the AI in PoI more than the humanized AI from Westworld. The Machine and Samaritan seem like a more realistic imagining of what AI will become in the future, not physical cyborgs but all encompassing memory systems that live in data centers on servers with internet access, its actually quite scary   
    ceburaska
  • ElisaElisa Los Angeles
    adding to the list
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