In the last couple of years we've seen the re-introduction of intellectualism in television, and this is reflective of a more accepting attitude of 'nerd-dom' in society. The nerds are becoming more mainstream, and so people want to appear smart, so they watch television which makes them feel smart, feel intellectual. I'm gonna talk about two such shows.
The first is Burn Notice. One of the things this show tried very hard to do is justify how 'real' it is. About a half dozen times a show the main character will give a little diatribe as to how his experience in the spy-game is helping his current situation, and it's all very realistic, like the writers were taken straight out of the CIA or NSA. I always get a kick out of taking these shows down a notch (just to prove how Goddamn intellectual I am), even if the only spy experience I am comes from the pages of Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy novels. But Burn Notice seems pretty good to me. I'm sure if an ASIO field agent (which I applied for a while back but got turned off on the psych test, bastards) were to watch it they'd be disgusted, but I find it close enough to realistic for my liking, so I choose not to yell at the television (except when they say something very stupid, which has only happened once, in the early days).
Pity the show's finished.
Anyway, now we get to Numb3rs, a show where I'm something more of an expert. What a fucking crock of shit. Every single 'mathematical' theory put forward is so out in the realms of impossibility that it becomes utterly laughable. I'm watching an episode now where the main character literally pulls maths out of the fucking air. I've seen another where a man almost in a coma manages to control his pulse rate so accurately (and with the knowledge that maths/cipher genius is watching even though his eyes are closed) that the main guy can write down his pulse rate numbers, then selects a single cipher out of the literally MILLIONS that are available to say "Ahhhh, the chessboard cipher, it translates to THIS!" to write out a message. This show is so utter utter bullshit. What truly scares me is that people who have as much knowledge of maths as I do of the spy game are going to watch this show and see the complexity involved and think that because it appears intelligent it actually is. Kind of like I do with Burn Notice.
Then again, maybe television is only about entertainment. But if something tried to be intelligent, shouldn't it try a little harder?
Back to beer.