Fall TV First Impression: CBS' Scorpion

Scorpion Preview PilotThe broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including Katherine Heigl‘s TV comeback, a trip to Gotham, a third NCIS and a Flash-y Arrow offshoot. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

PHOTOS Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!

THE SHOW | CBS’ Scorpion (Mondays at 9/8c, premiering Sept. 22)

THE COMPETITION | NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and The CW’s Jane the Virgin

THE CAST Elyes Gabel (Body of Proof), Robert Patrick (The Unit), Katharine McPhee (introduced to you by Smash), Eddie Kaye Thomas (‘Til Death), Jadyn Wong (Being Erica) and Ari Stidham (Mad Men’s Harry Crane Huge)

THE SET-UP | Gabel plays Walter O’Brien, “one of the five smartest people alive” (presumably behind a Kardashian or two) and de facto leader of a veritable Swiss Army Knife of geniuses — including a behaviorist (Thomas), a mechanical whiz (Wong) and a “human calculator” (Stidham). Patrick is Cabe Gallo, a Homeland Security honcho who has a complicated past with Walter, yet needs his team of uber-brilliant social misfits to avert a massive airline disaster.

RELATED Fall Preview 2014: Your Handy Calendar of 99 Premieres

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | If you — and by “you” I mean “someone other than Nina Tassler” — ever wondered, “What would The Big Bang Theory look like as a procedural?,” this is about it. It’s a grabby, fun premise, yet one that ultimately hinges on the cleverness of the fixes that Walter’s “Scorpion” team come up with each week. Because while the pilot chugs along at a good pace, features a couple of nifty hacks and stages a few cool set pieces, Scorpion Preview Pilotthe eventual save-the-day solution is patently absurd; avoiding such acute eyerollers in the future will be paramount. But pull that off and I’m on board, overtaxed DVR be damned.

No, McPhee does not play a brainiac; instead, she offers a nice tangent to Walter’s story, as a diner waitress whose young son, she learns, is a not “challenged” but a genius himself. (I tell no lies: The closing scene with her, Walter and the rugrat put a lump in my throat.) Her role is also to teach Scorpion’s misfits how to interact with the rest of society, a trope best doled out sparingly.

MORE FIRST IMPRESSIONS The CW’s Jane the Virgin, ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Fox’s Red Band Society, CBS’ Madam Secretary, NBC’s State of Affairs, ABC’s black-ish, CBS’ Stalker, The CW’s The Flash, Fox’s Gotham

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Like (the super-charming) Jane the Virgin, Scorpion finds itself having to find an audience in a tough time slot — and one that CBS is not known to program with a drama. That said, no one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the draw of a CBS procedural.

Watch a preview for Scorpion, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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53 Comments
  1. Marcus T. says:

    Previews make the show seem like it’s about a bunch of obnoxious geniuses that fight crime.

  2. Tricia says:

    I WAS looking forward to this one. Until you compared it to The Big Bang Theory… Now I’m not so sure.

  3. K says:

    I think this looks pretty cool from the preview. Like a movie or something and if they can keep that up with every episode, I think it could be an exciting new show. And you’re right, it literally is Big Bang Theory as a procedural, with McPhee as Penny.

    • Lambsilencer says:

      They most probably won’t. Pilots normally cost 3-4 times the amount of a “regular” TV episode. So they will have to tone down the action a lot. I guess subsequent episodes will be more character and science-driven, less action-oriented.
      That said, yes, the preview looks quite impressive.

      • johnhelvete says:

        The subsequent episodes will also have other directors, the pilot was directed by Justin Lin who knows how to direct action scenes.

  4. Dean says:

    Nerds that help deal with global crisis why does this seem so familiar?

  5. Boiler says:

    Know I am in the minority but this time slot has nothing I watch so perhaps I’ll at least check this out but maybe I’ll end up turning off the TV for an hour

  6. Ally Oop says:

    This is my busiest timeslot by far. I already have Sleepy Hollow, Jane the Virgin and Strange Empire and because I only have a single-tuner DVR, even with time shift, I can only record 2 and watch 1 live. I like the looks of Scorpion, even if it’s a procedural. The trailer really impressed me. I guess me watching will depend on if I’m able to watch it online (CBS dramas don’t always get episodes put online for Canadians to watch). Mondays, like last year, are impossible to schedule on my DVR, at least when it comes to the 8 and 9 pm timeslots.

  7. Uh uh says:

    Oh, the irony of the two Alex Kurtzman/Roberto Orci dramas going head-to-head.

    Sleepy Hollow for the win.

  8. John NYC says:

    I liked the pilot so ‘ll definitely be watching the show .

  9. Tex Mike says:

    It looks good to me. I’m looking forward to it.

  10. LaLa says:

    So, sorry, but Sleepy Hollow would have to take a spectacular nosedive for me to even consider switching.

  11. Tran says:

    This is one new series I’m looking forward to but it’s going to be very tough in the 9 p.m. Monday night time slot going up against Sleepy Hollow, the second hour of The Voice and DWTS, Jane the Virgin and possibly The Following when the new season begins mid-season 2015. If Scorpion fails to have an audience, it’s going to be very bad for CBS but I hope that they should consider bringing back its Monday night comedy line-up next Fall.

  12. WO says:

    Pretty sure we just saw the entire first episode… but I got the goose bumps. If it is shot right and the “story lines” remain somewhat plausible it has a chance. C’mon… Sleepy Hollow works, why not this?

  13. Suhail says:

    Loved the pilot, can’t wait for the show.

  14. dan says:

    I hope McPhee took acting lessons since her Smash days.

  15. Diz says:

    I’m going to try & catch it, but it has a tough time slot.

  16. Mike Rapino says:

    How does it compare to Numb3rs?

  17. Pam says:

    Sounds a lot like Alphas that was on Syfy a couple of years ago.

  18. Rick Katze says:

    Since there’s nothing else at the time slot that I watch, I will try Scorpion. I do like the set-up. Whether they can sustain it, …

  19. herman1959 says:

    I feel like this show has the same problem as many for the fall – it’s premise is too similar to previous shows. It seems to be the thing to try and replicate what has been successful in the past instead of putting out something original. This is a recipe for a lot of cancellations, and I hope the same mistake is not repeated to fill the gaps in the schedule. Note to producers: please take a chance on something original!

  20. Jon says:

    Eddie Kaye Thomas wearing a douche hat? Not watching it.

  21. JC says:

    Saw this at a test screening and it’s got a totally silly ending but it was entertaining. I’m not sure it can sustain that week on week but I’ll check ipout the first few eps. It’s not groundbreaking but at least as CBS procedurals go it’s a little bit different. Some of the characters def need fleshing out in future episodes tho, esp the human calculator genius, lol. Liked Kat McPhee in it too, and the main guy is kinda cute.

  22. kirads09 says:

    Always love Robert Patrick. I think it looks promising and I will watch this.

  23. mano says:

    the trailer was amazing! i like action packed scenes & throw in some humor-i’ll be watching every week!

    • JC says:

      I don’t get what all the raving is about. I’m really interested. What did you think was so great? Is it just the plane sequence that everyone loves?

  24. Sheldon W. says:

    I loved the pilot, final solution aside. Interesting characters, great pacing. I definitely want to see more.

  25. jo jo jo says:

    No thank you

  26. meatwad says:

    Sooooo Numb3rs 2.0???

  27. Pat says:

    Saw the pilot. Was hoping the agent driving the SUV would have gotten into it more with the geniuses. That would have been hysterical. Maybe in later episodes. But the car/plane sequence was insane. And I love Robert patrick in just about anything.

  28. Gary Brown says:

    The CBS 30 and 60 second “previews”were draw enough, but the long one shown here REALLY got my attention. I will not miss a minute.

  29. Kai Nugent says:

    Main actor should definitely be Zachary Levi

  30. Roy says:

    I certainly hope the plot is slightly more complicated than “the tower at LAX is down and airplanes cant land.” because that is patently false. you know what happens when the tower goes down in real life? the airplane go somewhere else. They are airplanes, not trains. it not like they can only land at the place they were supposed to. And another thing, most of the clear weather landings are hand flown anyway. They don’t use the “landing guidance”, they just fly the airplane like they are supposed to do. seriously, every plot line like this just makes me shake my head.

  31. Casey says:

    The first 25 min of the CBS TV program did not catch my interest.

  32. todd says:

    the premise of the first show was so fundementaly flawed I gave up on the show. ATC simply does not function the way depicted.

  33. I hung in up until the low flying jet/Ferrari stunt. I just could’t take anymore. I just ASSumed that the plane crashed and the cast, crew and writers perished in a big fireball.

  34. Mrs Sandra D Kenyon, says:

    Reminds me of Josie and the postcard cartoon

  35. Marie perry says:

    I really like this show. I watch tv for entertainment not to critique the show. I had enough of that in school. I also don’t like all the “reality shows” now on v.

  36. Kate says:

    I was really looking forward to this. Watched it until Oct. 13 episode, but if it has “Wesley Crusher” (read waitress) saves the universe one more time – I’m out. Not all geniuses are inept or social morons. They wouldn’t leave a waitress ‘in charge’ when their leader is arrested. They wouldn’t look to her for some brilliant insight into the problem, etc. This is a show about brains – use some!!

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