Stephen Speicher

TV: Numb3rs

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This is a (highly qualified) recommendation for a new TV series on CBS called Numb3rs, airing 10pm on Friday. There are much better dramas around (The West Wing, 24), and much more interesting quirky characters (Monk, Boston Legal), but where else can you get to see real mathematics in action.

The show is loosely based on real events, where FBI agent Don Eppes, played by Rob Morrow, recruits his mathematical genius brother, Charlie, to apply different mathematical principles in each episode, each time helping to solve a different type of crime. Althought they obviously cannot go into any depth on the mathematics involved, they actually speak about and use real mathematical ideas, on a fairly intelligent level.

Although genius Charlie's university has a different name, the academic scenes are filmed at Caltech, and Caltech math professor Gary Lorden is a consultant to the show. Lorden helps to weave references to historical and current problems in mathematics into each script, and assists in intelligently applying some difficult math to solve a complex crime problem in the show. The show is further geek-advanced by Charlie's physicist colleague Dr. Larry Fleinhardt, played by ex-Alley McBeal star Peter MacNicol. MacNicol is almost as quirky on this show as was his character John Cage on Ally McBeal. But it is fun to hear Dr. Fleinhardt talking about rotating black holes and aspects of string theory.

This is not great drama, but if you get excited by hearing Kalman spaces and the like mentioned on primetime TV, then this is a fun new show to give a try.

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This is a (highly qualified) recommendation for a new TV series on CBS called Numb3rs, airing 10pm on Friday ... the academic scenes are filmed at Caltech...

I thought the college scenes were likely shot at CalTech. I would agree with Stephen's assessment of the show, and it is fun to see higher mathematics used as the basis for a prime time drama.

It seems to me the crime shows have been getting more intelligent since CSI came on the scene, a show that I love.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the show will be seeing how their writers continue to link the plots to mathematics. It seems like they will have to stretch a great deal to do so, but the shows I've seen so far are as credible as anything else I've found in TV drama.

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It seems to me the crime shows have been getting more intelligent since CSI came on the scene, a show that I love.

I am a late-comer to CSI, having only fairly recently discovered that excellent show. Having done so led me to the Miami version, which, though similar to the original, has a different overall feel, and some interesting characters. But I just could not sustain interest in the newer New York edition of the show.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the show [Numb3rs] will be seeing how their writers continue to link the plots to mathematics.  It seems like they will have to stretch a great deal to do so, but the shows I've seen so far are as credible as anything else I've found in TV drama.

The episode last Friday seemed to lack the mathematical "punch" that was so apparent in the previous episodes. The mathematics was there, but it was not as essential to the story as in the earlier shows. Perhaps that episode was a bit of a changeup, giving them a chance to focus more on the other characters. I guess we'll just see what develops, but , especially for someone who loves math, it has been an entertaining show.

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I watched Numb3rs this past Friday (it happened to be a rerun of the pilot episode), and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I liked best is the portrayal of the mathematician (the mind) as the primary hero of the show. While this is precisely what I expected, it was nice to see it in action.

Thanks for the recommendation Stephen :); I would not have watched it otherwise.

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Thanks for the recommendation Stephen  :); I would not have watched it otherwise.

Did you, or anyone else watch last night's episode (3/11)? This last was by far the best episode yet. Previously I offerred a highy qualified recommendation, mostly for those who would enjoy seeing real mathematics integrated well into a plot. But this last episode not only outdid itself in regard to the mathematical applications, but the rest of the story and the character developments were really excellent. If this show has hit its stride with this episode I will elevate my recommendation to be that of more general interest to others.

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Did you, or anyone else watch last night's episode (3/11)? This last was by far the best episode yet. Previously I offerred a highy qualified recommendation, mostly for those who would enjoy seeing real mathematics integrated well into a plot. But this last episode not only outdid itself in regard to the mathematical applications, but the rest of the story and the character developments were really excellent. If this show has hit its stride with this episode I will elevate my recommendation to be that of more general interest to others.

I agree. Numb3rs had me from the pilot. Very intelligent, integrated, intense. I highly recommend it. The episode of which you speak was subtle, dramatic and very, very clever. No. Ingenious.

But I can't speak for future episodes. Look what happened to Agency.

This is a qualified view, but IMO, as films become dumb & dumber (pun intended) TV seems to becoming more adult, more intelligent, at least in the context of shows like CSI, Numb3rs and (qualified referal here, too) House, etc.

Their is also another TV show that just premiered. Very qualified reference here. The name is Eyes. Articulate dialogue -- reminds me of something Sterling would write; some kind of WOW direction I've not seen on TV since Moonlighting.

Now, I've only seen the pilot. So Eyes could go either way. And fast.

But that episode was very sharp, intelligent, sophisticated (there's a description one doesn't hear often about TV dramas) and the plot moved like a bat outa hades.

Weds. ABC 10 EST

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Their is also another TV show that just premiered.  Very qualified reference here.  The name is Eyes.  Articulate dialogue -- reminds me of something Sterling would write; some kind of WOW direction I've not seen on TV since Moonlighting. 

Now, I've only seen the pilot.  So Eyes could go either way.  And fast.

But that episode was very sharp, intelligent, sophisticated (there's a description one doesn't hear often about TV dramas) and the plot moved like a bat outa hades.

Weds. ABC 10 EST

Yes, I just saw that opening episode (I tape and watch in the morning while on my treadmill). It was a very smart-looking show, in terms of dialog and people too. Highly stylized. Very promising. But, as writeby notes, we will have to see how it develops.

p.s. I love that reference to Moonlighting. Very apt.

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