NUMB3RS: THE THIRD SEASON
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
The continued adventures of the Eppes family. Two brothers, one is a respected FBI agent, and the other is a respected mathematician who helps when the need for numbers (which is a weekly issue) enters into a case. When they are not catching criminals, they are working on trying to keep their life together which seems to be a pretty tough job in itself.
Is it good movie?
There is no debate that it seems moviemakers and studios are having trouble with the idea of original ideas. Remakes, re-imaginings, sequels make up for much of what is released. Some of which I like, yet most I do not. But nowhere is more evident that Hollywood has issues with the term “originality” than on network television. Reality shows are popular, well let’s make more. Legal shows are popular… how many “Law & Order” or “Crime Scene Investigations” can we have. Well, one of those that seemed to be jumping on that bandwagon is “Numb3rs” which added a touch of math into the investigation.
I never watched the series although I liked David Krumholtz from other roles I had seen him in, so I was coming in with little knowledge of the show. Other than it looked like it would be like every other crime show on television. So the question is… what makes it different? And the answer is simple, it’s all in the numbers. Where CSI will show you the bullet traveling through the body to prove it’s point, Numb3rs will use a cake, or a child’s toy chest to explain how a set of numbers can explain a pattern that a criminal is involved in. It is an interesting concept and since I suck at math, it pulled me in waiting for the final connection. So yes, there is very much a typical crime show, but I liked the unique way a mathematician can come up with an answer to solve it.
Now with season 3 of the show, the actors all seem very comfortable in their roles. I really enjoyed the family aspect with brothers Charles and Don (played by Krumholtz and Rob Morrow) with daddy Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsch). After three seasons they are a very believable family base. I do find it a little convenient that each and every episode, somehow Charlie helps his FBI brother with some kind of numerical help. Hell, even dad joins in a couple of times. But still, the family concept works well and Krumholtz is great as the genius son.
The supporting roles are fine, although some stand out and add enjoyment to the show. Diane Farr as Megan Reeves who is one of Don’s investigators is phenomenal. During this season she was pregnant so there are a few episodes at the end where she disappears, but it was probably better then having her character pregnant. There is something warm and refreshing about her. I bought her completely as an ex-profiler who has the ability to get into the baddies head. She’s kind of hot too.
And Megan’s sorta-kinda boyfriend Larry (Peter MacNichol) who is also an old friend of Charlie, is also terrific here. He’s even more dorky than Charles and the two of them are wonderful together. Peter also disappeared for awhile for a stint on “24”, but he returns close to the last episode. Yet, I had the strangest feeling Charlie has some sort of man crush on his fellow nerd… a whole lot of touching going on.
As I said, I had never watched the show but I really enjoyed this season. Especially nice was a couple of episodes with guest star Jay Baruchel. I like that guy, he was hilarious in Knocked Up. I also thought a few of the episodes were pretty tight, including the opening two parter about a couple of spree killers, called “Spree” and “Two Daughters”. I also found “Killer Chat”, “Blackout” and the series finale (which was actually surprising, at least for me), “The Janus List”. It’s a strong series and a good season considering it seemed to just take the current trend and tweak it a little. Yet, the tweaking worked.
Video / Audio
Video: The 16x9 Widescreen transfer is very good. As with most of the current, popular shows on television, they make sure that it looks great.
Audio: The Dolby Digital and 5.1 Surround are also terrific. Especially when Charlie describes Jenga to connect with a crime and that sucker falls… the sound of those Jenga blocks falling is powerful… No, seriously, as with the video, CBS wants this to look and sound great.
My biggest problem with a few of these TV show sets is the lack of extras. This particular one is fine. It includes Commentaries for “Two Daughters” with David W. Zucker, Ken Sanzel and guest actor, Lou Diamond Phillips. It’s a pretty eye-opening track that talks about Lou being cast and it seems to be a friendly atmosphere.
Next up is “Hardball” with Cheryl Heuton, Nicholas Falacci, David Krumholtz and guest actor Jay Baruchel. This was the best of the commentary tracks because it’s jut fun. Not terribly informative, yet we do learn that David told all his buddies that he was going to be playing a sexy mathematician on the show. And of course, the fact that he has really sexy hair.
Then on a more serious note, we have “Nine Wives” which includes Don McGill, Andrew Black and David Krumholtz again. This seems much more serious but it has a few moments of dead spots so not quite as interesting as the first two.
As for “Nine Wives” with Julie Hebert, Navi Rawat and Tom Bellissimo who give insight on using math to find a polygamist cult dude. Very serious in tone, but it is kind of interesting albeit a few dry spots in this one also. Bring back Jay Baruchel please.
Now it’s Rob Morrow’s turn. With “One Hour”, Ken Sanzel, Dylan Bruno and Rob Morrow chime in for what is one of the better episodes regarding a young boy’s kidnapping. Rob and Dylan are a lot of fun to listen to.
After the commentaries, there are a few featurette’s including, Crunching Numb3rs: Season 3 (19:23) which offered up the whys and why nots surrounding the episode that included a few changes that happened during the season. A basic type of mini-doc for this type of disc, yet it was still fun. This is on Disc 4.
If you want to know all about the Eppes residence from it’s original form as a real life house, to it’s current set on a soundstage home, you can check out Eppes Central (11:36) on disc 5. Here you can find out what exactly happened to their kitchen. This was also fun and it’s interesting to see the good and the bad on shooting on a soundstage versus a actual location.
Finally on Disc 6, we get a Blooper Reel (6:19) and a Set House Tour (9:34) with the Eppes family (Krumholtz, Morrow and Hirsch) along with the show’s creators. Surprisingly both are very funny. In the Set Tour, it’s obvious that the three actors really like each other. They actually feel a bit like a family here. Funny stuff because poor David can’t do the “private tour” that he wanted to give. And the blooper reel is also quite funny, whether guns don’t shoot, or people forget their lines. Both of these extras are fun and entertaining.
This disc includes all 24 episodes from Season 3.
While Numb3rs seemed to be jumping on the Law & Order and CSI trend, it adds a little bit extra by adding the math element. Who knew that mathematics could be so fascinating. I liked the fact that the show forced me to pay attention because I oftentimes have no idea what Charlie is talking about. The writers offer up some interesting stories is a real plus. And I also think the majority of the cast is terrific. It’s the main reason to watch the show to see the Eppes family on those surrounding them make it an even more fascinating watch. I haven’t seen the first two seasons, but if the third is any indication of the quality, it seems to add up to a quality show.