Do you believe that a numbers wizard can predict the most random of human actions with mathematical equations so accurately as to know where and when such a person will be? If so, then I suggest you put down that letter you are writing to Santa, finish eating that egg a bunny left for you, go to your pillow and pull together all of the loot you got from the tooth fairy, and plunk it down on season three of Numb3rs. No, that’s not a typo, apparently they believe that letters aren’t good enough to stand on their own, so they inserted a 3 where the e should be. Aren’t they so clever? Not. In the fairy tale world of Numb3rs, all you need is an almost obsessive knowledge of math and the crooks don’t stand a chance. It’s almost unfair, isn’t it? Those poor criminals go about their carefully plotted crimes, unaware that everything they do is controlled by math. They live their lives oblivious to the fact they are at the mercy of a diabolical equation which forces their every move. In fact, I suspect some clever attorney somewhere is already preparing the “math made me do it” defense at this very moment. Soon our justice system will be forced to account for this undeniable force on our very destinies. I would go on but I can’t… must… fight… numbers…
Don Eppes (Morrow) is a decorated FBI officer in charge of a unit of the local field office of the FBI. His brother, Charlie (Krumholtz) is a math professor at CalSci. His brilliant mathematical mind is called upon to help the Feds track killers and rapists. No matter how complicated the trail gets, when the going gets rough these guys call on Charlie. The FBI office is also manned, or womaned as the case may, be by Agent Megan Reeves (Farr), who is the profiler of the group, Agent David Sinclair (Ballard), the smart tough guy, and Agent Colby Granger (Bruno) the young upcoming agent. Charlie has professor Larry Feinhardt (MacNicol) to guide him through his struggles. Both of the geeks are socially inept, and we are “treated” to their constant struggles to relate to others, particularly women. Why can’t they write an equation to fix that? Navi Rawat is Amita, a student of Charlie’s who remains to take a job at CalSci, possibly to remain near Charlie. Judd Hirsch is the father to the Eppes brothers The show is produced by brothers Ridley and Tony Scott, who have had far better luck on the big screen.
This season begins with the conclusion of the previous season’s cliffhanger. It changes the relationships within the team a bit. Granger is kind of on the outs after his big secret is out. Larry’s living with some monks now. I’d love to see Charlie’s equation on that one. The heart of the show remains the same. The dramas are actually pretty good, but every time you’re in the zone Charlie busts out with one of those crazy analogies and my brain goes into freeze out. Of note is that Tony Scott directed that first episode dealing with last year’s season ending.
Each episode of Numb3rs is presented in its original 1.78:1 broadcast format. The transfer is pretty nice. The show appears to be mastered in HD so looks pretty good even with this SD release. Colors are pretty much realistic, if a bit soft at times. There appears a real effort to use a lot of toned down earthtones for this show, so don’t look for any brilliance out of the colors. Black levels are fair and consistent. There is a bit of compression artifact and grain, but they really don’t interfere with an overall sharp picture that easily beats the broadcast versions.
The Dolby 5.1 track is nice, but this is a very much dialog driven show. I go into a trance when Charlie starts explaining his math equations, so maybe I’m missing something there. The music is usually subtle except for the occasional montage moments which come off nicely in the sound department. Don’t look for much sub action; Hell, don’t look for too much action at all. This is a pretty quiet show overall, so the presentation doesn’t have to work all that hard. There isn’t much in the ambient sounds, so this would likely sound as good as a stereo mix.
The writer’s strike appears to have also affected the extras. The previous set was pretty loaded. Here you get just 1.
Crunching The Numbers Season 3 – Trust Metric: This time the Crunching Numbers feature focuses on just the first episode. Tony Scott ended up directing the show, and this 5 part feature deals with that episode as if it were a feature film. You can watch the entire nearly hour piece or select from the following portions and watch them individually: Pre-Production, Tony’s Touch, The Ambush, The Freighter, and Post Production. Tony Scott leads this cast and crew detailed look at all aspects of making the season’s first episode.
The math did finally get to numbers in the 4th season. The math in question here deals with the percentage that writers got on internet showings and other modern methods of delivering entertainment (that number being 0). When you divide a television season by that equation, the sum is reduced by the tangent of the picket line and multiplied by the number of writers minus the number of members of the Writer’s Guild divided by the number of weeks of the strike less the episodes produced, carry the 1 and we end up with a season of only 18 episodes, down from the average 24. I’m sure that Charlie could have worked this out to everyone’s satisfaction and the boys could have gone back to catching the bad guys with Numb3rs. “No offense, but how is that supposed to work?”