Game 5 of the First Round of the Entertained Organizer New Network TV Show Tournament pits CBS's new police procedural with a twist Unforgettable against CBS's new medical procedural with a twist A Gifted Man (it should be noticed that CBS's other procedural with a twist Person of Interest lost in Game 4, so there's something of a pattern going on). So which is twistier, a detective who can remember everything EXCEPT who killed her sister or a world class neurosurgeon who is led by the ghost of his dead wife to become a better man and help the less fortunate (and does anyone really care either way)???
The first thing you need to know about Unforgettable is that the original title for the show was The Rememberer. That's not a typo, it was The Rememberer. Now yes, somewhere along the way someone realized that The Rememberer may be the single stupidest thing for any TV show ever and had it changed to the bland but serviceable Unforgettable, the people responsible for the show originally thought that The Rememberer was just fine. That's not a promising start and the series doesn't do a lot to change my opinion from there. Poppy Montgomery does a decent job as our memory-nonchallenged lead, and the writing even gives a few somewhat clever nods to what remembering everything must actually be like (having interpersonal problems because she can't forget a single mean or thoughtless thing anyone has ever said to her for example). I like male lead Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck) in just about everything and this is no exception as he plays her fellow detective and former lover. But the rest is just paint by numbers. The show needs an overarching plot (because today all shows need an overarching plot) so she can't remember and has never stopped investigating the murder of her sister. Her mother has Alzheimer's so while she can never forget, her mother can never remember. I don't care now, and over time I think I'd grow to actively hate both of these plots. And that's pretty much Unforgettable in a nutshell, I question just how useful a perfect memory will be for crimes she wasn't actually present for (as she was in the pilot) but even giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, I don't really care.
The amount of trash talking for The Rememberer, I mean Unforgettable, shouldn't make you believe I particularly liked A Gifted Man though. Here our leading man whose name I don't care enough about to look up is the world's best (and best paid) neurosurgeon who doesn't care about anything or anyone except himself. That is until the ghost of his ex-wife starts appearing to him and imploring that he help out at her free medical clinic downtown. There are sideplots about his sister and her going-down-a-bad-road son, a fellow doctor who's noticed him talking to himself, and a somewhat amusing spiritualist/ghost buster played by Pablo Schreiber (The Wire and Weeds), but none of them are particularly engaging. And while saying "a ghost did it" is strangely a little easier to sell than "her perfect memory did it", they're both deus ex machinas that the I can't imagine either show being able to avoid falling back on.
Neither show is necessarily bad, and I guess there has to be something on while people are cooking dinner, but I can't really imagine watching either of these shows again. Then again it's not like CBS isn't really good at selling people on procedural television (see Bluebloods, the 2 NCIS's and 12 billion CSIs) and someone has to advance to the next round.
I'D RATHER HAVE A NEW MEDICAL PROCEDURAL THAN ANOTHER POLICE PROCEDURAL, SO THE WINNER OF GAME 5 IS:
A GIFTED MAN
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