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"Numb3rs"
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Reviews & Ratings for
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105 out of 126 people found the following review useful:

Good mystery; I liked it!

Author: Timfitzvs from United States
23 January 2005

Despite being another police drama (this time it is the FBI), it has several unique elements. I don't think I have ever seen a mathematician as one of the main characters in a TV show. It worked. I liked how he related to those he dealt with. He was able to communicate on a human level. The mystery and suspense aspect of the show was very good. The writing was also very good but it may be difficult for the show to keep up the quality of its writing with its main subject a mathematician. Although it is somewhat unrealistic, I liked the idea of the two brothers working together with a common objective with the father putting his two cents in once in a while. I found the show very entertaining and I hope it lasts.

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90 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Novel Concept

Author: jlowitz from University of Florida
23 January 2005

As opposed to some users that write comments before viewing a new show/film, I just finished watching the first episode and I am so far very impressed. While the show may lose some points for taking the "safe route" of being yet another crime drama, I felt that the show's unique concept of mathematical probability dictating life (a la "Pi") and unconventional lead roles set it apart from its predecessors. I've never even been a big fan of any of the CSI series, but found this show very entertaining and watchable. I'm also happy to see that Sabrina Lloyd (Sliders) is still alive and well on the planet Earth.

Some viewers seem to let prejudices decide whether or not they like a show, but I've taken a look at the evidence, and I happen to be looking forward to the rest of the series.

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77 out of 102 people found the following review useful:

Excellent

Author: Peter Swanson (bumwuh@yahoo.com) from United States
8 April 2005

I like this show a lot. I'm not mathematically gifted, but I appreciate the logic behind it, and the universal applicability. Robert Heinlein said "If it can't be expressed mathematically, it's not a fact, but opinion," and he was right. I enjoy seeing an extremely intelligent person portrayed as a human being. During the last 15 years many popular shows have featured likable but illiterate louts (the characters of Dan Connor, Joey Tribiani, Jerry Seinfeld, and Doug Heffernan have all stated that they don't read,don't want to read, and don't like to read), and I appreciate having both the central- character brothers shown as bright, each in his own way. I also love the cast of this show. The only one with whom I wasn't familiar was David Krumholtz, and he more than holds his own in this group of old pros. I loved Sabrina Lloyd in the sharply-paced "Sports Night," and she's wonderful here as well. Peter MacNicol may be risking being type-cast as Mr. Looney Tunes, with his socially dysfunctional character in this show following his socially dysfunctional character in "Ally McBeal," but he's so good that it's still a pleasure to watch him work. "NUMB3RS" is primarily a good cop show, not an intellectual exercise, so no viewer should skip it because he's afraid it'll be too brainy for him. I'd recommend this show to anyone who isn't afraid to think, and to watch others do it who are better at it than we.

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83 out of 118 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining and fun, but... fake.

5/10
Author: Sine Pi from Poland
19 November 2006

So far all the possible highlights of the show have been commented on multiple times, therefore I'll not cover them again. Instead, I feel I have to emphasize a hard-to-swallow problem with this show: far-fetchedness.

Come on. If the main point of the show is to show maths as a new, fresh, interesting manner of approaching crime-solving - why did it have to insult mathematicians? As much as most "hacker movies" tend to send any even moderately computer-savvy person rolling on the floor laughing (visual programs operated using long sequences of keystrokes instead of a mouse, typing "OVERRIDE" to override a password, hacking depicted as a sequence of random digits accepted one-by-one, absurd internet address formatting, huge data transfers taking seconds instead of hours, tiny data transfers taking seconds or minutes instead of being almost instant, etc, etc) - this show tries to show mathematicians as "number wizards" while the manner mathematics is depicted is often absurd or intentionally obfuscated. Following the old Latin notion, "quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur", anything said in Latin sounds wise, this show has characters often speak out long wise-sounding sequences of mathematical lingo meaning nothing at all. This is not a direct quote, but think along the lines of "Let's try to use a stochastic algorithm to split the data into discrete subsets, which we will analyze using a probabilistic equation to determine the likelihood of occurrence of the data in the original set", hearing which another character makes a wise nod and everything is clear... Except that what was just said is little more than "we'll try to see if the data appeared in itself", which is plainly silly.

There is a quote of another kind in the quotes list for this show, as I see now (just follow the Memorable Quotes link and search for "Heisenberg"). One character explains the whole Heisenberg electron-locating theory... only to brilliantly point out to the other, that if he was seen by the criminals, they might act upon it - take retaliatory actions or extra effort to conceal their tracks. How something so obvious needed getting poor ol' Heisenberg involved is beyond me.

As much as the CSI series is sometimes criticised for distorting the accuracy of the forensic analysis process, but most of the time keeps it believable even if slightly exaggerated, Numb3rs presents methods either absurdly effective (resulting in perfect guesses using almost no data at all) or involving huge amounts of calculation where the answer is in plain sight requiring a kindergarten-level of deduction.

In other words - watch it if you're treating it lightly and don't try to believe it.

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72 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

Great show with interesting theories.

Author: mnmurray from Canada
24 January 2005

Numb3rs offers a fresh and interesting look at the worlds of law enforcement and mathematics. The two subjects, though seemingly different, work well together in this series. The focus of this show is not the crime, mathematics or policing, but the relationship between these three components and how they can work together to find a solution that is otherwise elusive - each offering information that would not normally be entertained. The relationship between Don, Charlie and their father is secondary to the plot, but no less important to the show's ideas. I can't say that I've watched a lot of their previous work, but I can say that I look forward to watching this show each week to see how Charlie and his mathematics can help DOn and his FBI team solve another crime.

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63 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

great show

Author: brian botkiller from new mexico
4 February 2005

This is an awesome show, definitely one of the best CBS has rolled out in a long time. In an age when TV shows are playing themselves out early by relying on tired ideas, Numb3rs has the potential for great things, because it's starting with an original idea that builds from something that is a great basis for a TV show; Crime. David Krumholtz is truly awesome in his Role as Charlie, the brilliant mathematician who helps his brother, Don (Rob Morrow, of "Northern Exposure" fame) solve FBI crimes using his mind and intelligence (oh no!) thru mathematics. The show will be a bit much for some folks; lots of quick moving thoughts, fast ideas and not a lot of gun play. The series is executive produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, both whom are known for electrifying stories to new levels. Their influence is felt on the camera work; the show moves like a film, not like a TV show. These few factors plus great writing will hopefully keep this show alive for a long time, beating out the boredom of most shows on ABC and NBC as of late. Five stars out of five. Catch this show.

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54 out of 75 people found the following review useful:

Rare Gem for the Whole Family

Author: vibeke-2 from Utah, USA
21 October 2005

Numb3rs is a rare gem in the world of modern television. When most shows revel in outrageous and offensive behavior, those of us seeking a high-quality show finally have something to watch. This show isn't centered around cruelty, lewdness or malice, but teamwork and family, things most programs today lack. Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz are perfect as brothers Don and Charlie, who are almost complete opposites, yet they work together well to solve the problems that arise in each episode. And the other members of the cast are just as important as the two main characters. Each member of the team has something to contribute, and by the end of the show, you get the impression that the resolution wouldn't have been reached if any one person was left out of the picture. This show isn't about solving crimes as much as it's about working together and realizing that one person can't accomplish very much alone. True, the dialog can be a little forced at times, but everything else in the show is so enjoyable, any weaknesses in the writing are forgivable. This is a show the whole family can watch comfortably.

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51 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Finally, something on television that makes you THINK!

Author: mitra_marshall from New Brunswick, Canada
27 July 2005

With all the reality shows and formulaic sitcoms and extreme violence (including gore) on television nowadays I have to say finding this little gem was indeed refreshing and proves that there are still creative spirits out in the world of TV conceptual development and developing interesting scripts. The eloquence of Math and it's relation to practically everything we encounter in our everyday, mundane lives is depicted in layman's terms through what most of us non-academic types need - visual clues - in other words "acting". This series, hopefully longer lived than the ones I fall in love with and end up being canceled by the second season, reminds me of a book my husband gave me more than 20 years ago called "Godel, Escher, Bach". The close ties between math, art and music and essentially life! The casting is excellent, Judd Hirsch has always been a favorite, ever since 'Taxi' and 'Dear John'; Rob Morrow is a fine actor whom we haven't seen enough of since the days of 'Northern Exposure' and David Krumholtz is wonderful, as the young genius who sees the world the the not so myopic eyes of a Mathematician, his lack of sarcasm and sweet sense of family love for his Father and Brother are all endearing qualities. Who would have thought, a family oriented show in the guise of a mystery thriller series. Tony and Ridley Scott were no surprise as being integral to setting this show up on the small screen, I just hope it gets fair air time and more advertising so we can enjoy many more episodes to come. By the way, the person who commented against this show being "too Jewish" was right on the mark! This show is not about a Jewish family, it is about a family that functions with love and respect without the presence of a Mother figure and it is about solving crimes using one's head, rather than a weapon straight off. I hope to see more television shows like this soon!

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57 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

All Star Cast!!

Author: Janine Tesh from SE, Kansas
23 January 2005

All I can say this that three of Hollywood's most under-appreciated actors are in this show. Rob Morrow in a role meant for him has been sadly missing since his Northern Exposure days. Judd Hirsch will always be remembered for Taxi, but I also loved Dear John and love seeing him play the Dad to Jeff Goldblum's character in Independence Day. David Krumholtz is, I believe, the most under-appreciated of actors out there. He has depth and comic vision and compassion that's been sadly lacking in the most recent spate of "new talent." His "I am right" attitude in this show is not presented in an "in your face" way, but in a way that you know that Charlie is completely perplexed when the math doesn't compute. I hope CBS and the viewers will give Numbers a chance to excel. P.S. BRAVO to the HOTTIE that David Krumholtz has evolved into over the last couple of years. I look forward to his evolution onto one of his generations' great actors.

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28 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Facts About Mathematical Modeling

4/10
Author: Ricardo FF Pontes (rffp) from Brazil
16 April 2009

After watching a dozen episodes, I decided to give up on this show since it depicts in an unrealistic manner what is mathematical modeling. In the episodes that Charlie would predict the future behavior of individuals using mathematical models, I thought that my profession was being joked about. I am not a mathematician, instead a chemical engineer, but I do work a lot with mathematical models. So I will try to explain to the layman why what is shown is close to "make-believe" of fairy tales.

First, choosing the right model to predict a situation is a demanding task. Charlie Eppes is shown as a genius, but even him would have to spend considerable time researching for a suitable model, specifically for trying to guess what someone will do or where he will be in the near future. Individuals are erratic and haphazard, there is no modeling for them. Isaac Asimov even wrote about that in the 1950's. Even if there were a model for specific kind of individual, it would be a probabilistic (stoichastic) one, meaning it has good chance of making a wrong prediction.

Second, supposing the right model for someone or a situation is found, the model parameters have to be known. These parameters are the constants of the equations, such as the gravity acceleration (9.8 m/s2), and often are not easy to determine. Again, Charlie Eppes would have to be someone beyond genius to know the right parameters for the model he chooses. And after the model and the parameters are chosen, they would have to be tested. Oddly, they are not, and by miracle, they fit exactly the situation that is being predicted.

Third, a very important aspect of modeling is almost always neglected, not only by Numbers, but also by sci-fi movies: the computational effort required for solving these models. Try to make Excel solve a complex model with many equations and variables and one will find doing a Herculean job. Even if Charlie Eppes has the right software to solve his models, he might be stuck with hardware that will be dreadfully slow. And even with the right software/hardware combination, the model solution might well take days to be reached. He solves them immediately! I could use his computer in my research work, I would be very glad.

As a drama, it is far from being the best show. The characters are somewhat stereotyped, but not even remotely funny as those in Big Bang Theory are. The crimes are dull and the way Charlie Eppes solves them sometimes make the FBI look pretty incompetent.

For some layman, the show might work. For others, the way things are handled makes it difficult to swallow!

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