Criminal Minds seems to fall in the category of popular enough that people who loves lazily written, simple to follow, repetitive garbage will watch it in masses, but bad enough that most critics, professional or online, prefers not to acknowledge its existence. I normally don't do reviews, however with this show heading into it's 9th season, proper criticism is long overdue. Crime procedurals is not a TV genre I'm a fan of and generally avoid them. However I started watching this show after seeing the short lived series Higher Ground and thinking AJ Cook really had potential. After seeing all her later movies, this show was all that's left so I started watching it and hoped it wasn't too bad. I set my standards too high.
Saying this show is unoriginal is an understatement. I don't think there's a single thing about this show that wasn't taken from somewhere else. Heck the creators admits to taking ideas off real life cases. First off the characters. They are cardboard stock characters from other crime procedurals. Some of them are blatant ripoffs when I hear more about other crime procedurals like NCIS and Numbers. You got the old wise mentor, the apathetic boss, the tough guy, the socially awkward genius, the woman who can hang with the boys, the token eye candy, and stolen from NCIS, the computer expert who's suppose to be wild and funny. If they don't sound cliché enough, their distinction is maximized. For example the apathetic boss is so devoid of personality that the actor didn't felt necessary to give him any facial expressions. The tough guy is always the one tackling people. The socially awkward genius has a social past so pathetic Steve Urkel and the geeks from Big Bang Theory come off as more realistic people. The token eye candy (AJ's character) is basically a glorified extra who barely does anything. Their wardrobe never changes either just in case it's not blatant enough what type of characters these are. Boss is always wearing a suit, tough guy is dressed up like he's running a military obstacle course, genius looks like he works in a cubicle, the female agents are dressed up like GQ models and the "funny" computer whiz has over the top hair, layers of makeup and an outfit that overall makes her look like some sort runaway from the circus.
As for the story, what story? It takes ques from CSI and every other popular CBS crime show of having that overproduced Michael Bay inspired look as well as grotesque and shocking images and ideas. CSI started this with their forensics and dead bodies while Criminal Minds seems to be aiming for as close to Saw levels. Cause you know, Michael Bay and Saw is what people like to flock to. Episodes themselves are completely by the books. Opening scene will be about the case in question. We hit credits then someone on the team will cite some historical figure at the beginning and end of every episode. This idea apparently was stolen from another crime show. Team presents the case so the audience can follow what's going on. Killer is almost always a guy, victims is almost always women, local authority is almost always incompetent morons. Team will try and piece things together while the killer is doing something that escalates the matters. This is how episodes constantly keeps you on edge. They will also play overly dramatic music to let the audience know how they should be feeling cause things aren't blatant enough already and this show likes to treat it's audience like morons. Though if people actually think this show has great writing then I guess the creators aren't wrong there. The team figures it at the end then gives a exposition dump, if they haven't already, to the audience, uh, I mean authorities like they're reading off a script. Okay they are actually reading off a script, but you're not suppose to make it look like they are. They always make it in the last moment with tough guy tackling the killer. Case has been solved in the course of a day or two. The End.
This is all then repeated in a infinite loop until this show gets cancelled. Everything this show specializes is pretty much everything I hate about the crime procedural genre. There's no story or character development at all. The most you get is if something is happening to the actors in real life (like they're leaving the series) and the writers are forced to accommodate to the change. Speaking of change, the cast has been changed a number of times and the new actor generally looks like the last actor. How original. Well to be fair, they did try the bold move of replacing AJ's token eye candy with Rebecca Locke from the series the Inside. I'm not kidding, it's Rebecca Locke with Rachel Nichols playing her also, except she has CM's craptastic writing behind her. Most of what you know about the characters are given in throwaway lines that never gets followed up on. Not that it matters, whenever they do try and develop these "characters", it's always cringe worthy. If the writers just happens to be planning (read: not a reaction to real life) to bring in a character that gets close to a main cast, they are sure to die just for more shock value and things reset back to status quo: the way the writers like it. It's apparent shock value is the only writing skills the staff has. There's not even any concept episodes shows like these like to try out once and a while. You know the episodes that's completely different from the usually. I'm utterly convinced the writers of this series does not have a creative bone in their bodies.
I cannot wait for the day this series gets cancelled cause good riddance and hopefully I can enjoy AJ Cook in something again.