I learned a new euphemism a couple of weeks back – hatewatch. It barely requires explaining that hatewatch is when you watch a show you hate, expressly so you can pour your scorn upon it. I’d say CSI: Cyber is my hatewatch except I spend so much time laughing at it, that I can’t say I actually hate it.
I have been online since the early nineties. I search, shop, share and blog like a champ. But apparently I’ve been living in a blissful utopian dreamworld. Thank goodness I found CSI: Cyber; now I know I have to be afraid of baby monitors, Bluetooth tire sensors, Canadian online pharmacies, poker sites, wi-fi on airplanes, public charging stations, dating sites, remotely exploding printers, Uber, carnival rides, and Bluetooth in general. Disaster is only a keystroke away, as the opening credits say.
I want to hate this show – it’s just so bad. It revolves around an FBI unit that deals with cybercrime. Sifter, Peter McNicol’s character, is supposed to be the head of the unit, but spends so much time with a stunned look on his face you’d think he’d never touched a keyboard before. The female lead, played by the award winning Patricia Arquette (I still can’t believe she’s in this piece of crap) has a score to settle with hackers everywhere after one ruined her psychiatric practice and got her patient killed. The lead hacker is a stereotypical neckbeard named Krumitz (I swear they named the character that just so they can call him Krummy multiple times per episode) and his frenemy slash co-worker is a nattily dressed, reformed black hat hacker played by the rapper Bow Wow (yes, hackers can reform, but only if they go work for the government). They spend each episode babbling about the ‘dark net’, and “hacking” furiously to catch the baddie of the week, which they always do, thanks to their 1337 skillz. There are other characters on this show, but they are so bland and tropey (rugged male lead, quirky cute female hacker), that I can’t even call up their names right now.
I have only ever watched a handful of the original CSI (which, I seem to remember involved a lot of dead hookers) so maybe I am not in the proper mindset to appreciate the badness this show. But worse than its badness is the level of fear mongering propaganda it churns out week after week. Almost half the dramas on TV at the moment seem to involve three letter agencies, and act as shiny, slickly produced propaganda to convince people that there’s a terrorist behind every tree. So in case you missed that messaging, in case you managed to tell yourself that being blown up by some evil furriner will never happen to you, CSI exists to remind you that the danger lies right in the palm of your hand.