The king of spin-offs is back. By king I mean “Gary Sinise”, and by spin-offs I mean, “another television show by a bunch of people who cannot produce original ideas anymore”.
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders is the third series based on the hugely popular Criminal Minds franchise.
Unfortunately, six episodes in and the show has more similarities with the cancelled Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour than the exciting original series.
In other words, it is headed straight towards the narrow opening down the drain leading into the land of unnecessary spin-offs. Oh, hi CSI: NY!
Unless of course the producers read all the negative comments and reviews Beyond Borders is receiving online, stiffen their upper lips and deliver a kickass show from now on.
It is possible to turn this show around, if only the makers get their heads out of … erm, the clouds. Beyond Borders has all the necessary elements to become a hit. And by necessary elements, I mean Daniel Henney.
Who am I kidding? He is the only element needed to save this show. Henney is to Beyond Borders what Shemar Moore is to Criminal Minds and don’t you dare tell me that you never wanted some of that “chocolate thunder” action for yourself. Get Henney solving cases shirtless and the ratings would go up just like that.
Here we have five Americans who go beyond borders to save other Americans around the world. And Americans and America are always surrounded by trouble e.g. Godzilla, Armageddon, King Kong and Donald Trump, so the team is always busy.
Led by Jack Garrett (Sinise), the team comprises Clara Seger (Alana De La Garza), Matt Simmons (Henney), Russ Montgomery (Tyler James Williams) and Mae Jarvis (Annie Funke). Every episode begins with a voiceover by Garrett informing us that “Over 68 million Americans leave the safety of our borders every year. If danger strikes, the FBI’s International Response Team is called into action.”
Oh, if only he realises that number would increase tremendously if Trump actually becomes President of the United States, and isn’t it rich of him to assume that all is safe within their borders?
Anyway, the team has been to Thailand, India, Egypt and Japan so far and boy, are the episodes full of cultural stereotypes.
The producers might as well print posters that say “Don’t go to India unless you want your organs harvested” or “Don’t go backpacking to Thailand unless you want to wind up dead like the British backpackers who were murdered in 2014” and paste it all over America and keep Americans within their borders.
The cases on this show are acceptable, but the stereotypes are not. They are insulting and unnecessary.
Rude or not, the team travels in style to solve these cases. They have a huge jet (much bigger than the one used in Criminal Minds) that carries a truck, a car, a motorcyle, a conference table, a kitchen cabinet and a shower. Okay, I am not too sure about the last two things on the list, but the rest make their way to wherever Jack and his team go.
Clara is a linguist hired as an intermediary for the international cases, but is often heard speaking English more than anything else. Mae is a former medical examiner turned investigator, while Russ or Monty as he is fondly called is the team’s Penelope Garcia without the makeup or personality. And Matt? I did say that he is the eye candy of the show and a round of applause for him, folks, as he is doing a pretty good job at that so far.
It is quite frustrating to see the direction the show is going currently because we Criminal Minds fans know just how good the series can be. I feel that they are rushing too quickly to solve the cases. Like, how is it possible that they land in a foreign place and solve a tricky case without the authority to do anything on their own?
Perhaps Beyond Borders is not meant to be a series in which the cases are solved in one episode. They need time to settle in at these new places, get their stomachs adjusted to the local food, make friends with local police force who always seem to be against Americans, and work around all the issues in the way of solving their cases.
Right now, Beyond Borders is still acceptable and let’s just hope that they don’t make it beyond redemption.