Scorpion is not The Big Bang Theory, but it doesn't mind comparisons to CBS' wildly popular hit comedy.
After all, both series seem to share the same DNA: Socially awkward nerds get help relating to the world from a beautiful waitress who joins their group. "The truth is while breaking the show and the characters and coming up with ideas that kind of all came together, it was brought up at some point by someone at CBS who said, 'Oh, wow, this is like Big Bang Theory in the field," executive producer Nick Santora said during the Television Critics Association fall previews. "And so I went, 'Yeah, it is.' [I was] smart enough to fake it and lie."
Fall TV: Where have we seen that before?
CBS will capitalize on the similarities by premiering
Monday at 9/8c after two back-to-back episodes of
The Big Bang Theory
. What sets the new drama apart is that as far-fetched as it may seem, it's inspired by a true story. Walter O'Brien is the real-life genius and computer expert who created a company called Scorpion
(his hacker name), a global "think tank for hire that provides intelligence on-demand as a concierge service." On the series, the Scorpion team will be called upon to venture outside of their comfort zones to help Homeland Security. But beyond solving international crises and staging huge actions scenes,Scorpion
will explore what it's like to navigate the world as a genius. This emotional challenge occurred to Santora after learning that O'Brien has an IQ of 197. "He has the fourth-highest IQ recorded, in comparison to Einstein's 160," Santora explained. "That makes him 1 in 1.5 billion, approximately. And when you're 1 in 1.5 billion, that's lonely. And that's when I realized that being 'mentally enabled,' as Walter calls it, ain't all it's cracked up to be. It's hard to connect with your own family. It's hard to connect with others. It's hard to connect sometimes with other geniuses."Meet the people who make up the show's Team Scorpion below:Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel)
Walter is a good-looking tech genius who heads up a team of equally awkward misfit geniuses. Although he's hard-working, it seems that his skills are wasted on such mundane matters as setting up wifi at a local restaurant. The real-life O'Brien revealed that the character's social ineptitude that we see in the first episode is not exaggerated: "[Walter] is breaking up with a girl while pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket that mapped out how the breakup would go, laying it out as a plan. That's not fictitious. All of us have an internal sounding board. If we have something awkward to tell a friend, we'll bounce it off ourselves first to see what's a good way of saying this. And the trouble is my internal sounding board is broken, so I will tell my friend she looks fat in those jeans, because it's technically correct."
From Kate Walsh to Kat McPhee: Fall TV's familiar faces in new places Paige Dineen (Katharine McPhee)
The American Idol
alum plays a single mother who has a 9-year-old son Ralph (Riley B. Smith). "She thinks her son is challenged and has a hard time adjusting to new things, new environments with people," McPhee says. "He happens to be with her at work that day in the restaurant and when [the Scorpion team members] come in to commandeer the diner, it's when the two worlds collide. Walter sees something in my son, which is not that he's challenged but that he is in fact a genius." Walter and Paige set up a symbiotic relationship: She helps Scorpion relate to the world, while Walter helps Paige relate to her own son.Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick)
The federal agent has a mysterious history with Walter, and we see hints of their past conflict when the two reconnect. "I recognize the potential in this young man when I have encounter with him in Ireland," Patrick says. "We basically take him to the United States of America, make him an asset of the United States government and put him to work for us. Something went wrong in one of the operations that we were involved in, and there's been this big gap of time, 10 to 15 years where we didn't interact, and that's where this story starts."
Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas)
The American Pie
alum says, "He's a crazy genius and he reads people's behavior. Nothing gets by him, and he's an expert on the way people are acting and what they're thinking. He knows exactly what you're thinking right now, so don't lie!" Being able to predict a person's next move, however, doesn't preclude him from not being able to control his own impulses to take advantage of situations.Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong)
"She is a mechanical genius engineer. She can basically fabricate, create and solve anything with machines," Wong says. "I think that she's really interesting in terms of she's the sole female in the [original Scorpion] group. I remember speaking to [the real-life O'Brien] and asking him, 'For your company, what's the statistics, male to female?' And I believe for females it's a really low percentage. I feel like for her, there's a certain personality to kind of operate with these guys. I don't think she's intentionally trying to be abrasive."
Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham)
Sylvester is a "statistical guru with OCD and anxiety and pretty much any social disorder that you can probably think of," Stidham explains. "My character was based on a computer. So R2-D2, when he does, like, 'Wheeee,' like that's in the back of my head always."Scorpion
premieres Monday at 9/8c after two back-to-back episodes of The Big Bang Theory
Additional reporting by Robyn Ross
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
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