Thursday’s (Nov. 24) episode of “Pure Genius,” titled “Fire and Ice,” further confirms something we’ve been thinking for a while: The medical procedural might just be a bit too high concept for CBS.
In its fifth episode, the partnership of tech billionaire James Bell (Augustus Prew) and Dr. Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney) once again helped to improve the lives of a few more patients in serious need of help. The episode successfully plucked at the heart strings — something “Pure Genius” has excelled at — with its story of an injured athlete who may never play hockey again, and a mother whose facial reconstructive surgery puts her daughter’s world in peril.
How could a medical procedural such as this not be connecting with audiences? We have an inkling it has nothing to do with the human drama that is explored in each episode and everything to do with the futuristic science and technology behind it. The main twist (and joy) that sets the series in a category all its own is the passionate empathy of James Bell. Inspired by his own medical history, he’s using his resources and knowledge to help those that other hospitals can’t.
And while that sounds like a formula for success, it may be the main reason behind the show’s lackluster ratings since its premiere. Not only that, it feels like the ideal demographic for the series is missing out on the show’s brilliance due to the simple fact that CBS shows cannot be found on Hulu. Not for nothing, but “Pure Genius” probably hasn’t found its audience because CBS hasn’t made it available to them.
Like “Supergirl” before it, is it possible “Pure Genius” is the wrong fit for CBS? And if so, is there a chance it’ll move on to find new life on a different network? Now that we’ve seen multiple episodes, we can’t help but think this show would fit perfectly at FOX. The network has proven itself a worthy home for offbeat medical procedurals (we’re looking at you, “House”) and forward-thinking science fiction dramas (we miss you, “Almost Human”).
While CBS has not officially canceled the show (no one cancels shows anymore) it’s pretty clear “Pure Genius” will not return next fall — and honestly, that’s sad. Aside from the future-tech detail of the series, the other driving factor that keeps the story consistently engaging is the sheer power of hope and inspiration.
Could “Pure Genius” live on to see a Season 2 elsewhere? All we can do is hope.