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‘Criminal Minds’: A High-Stakes Reboot, by Rachel Foley

CBS’ Criminal Minds has always meant a lot to me. When I first started watching the show way back in 2010, it drew me in immediately with the idea of behavioral analysis. Each episode is a new case with a new “unsub” (unknown subject) for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit to solve. The team works together, with each member using their own specific strengths to develop a profile for a suspect and then catch the suspect before their crimes escalate. Watching Criminal Minds over the past decade jump-started my interest in psychology, and it’s been my go-to show for years. This is exactly why I was jumping for joy when Paramount + announced they were coming out with a reboot this Thanksgiving.

A couple of weeks ago, the trailer for Criminal Minds Evolution was released, and I don’t think I’ve ever clicked a link faster. From the information given, this reboot will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantines affected the behavior of the unsubs the team usually investigates. While there are sure to be new members in the team, some familiar faces appeared in the trailer, too: David Rossi, Emily Prentiss, Jennifer Jareau and Penelope Garcia will all be returning to investigate the team’s latest unsubs.

The trailer’s particular unsub used the pandemic to create a web of serial killers that the team has to investigate one by one — a concept that feels very reminiscent of the style of the original show with a fresh new twist that I’m really excited to see. The evolution of the BAU and the characters themselves are also something to look forward to (And I’ve got to admit, it was a little shocking to see Prentiss with gray hair in the trailer.) Despite the excitement, I’ll be the first to admit that creating a reboot can be tricky.

The release of a reboot after the cancellation of a show always comes with conflicting views. Will it be as good as the original show? Will it keep the same vision? Or will it attempt to “fix” the problems that got the show canceled in the first place? Reboots tend to get a lot of hate because, let’s be honest, they’re rarely as good as the original show, and are almost never better.

After 15 seasons and over 300 episodes, Criminal Minds was canceled simply due to a lack of interest, making the reboot an even more of an all-or-nothing attempt by CBS. This particular reboot seems as though it will expand on the original show while also adding new ideas; it looks perfect. The nostalgia of some of my favorite characters with a new twist is what really pulled me into watching the reboot.

That being said, I am missing some of my favorite characters from the original show, and it’s a little bit depressing to watch a show about a quarantine we just got out of. It’s ironic that we watched shows not about quarantine while we were in quarantine, and now that we’re out of the woods (hopefully), we have a show that’s returning to it. Along with all of this, my love of Criminal Minds means the stakes are even higher, and it’s even less likely the series will be up to par.

Criminal Minds Evolution has a lot of anticipation and opinions surrounding it. The original show is one of my favorites to this day, and I constantly have it on in the background during long study sessions. The reboot’s plans to investigate a whole web of serial killers is a great way to expand on the original premise of the show. While this reboot has high stakes, I could not be more excited to watch, and I'll be waiting with my finger on the refresh button until the minute it releases.

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