Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall Season 2009: The Mentalist

It only makes sense after lavishing over Lie To Me that I admit to watching The Mentalist, too. After all, it films at the WB, I work at the WB; oh yes, my loyalty streak runs true.

I know you’ve all heard of this show; let’s count how many times CBS can call it the number one new show of the season. Is it deserved? Is there some unique story or chemistry between the characters that pushes it ahead of the crowd? Is it really just Psych on a primetime network?

Excels At: Entertainment. There’s no doubt that the show is fun. You have your characters and their quirky relationships, the silly antics, and that gosh darn formulaic crime drama merriment. The show isn’t particularly deep, but in this case, it’s not a bad thing. The humor is enjoyable, the plotlines simple but engaging, and when facing another season full of angst-ridden, convoluted, mystery-driven dramas, this show hits good time breather out of the park.

Also, the cast is just pretty. And Simon Baker is apparently something akin to Australian gold dust, so let’s just say that the show is very easy on the eyes.

Needs Improvement: Really, the show is a ratings success, so I doubt there will be any shaking up of this formula. I don’t have much hope for the storylines getting less obvious, so my next request... character backstories.

It’s not all fun and games in The Mentalist; lead character Patrick Jane has a torturous background that seriously rivals that of most characters on TV today. Wife and daughter murdered by a serial killer Patrick was unable to capture when helping the police as a pretend psychic? Ouch. I know the Red John storyline is going to continue for a long while, but we really only learn anything about Patrick when it revolves around this plot, and the show and his personality do quite a 180 at those times. I think that’s the point, but some more continuity, some more building of character arcs would help this show build a solid base and will stand it apart from the average feel-good dramas.

And side note: for a show that plays on the word “Red” for its episode names, you’d think the Red John plot would be utilized a whole lot more.

Interpersonal Dynamics: Patrick Jane/Teresa Lisbon – it’s going to be slow to develop, but you know there’s something there already. He trusts her, which says a lot since he doesn’t speak about the Red John incident to just anyone, and she has a pretty difficult past of her own. Step one for bonding!

Wayne Rigsby/Grace Van Pelt – probably most people’s favorite couple. It’s adorable, it’s sweet, she’s innocent, he’s protective, and you know Grace is going to fall for him (to hell with regulations!) soon.

Kimball Cho – my new TV boyfriend; thus, the ‘ship is him and me. It’s awesome. There will be websites, you just wait. But really, you’ll find it hard not to love the juvie and military record backstory combined with the deadpan delivery style and dry wit.

The characters together never fail to amuse, and as a cast, they seem to actually like working with one another, and that very nicely translates as such on screen.

Particularly Notable: Not the best, nor my favorite episode, but “Red Handed” is one of those episodes that I remember often. Seeing Patrick at work in a casino with his observation skills, and the team’s interactions during the whole gift giving/returning scenes is great and a good example of the light-hearted humor that makes this show a winner.

Pay Attention To: The Red John plotline; a second season means more interaction, more development, and some more insight into Patrick’s past. Rigsby/Van Pelt; you know it’s going to happen.

Overall Score: 3.5 Stars.

Season Two premiers in the U.S. on September 24th.

4 Responses to “Fall Season 2009: The Mentalist”

Breda said...

I want to watch this mostly because I'm a huge fan of Psych (and loved that they mocked the similarities on this season's premiere). So while this show will definitely be missing some of my favorite things about Psych (like, for example, Juliet, who is basically me in TV form), I've heard a lot of good things.

Anonymous said...

Rigsby/ Van Pelt is so going to happen - and I pretty much can't wait. Love her trying to be tough and him trying to not be awkward all the time.

zara said...

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somia said...

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