Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Mentalist

Airing Tuesdays @ 9pm on CBS.

This is the first screener so far this year that I hadn't made it around to reading the script yet... so no preconceptions and I have no idea what it's about or what's going to happen.

Okay, so it's a CBS show and we naturally start at a crime scene. But Simon Baker is there being mysterious and silent and pretty while watching other officers cart away some kid for some girl's murder. There's a press conference right then and there (weird) with the father of the murdered girl talking and Simon Baker notices the body language of the guy's wife. Blah blah blah, Simon Baker confronts the wife in their home and just by looking at her, nails several key attributes about her and her life. Psychic? No he just reads people very well (he's observant... but he used to pretend he was a psychic... on TV...) Husband/father comes in, Simon Baker accuses him of being the real murdered, blah blah, wife goes off and gets a gun and kills her husband.

This is all a character-introduction preamble to the pilot's actual case involving a serial killer (on CBS? shock!) named "Red John". Oh, apparently because of Simon Baker being a douchebag, he was put on suspension. I'm actually not sure if Simon Baker and his people are detectives or FBI (okay, they work for the "California Bureau of Investigations"... so, something in between??) Anyway, his people are played by Robin "Wooden Actress" Tunney (whose character, interaction with Simon Baker implies, was probably romantically entangle with Simon Baker or wishes she were), Owain Yeoman (who has thus far been relocated to background stoicism... why isn't this guy a star, already?), a silent Asian man, and some random girl in the "rookie mistake" role.

I'm writing too much tangential to watching the pilot, so I'm going to watch the next 35 minutes and then write... because, really, I could sarcastically go on for hours, but there's no point because thus far, this is nothing more than typical.

I don't get why they use the pilot to do a case that is a COPYCAT of a serial killer the main character has been involved with trying to catch for several years instead of something with the ACTUAL serial killer (considering there is PLENTY of talk and background on said actual serial killer... I guess the show wanted/needed a crime to be SOLVED during the pilot).

Sigh, everyone wants House as a cop show... Baker's Patrick Jane is a semi-abrasive, semi-charming character. While the show gives Patrick a tragic, hubris-y backstory, he's just not nearly as intriguing as Gregory House. Simon Baker is just too pretty to be as truly in-your-face assholic as a House-like role demands. Worse yet, his character seems to know how good looking he is.

In addition, the show does not deliver a Wilson character, which, as I think the House finale showed, is all-important to that show's character mix. The Mentalist has a Cuddy (Tunney), and the original three assistant types (cute boy/Chase, minority/Foreman, naive girl/Cameron), but no Wilson.

Direction, by David Nutter, is of course great. But I don't see this sticking out from any other procedural crime show on the air, particularly on CBS, where there is obviously already a glut of them.

Plus, it's against Fringe, which will be one of fall's biggest buzz shows, and will have House as a lead-in. Better than a presumably old-skewing show going up against Dancing with the Stars and having NCIS as a lead-in.

Next: Not sure, have to wait for my next batch to come in. I believe CBS's "The Ex List" is going to be in that, not sure what else. So let's say "The Ex List" is next...

1 comment:

ncjl said...

Am I the only one who's ever watched Psych? You would think that after that show came out they would try to change the premise a little. I have to say that as Campy and low as the humour is on Psych I can't help but like it.

check out my Lost blog at www.ncjl.wordpress.com