Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Just A Pretty Face - The Mentalist - 2008 Fall TV Pilot Preview

The Mentalist - Premieres Tuesday Sept. 23rd at 9pm on CBS, on Monday, Sept 22nd at 10pm on AChannel (in Canada)

First off, we have the winner for the worst named show of the year. Luckily, the show itself is nearly not as horrific as the name. And it's mostly for one reason, and the main reason I decided to check the show out in the first place and it is this:

Simon Baker stars as Patrick Jane, the "mentalist" in question. A detective who uses his observation skills and human psychology knowledge to profile his suspects and "see" things the rest of us bypass. He used to con people as a fake "psychic" but now he uses his powers for good, probably because his family was brutally murdered by a serial killer who leaves a happy face in blood as a mark.

Happy times.

The show verges on the gratuitously obscene and there are clear CBSism that are frustratingly punctured throughout the show yet I kept watching and was intrigued enough to stay on and find out more.

Yes, it's another procedural, yes, it has Robin Tunney (Prison Break) who continues her pursuit in making it hard to love her, and yes, it partly feeds us the viewers the answers in an effort to dumb down the show all while making us feel smart but the show is still smart enough to keep it all flowing in a curiously entertaining way.

Plus an amazing guest star roster in the pilot including Jeffrey Nordling (Once and Again), Steven Culp (Desperate Housewives) and Gail O'Grady (NYPD Blue) gets bonus points from me.

On the permanent cast, there's Owain Yeoman left to be a glorified extra in the pilot but I'm guessing they aren't hiring him just to stand around (I hope) and hopefully they will use some of his comedic skills demonstrated in Kitchen Confidential to lighten up the show, or his action/drama skills demonstrated in The Sarah Connor Chronicles as part of the crime solving team.

Amanda Righetti (The OC, North Shore) gets a role where she doesn't have to tart it up (or stand around in a bikini) and you can tell she's loving being taken seriously for once, though almost to the point of dowdiness, so I still hope her flair for bitchy dramatics gets to show through a bit.

Tim Kang rounds out the team to add some Asian flavour to the mix. Finally. With all the procedurals or medical shows around, you'd think they would realistically throw in a few more Asians in the labs or hospitals.

In the end though, the show belongs to Simon Baker, previously of The Guardian. The Guardian was one of those shows that wasn't all that bad, but mainly you stopped to look at Baker's pretty face. It's pretty much the same here but now you get a nice mystery behind it and Baker gets to act all Sherlock Holmesy which is more fun to watch than you think.

Now if only Tunney can show an emotion as Jane's partner, it would be nice.

The Mentalist won't get me addicted but it's far more entertaining than I imagined and gets a solid *** (3 stars out of 5) from me.

Here's the video preview:

For more Reviews and Previews of the 2008 Fall TV Season, Check here.

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