Friday, January 11, 2008

Psych – Fake Psychic, Real Detectives

PsychShawn, Gus and the rest of the Psych crew return for the start of their third season tonight, Friday January 11th, on the USA Network at 10/9 Central. For the past two years Psych has really entertained The Blot with its unique brand of mystery and goofy comedy (and was ranked eighth on The Blot’s Top 10 Cable Television Shows of 2007). In fact, Psych might just be one of the funniest detective shows on television, if not ever. If you haven’t yet started to watch the great original programming of the USA Network you really need to try out some of their shows. They have quietly grown a stable of shows that continually outshines every other cable network and almost rivals the cable pay channels of HBO and Showtime.

Corbin Bernsen, James Roday & Dule HillI originally started watching the show because I am a huge fan of Dule Hill from his days on the hit NBC show The West Wing, but quickly found myself returning to watch week after week because of the well rounded ensemble cast. The show stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer and Hill as Burton “Gus” Guster as a pair of childhood friends who, after Shawn convinces the Santa Barbra Police Department that he is psychic, start a psychic detective agency appropriately named Psych. The catch, and where most of the comedy comes from, is in the fact that Shawn has absolutely no psychic abilities and yet is now considered the Santa Barbra Police Department’s resident psychic. In reality he just has incredible observational skills from years of intense training as a child by his father, retired policeman Henry Spencer played by television star Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law, Major League).

Maggie Lawson & James RodayWhat ensues each week is your typical detective show crime but without any of the typical solving of the case. As the ads for Psych put it, it’s “All the Law. None of the Order.” Each week a new crime occurs and Shawn and Gus have to somehow work their way onto the case by convincing Police Chief Karen Vick, played by Kirsten Nelson, that their rare skills are desperately needed. More often than not, they’re paired with Detectives Carlton “Lassi” Lassiter, played by Tim Omundson, and Juliet O’Hara, played by Maggie Lawson.

Tim OmundsonThere is a real love/hate relationship between Lassi and Shawn, and Lassiter doesn’t hide the fact that he “would sooner arrest Shawn than follow any of his psychic visions.” (link) But, more often than not Shawn saves the day and catches the bad guys with his so-called “visions.” Psych is just fun television and isn’t serialized like most popular TV is these days, so you can catch episodes as you please without missing a beat. If you’re home tonight with nothing to do or have space on your DVR for one more show, set the TV to USA and catch up on some Psych.

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