Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Love a Man with a Flexible Mind

-- You know what your problem is my friend? You enjoy your job a little too much. You're a ghoul. If you don't get horny reading Fangoria then I'm Britney Spears. --Patrick Jane from The Mentalist Every fall I get into the new series television shows. I rarely commit to a new series because I just don't have the time, but I like to see what the new ones are all about. I had to watch "The Mentalist" for one reason. Simon Baker. I know. I shouldn't be lured in by handsome men. But I can't help myself. But I've liked Baker for awhile now. He was on the TV show "Smith" a couple of years ago and played a very convincing, very scary, psychopath. I actually wished that show hadn't been cancelled. Anyway, I was intrigued by the plot of "The Mentalist." Baker stars as Patrick Jane, a former con man who gamed people by using his powers of observation to convince them he was a psychic. After his con causes a personal tragedy he becomes a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation. The show is interesting. It mixes humor with some Sherlock Holmes type bits of deduction. James is meant to be smarter, or least more observant, than everyone else. At times it works but like a lot of network TV show it's also heavy handed-- I guess because they don't want to make the plot too difficult for the masses to follow. Is this a show that has a future? Hard to say. Baker is fun to watch and he has a lot of charisma. I think the main characters will end up fusing together well and create a good core cast. My big question is whether or not the writers will be able to keep the show intelligent enough to keep people interested. I've been watching "Bones" over the last couple of years and I can't help but feel that for all the scientists are supposed to be more intelligent than the average Joe, they're getting dumber and dumber each season. The most interesting think about Jane's character so far is his atheism. After all his years convincing people that he can connect with the "other side" he has come away feeling that there is no such thing as an afterlife. When one investigator says to him that the "Kingdom of God" is real and that there is a life after this one, he replies I sure hope you're wrong... I also like the cynical pokes the show takes at celebrated psychics like John Edwards. You can see how someone like Jane could convince people that he knows about them because he has contacted a long-lost, dead relative by reading their mannerisms and playing to their egos. You can also see how, despite evidence to the contrary, that people will believe someone is psychic just because they want to. But does that mean that psychics don't exist? One investigator doesn't think so and says to Jane, I think you really are psychic. You just don't want to admit it. I guess you could say that there are a few glimmers of a show that might be half-way decent. I also like that it's likely to be a crime-of-the-week kind of show. Oh sure, there will be an ongoing storyline as well, but I bet if I miss an episode here and there I can still pick it up again without too much difficulty. So I'll give it a go for a little while and see if it can stay smart and not dumb itself down for all of us slow-witted viewers. I'm not sure how hopeful I can be on that point though...


Virginia Lady said...

I haven't seen the show, but I wonder how it will do. There's already a show with the same concept. Psych. The star is James Roday with Dule Hill as his best friend and partner. It's in its third season I believe.

Will the handsome Simon Baker and different writers make a better show? Should be interesting to see how it plays out. I think he's very cool as well.

Charles Gramlich said...

I had hopes for Fringe, though, and have basically given up on it. I didn't see this, though it sounds interesting.

SQT said...


Baker is the main draw from me right now but I'm not sure if it'll be enough. We'll see.


No Fringe for you huh? I still like it. The Mentalist didn't tickle my fancy as much, but it may develop into something over time.

Steve Malley said...

That Fangoria comment was too easy. I mean, who doesn't see those Frazetta paintings of Vampirella and feel a little funny belowstairs? :)

I don't watch crime shows. Before The Wire, they all pissed me off, with their cardboard plots and audience-friendly banality.

After The Wire, well, 'apres Le Cable, le deluge!'