Thursday, August 26, 2010

Psych best USA has to offer

    In a network filled with the best procedurals on television, most of the few worth watching, Psych stands out as the current best. Seven episodes (out of nine airing this summer) into it's fifth season, it's also the longest running, with the departure of Monk after eight years last fall. The reason it works so well is it's just so fun! The show stars James Roday and Dulé Hill (The West Wing) as Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster, better known as Gus, but often introduced by Shawn with a variety of odd nicknames. The two make up the Psych detective agency, which works freelance for the Santa Barbara Police Department, helping them solve crimes, frequently involving murder. Shawn pretends to be a psychic, but is just highly observant. Gus, his best friend since childhood, supposedly holds a regular job, which he hasn't been shown at in some time, and is persuaded by Shawn to help out.

     This season, things have changed slightly, now that Shawn's father, retired cop Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen, L.A. Law, Major League) has been brought in by the police to coordinate all consultant hires. Although Henry is in on their scheme, he is often helped them in the past, and still does, although sometimes making them work a little harder to earn their keep. Their boss is Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), who often has little, if any, plot. The cast is rounded out by police detectives Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson, Judging Amy), who hates them, and Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson), who tolerates them much better.

      This year started out with a couples of sub-par episodes, but the last couple have been back to the usual standard. In last night's offering, Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies) played a prison guard who lost some inmates, and Shawn and Gus helped him track the cons down. Recent episodes have also been bolstered by an extra long version of the theme song, arguably the best part of the series in the extended form. The shorter cut isn't very good.

     Next week, Psych will guest star Nestor Carbonell (Lost).  Psych has only two episodes left this summer, but will return in November for seven more, including the show's third Christmas special, which this year will have It's a Wonderful Life as it's theme. Considering how good special episodes of Psych usually are, I am certainly looking forward to it.

     Psych airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on USA.

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