The Mentalist: a skeptical drama on TV!

By Phil Plait | September 23, 2008 8:30 am
Simon Baker, starring in The Mentalist
Simon Baker, gone mental

I know, hard to believe (HAHAHAhahahaha!), isn’t it? But a new show premiers tonight on CBS, and it looks to be pretty skeptical in its view. Actively so, in fact!

Simon Baker will star as The Mentalist, a man who uses his keen abilities of observation to solve crimes. He can pick up small clues and then synthesize them, allowing him to see the big picture in a case. It’s a bit like "House", but for a detective and not a doctor. The CBS website has clips and background info on the show, and there is also a clip on YouTube, but for some reason — CBS, this is the 21st Century, hello! — they have disallowed embedding.

This is a trick used by a great many stage performers. My friend Banachek is the best in the world at this — seriously — and his abilities are truly astonishing. He can tell you what word you’re thinking of, give you the date on a coin in your pocket, and do all manners of incredible stunts that would make you swear he’s psychic. And he’ll be the first to tell you he isn’t.

It looks like The Mentalist will be all about this. The main character, Patrick Jane, once made a ton of money pretending to be a psychic, but has since reformed. Given the preview clips, I have a lot of hope that this show will mainstream the idea that the so-called psychics you seen TV are either self-deluded or frauds. It’s amazing to me to see these performers fish for information, doing a very sloppy job trying to fool the public — yet succeeding so well that they make millions of dollars. It’s very aggravating to see people allowing themselves be fooled so utterly.

Maybe when they see Jane’s character bluntly destroying such folly, they’ll absorb the idea that reality is a lot cooler and more fun than what the snake-oil sellers would have you believe. I know Mrs. BA and I will be watching (though in her case, I suspect the fact that Simon Baker is significantly dreamy has something to do with that). The show looks like it’ll be pretty good, and I’m looking forward to it.


Comments (116)

  1. Hater

    Blatant rip-off of USA Network’s Psych. Let the hate begin.

  2. Todd W.

    So, a serious version of Psych?

  3. Chris

    Not knocking the show or anything, but it seems like a dramatic version of “Psych” on USA…

  4. zach

    It looks a lot like Psych to me, but a drama instead of a comedy.

  5. Paul

    Yeah I liked it better when it was called Psych. Oh wait Psych is still on USA.

  6. sort of a sexy Sherlock Holmes with a sexy female side-kick/boss/antagonist? Sweet.

  7. TheBlackCat

    I lost faith in CBS when they had that terrible “psychic investigator” episode on Numb3rs, where he employed all the standard psychic tricks and was clearly set up to be a total phony but ended up winning over the FBI in the end.

  8. RL

    Yeah, it sounds a lot like Pysch to me. Thats one of my favorite shows and its funny as heck. We’ll see how a drama plays out.

  9. Simon Baker = Aussie = win!

    Bwaa Ha Ha Ha Ha… our takeover of Hollywood is complete…

  10. Michelle

    That doesn’t sound bad. Beyond the fact that it’s CBS and CBS has that terrible Ghost Whisperer show where everyone is unbelievers and thinks she’s crazy and then by the end they all believe easily and sob! I know it’s fiction, but it’s made in such a way that goes “Skeptics are always WRONG! SEE?”

    Now when will NBC ditch that terrible Medium show?

  11. It definitely smacks of a rip-off of Psych, which is an excellent show.

  12. Dave M

    Phil, give credit where credit is due. This show is just a ripoff of “Psych”.

  13. Dave M

    Oops I forgot to mention in my response that Psych should be supported by all skeptics, not only for making fun of the idea of psychics and consistently stating plainly that there is no such thing, but also showing other seemingly supernatural phenomenon to have simple, rational answers.

    Plus it’s quite funny.

  14. Murff

    CBS can’t do better than Psych, no way. The two guys on Psych are very good together.

  15. I’ve seen the first episode of this new show. I won’t give any spoilers, but I loved it and am really looking forward to more episodes. I hope this TV Show has a long run.

  16. Ian Menzies

    It kinda reminds me of a drama version of “Psych” (on USA)

  17. Zach

    The main difference is on Psych, Shauwn is actively conning people into believing he’s psychic (even though we the viewer realize its all fake). Gus is the only one he mocks for believing in the supernatural, though the principal characters with the poolice all seem to know and just look the other way. Regardless, if the Mentalist is actively telling prople psychics are fake, thats a big difference. I LOVE Psych, but its always sort of taken the stance that believing in psychics is harmless.

  18. Gareth

    And I guess Psych was probably a slight reformatting of Jonathan Creek… (Yes, I know Creek was a magic technician rather than a psychic/mentalist, but it’s all along the same lines! ;o) )

  19. noophy

    Who cares if it’s a rip off of Psych! Don’t be so naive, we need more shows like this. As if every crime drama is not a rip off of something similar. I downloaded the pilot last week and I enjoyed it. I am currently downloading Psych, but if Zach is right about how Psych portrays psychics as being harmless, it will probably just annoy me.

  20. Wow, such hate for a show you haven’t even seen yet.

    Glad to know that we don’t need any more skeptical shows on TV. [rolleyes]

  21. Todd W.


    Don’t get me wrong. I think it will be a great show, from what I’ve seen of the commercials, and I’m glad they’re doing it, especially to reach those who don’t have cable and are unable to see something like Psych. Just wanted to point out the similarities, is all. So, relax. Take a breath, and remember…it’s just a show. :)

  22. I’m a huge fan of Psych. It’s such a fun show that I find it’s enthusiasm and cheekiness infectious. So, when I heard about this show, I was “Oh, that’s just Psych sans the whimsy!” I was fully prepared to actively hate and spurn this show.

    Then I saw the first episode, and… I really, really liked it. It was really well done. The main character is likable, flawed and a deeply wounded individual. His move from Fake-Psychic to Detective is spelled out in this episode, and it sets up what will no doubt be the course of the first season.

    There is a character who believes in Psychic phenomenon and rambles on about “The Kingdom of God” but the central character is someone unmoved by it, and personally I like him. He may not be as much fun as Shawn Spencer, but he’s got some depth.

    Give it a shot.

  23. Brad

    Did anybody mention Psych yet?

  24. The Man Version

    This sounds like something I’ve seen on USA. Maybe some BABloggee will remind me…

    I’m looking forward to seeing this myself, even though I haven’t forgiven the actor for kissing Anne Hathaway in the Prada movie. I’m pretty unforgiving towards people who kiss Anne Hathaway. But if he really does a good job stepping on the Uri Gellars out there, I’ll grudgingly let it go.

    The missus… ummm, The Woman Version, I guess… is bouncing in her seat about this show. As long as it doesn’t get between me any Felicia Da–… er… House.

  25. RoaldFalcon

    I’d like to be the first to point out that this new show appears to bear a superficial similarity with “Psych” on the USA network.

    Of course the more skeptical shows, the better!

  26. Hey, this looks a lot like Psych! Did anyone mention Psych? If not, I think I better point out that Psych is on USA and it’s just like this! Psych! Psych! Psych!

  27. Michael Campbell


    Wow, such love for a show you haven’t even seen yet.

    Glad to know that we don’t need any more blogs about astronomy. [rolleyes]

    (Oh, wait, didn’t this used to be one?)

    Seriously man, there isn’t hate being shown that I can see. Only that this is a blatant ripoff.

  28. theinquisitor

    I have a bad feeling some people will react with: “Oh how typically unrealistic for TV, as if you could do that without actually being psychic”

  29. Ferin

    Eh, it looks like a dramatic version of Psych from USA, as many others have pointed out. I guess I’m just getting fed up with all the crime shows out there right now.

  30. theinquisitor

    If this show and Psych are the same, then House and Scrubs are the same, and they aren’t. So there.

  31. Beelzebud

    How is it a blatant ripoff when it’s not a comedy?

    The show psych didn’t invent this concept, people…

  32. Beezlebud is right. Sherlock Holmes anyone?

  33. Jose

    It’s not a Psych rip off. The music they play when he zeros in on a clue is completely different!

  34. Mrs. BA

    You’re all missing the point here. Simon Baker, is really, really, really hot! Also, it’s a skeptical show.

  35. AtheistAcolyte

    Actually, it’s more like Grey’s Anatomy is to Scrubs.

    Should we swoon over a TV show, even one with a clearly derivative “hook”, just because it seems to endorse our worldview? I didn’t realize being a “skeptic” meant I had to suspend my desire for original entertainment.

    Call me when you find a show about a millionaire former-magician/mentalist who travels the world over debunking frauds and shams who prey on vulnerable people.

  36. AtheistAcolyte

    Or about a modest astronomer from the Rockies who punches Moon-hoaxers in the face. I’d pay HBO rates for that. :-)

  37. Should we swoon over a TV show, even one with a clearly derivative “hook”, just because it seems to endorse our worldview?
    Yes, didn’t you get the memo? Give it a chance. I’m looking forward to a piece of entertainment that does endorse my world view for a change.

    I didn’t realize being a “skeptic” meant I had to suspend my desire for original entertainment.
    There is no such thing as original entertainment. Look for originality in interpretation. Also, have you seen it yet?

  38. Bazza

    Uh Phil, it’s not “hate for a show they haven’t seen yet”, what you’re seeing here is healthy and vigorous skepticism at work. These people are eyes wide open, seeing the plagiarism of material for exactly what it is, rather than being duped by flashy media releases.

    It’s a two edged sword mate.

    By the by, Psych is merely a reworking of the BBS’s Jonathan Creek, as a solitary earlier poster mentioned. The latter is a far superior program as it happens, those of you shamelessly stating you’re downloading these shows could do worse than to take a peek at it.

  39. AtheistAcolyte

    I probably will watch it eventually, but I doubt I’ll want to watch it regularly. I already have my TV schedule planned out, and I’ve got enough dramas to make Richard Simmons depressed. :-)

    “There is no such thing as original entertainment. Look for originality in interpretation.”

    Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all read through I thought psych was a very good original interpretation. I just don’t see why I, or anyone else for that matter, should be excited about a show that has an indistinguishable blurb from another (with the exception of “comedy” ==> “drama”).

    I suppose I should feel a little better about a major network pushing this, rather than USA for psych. Wider audience base and all that. We’ll just have to see, and especially see when ratings start flagging going into sweeps.

  40. This sounds soooo similar to USA’s psych that if I were USA I’d look at copyright infringement.

  41. Gnat

    I, for one, am excited about this. Psych is one of my favorite shows, but sometimes I don’t want all comedy. That being said, my VCR isn’t working, and I want to watch Eureka’s season finale more. I’ll catch the second episode of The Mentalist. :)

  42. Monsignor Henry Clay

    @Phil & Mrs. BA,

    Saying we should like it just ‘cuz it’s a show based in skepticism (even if it’s utilizing an idea from an already existing and currently airing show) is like saying women should vote for Sarah Palin ‘cuz she doesn’t have to wear a cup.

    That’s a lazy argument.

    I think we’re all going to give it a chance, but it’s just that none of us like plagiarists.

  43. Dave M

    Phil, come ON. Hate? No. Obviously I haven’t seen it, I don’t know whether it’s any good or not.

    But the premise is a total ripoff of Psych, that is undeniable.

    As far as Psych portraying believing in psychics as harmless, what do you want? You want every episode to end with a lesson about “.. and that’s why you don’t believe in the supernatural.” Give me a break, that would be tedious and annoying (unless it was hosted by Randi.)

    The show isn’t about that, it’s a detective show with a twist, and it does a good job of treating supernatural belief as the comically stupid thing that it is. The best way to get people to abandon something is to make it a target of ridicule.

  44. PG

    I also remember a story (by Asimov?) about a man given the power of total memory recall. He seemed super-intelligent and/or psychic, but he merely just remembered everything. (I hope I’m not getting this confused with “Flowers for Algernon”, but I may be!) I think it’s interesting to note the theme of “if you just had enough information everything can be explained scientifically” in many of these new shows and old stories. (Not to bring everything back to Doctor Who, but… this is also a theme of many classic Doctor Who stories, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it 30 years ago, and why I imagine Phil is also drawn to it.)

  45. Mrs. BA

    @Monsignor Henry Clay

    Can you show me where, exactly, Phil or I said you should like it? It would be absurd for Phil or anyone else to tell their readers what they should like. He merely expressed his excitement over a network show with a skeptical bent and suggested that like-minded probably might want to give it a try. I merely expressed my excitement over getting to watch Simon Baker. Neither of us presumed to tell you what you should like. It’s possible the show will be so bad that I won’t watch it even to see the lead actor (doubtful – it would have to be REALLY bad.)

    You can watch the show or not, but don’t get your knickers in a twist over something that was never said just because you don’t share our enthusiasm.

  46. First, I never said we have to like the show because it’s skeptical. In fact, I say I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself, and that it looks pretty good.

    Second, yes, “hate”. Saying something is a “ripoff” isn’t exactly love, is it? I’m not saying people here are loathing this show, I am using “hate” in the colloquial manner, like “they be hatin'”. And again, without seeing it you have no idea if it’s a ripoff or not. When you describe any show in one or two sentences it’s going to sound just like another show.

    The fact is, if you haven’t seen it yet, you don’t know if it’s good or not, and you don’t know if it’s a ripoff or not. That is skepticism. It may very well be awful, and it may plagiarize Psych word for word. But until you see it, you can’t know.

  47. I don’t think anyone mentioned this, that I could see, but it seems like USA’s “Psych”

    *Ducking from tomato hurled my was by Mr. & Mrs. BA*

    I don’t have much faith in CBS on giving good new shows a chance since the canned Jericho, which was one of the better shows IMHO

  48. BA said:
    “But until you see it, you can’t know.”

    Does anyone see the irony in that statement! :)

  49. AtheistAcolyte


    I was feelin’ it too, but I thought I was the only one.

  50. Will

    Man, why is everyone in such a crabby mood today?
    Phil never said “OMG THIS SHOW RULES.” It’s a blog about astronomy and skepticism, and he’s excited about a new skeptical drama, and now so am I. I really don’t understand why everyone feels so wounded about this. I watch Psych, too, so what? It’s a different show.
    Every show EVER is a “ripoff” of some story, book, or older show. Star Wars is a ripoff, Lord of the Rings is a ripoff, but they’re still amazing. General Hospital and The Doctors came out in 1963, so should we boycott any show set in a hospital, because they just “stole the idea?”
    Considering how many dozens of shows/movies/games are literally rip-offs, I’m amazed by how many people seem “angry” at a show they should be excited before. But I guess you’re right, only one skeptical show should be allowed to air at a time. Bring on a few dozen more ghost/alien/monster shows!

  51. Todd W.

    I’m sure that there is enough of a difference between Psych and The Mentalist to avoid the 100% rip-off label, but there are some rather striking similarities:

    Shawn Spencer and Patrick Jane both pretend or pretended to have psychic powers. They both have extraordinarily keen powers of observation. In both shows (judging from the commercials), when a detail is noticed, the camera view homes in on and editing highlights the detail. Both solve crimes. Both work with the police, though not necessarily by their invitation.

    Now, both of these shows may also bear the same similarities to Jonathan Creek, but I haven’t seen or heard of that, so I can’t comment there.

    So, based on what is available of this new show (clips, commercials, text descriptions all together), the similarities are rather a lot. Calling it a rip-off or even just strikingly similar to Psych is, well, justified based on the evidence at hand and isn’t really “hatin'”. “Dissin'”, maybe, but not “hatin'”, yo.

  52. noophy

    Will, right on! I would only differ that LOTR was a ripoff. Tolkien wrote the mythology as a backdrop for his language. Yes, many of the ideas and themes were not new, but I would politely disagree that it was a ripoff. As I said though, right on!

  53. Jose

    Every show EVER is a “ripoff” of some story, book, or older show.
    Webster was not a rip-off! And I don’t want to hear anyone trotting out the tired old “Diffrent Strokes” or “George Papadapolis = Mongo” arguments.

  54. Mrs. BA

    Is it time yet for someone to compare “The Mentalist” to Hitler? At least then we could say the argument is over.

  55. AtheistAcolyte

    Will, I would just hope that those who promote skeptical fare in our television schedules would have more options than derivative works. That’s all. Is “keenly-observant-detective-who-is-a[n-ex]-fake-psychic” really all that skeptics can come up with?

    Who knows? Maybe the show will be a phenomenal success in the education of the public in the skeptical viewpoint. I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen in promotional materials and clips, I am skeptical.

  56. Jim

    I have to admit that when I saw the title of the series, I had a knee-jerk reaction to roll my eyes at another pro-psychic series, but then I saw the previews and started looking forward to it. It sure looks like it treats things skeptically and hopefully it will join my short list of favorite shows like Bones and Numb3rs (despite Numb3rs wimpy treatment of the psychic…).

    Yeah, so it’s similar to Psych (haven’t seen that, but after this comment discussion, I’m going to look for it), but how many procedural dramas are on TV these days – CSI, Cold Case, Without a Trace, Law & Order (and it’s spinoffs), etc. As Phil said a ways back, are there really too many skeptical shows on TV? We need about 5 for every Ghost Whisperer or Medium that is on the tewbs to inoculate the masses.

  57. Ticknick

    I liked this so much about the BBC Sherlock Holmes TV series in the eighties. Holmes reconstructing complete pictures by paying attention to details. Of course it’s fiction, but Derren Brown seems to be good at it too. At least if what is in his shows is not staged from A to Z.

  58. Molly

    While this show seems very similar to Psych, I think there are big differences. Eighties pop culture references and goofy banter don’t appeal to everyone and therefore they can watch The Mentalist. It certainly seems to be a “more the merrier” situation to me. Personally, I think I’m going to wait for new Psych episodes.

  59. Law Mom

    Maybe it’s a ripoff of Gerry McCambridge.

  60. PG Says:
    I also remember a story (by Asimov?) about a man given the power of total memory recall. He seemed super-intelligent and/or psychic, but he merely just remembered everything.

    Sounds like the single season John Doe (starring a current star of Prison Break: Dominic Purcell.)
    Can’t recall the Asimov story, but it wasn’t Flowers for Algernon you’re referring to.


  61. Davidlpf

    A few points
    a)If it is like house but with skeptical detective sounds like a good show.
    b)I also wish they kept Jericho on.
    C)Will not be watching it because I hardly ever get tuesdays off.
    d) no one show copying another like that has never been done before.
    Walks off in suit of armour within a forcefield.

  62. PG

    Mrs. BA: Is it time yet for someone to compare “The Mentalist” to Hitler?

    This is just the kjind of show that Hitler would LOVE! (There- are we done yet?)

  63. Davidlpf

    No, what we need now is some one telling us that we do not what we are talking about because since we can not have Hitler in a lab to tell us he liked the show it is just speculation whether he liked it.
    (yes I was poking fun at certain person and was not PG or the Dr. & Mrs. BA)

  64. Ummm, why didn’t anyone point out the fact that Psych is very similar???

  65. Davidlpf

    No, never saw any posts pointing out what it is similar to Psych.

  66. The Dr, & Mrs. BA… hey, now that sounds like a good name for a TV show!

  67. Davidlpf

    Fighting crime using astronomy, a lot more realistic fighting crime with psychic powers.

  68. Diego

    He sounds a bit like Sherlock Holmes. Holmes never pretended to be psychic, but he loved to astound by breaking into people’s thoughts. And with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous weakness for spiritualists and other woo there is a nice bit of symmetry there.

  69. Amanda

    Hey Phil

    While not strictly about this TV show, here’s a skeptic here in New Zealand trying to debunk the TV Crime Psychic myth, but getting stymied…

    “Sceptic offers $100,000 to ‘Sensing Murder’ psychics”

    I <3 passive aggressive "we don't talk to non-believers"

  70. @Davidlpf:
    Yeah he can go around bashing criminals on the head with his 10″ Dobsonian. Maybe Mrs. BA could… I dunno, bake cookies…? :)

  71. Jose

    If you haven’t seen Psych I can understand why you don’t understand what the hubbub is about. For me it’s not so much that though “Let’s make our own Psych, only ours will be a drama” thing that’s a problem. It’s the way they’ve done a lot of the little things (And yes, I’ve only seen the promos). I’m a fan of the Law an Orders and other similar shows. But if new crime drama came out, and it used the Law an Order back from commercial noise, I’d be a bit put off. I’ll still watch it, though.

    How about The Scarecrow & Mrs. BA.

    They and their smart alec talking car, a monkey named Boots, an of course Robo-Teddy Roosevelt take on evil Darwinist Nazi’s.

  72. Jose

    Wait. Scratch that. I think that was a show on the WB.

  73. Davidlpf

    In general I do not like comparing shows, if they are good on there own merits than there are good even though there are similar. Most TV shows have similarities to other shows just with different twists. All this Psych vs. The Mentalists stuff reminds of Starwars vs. Startrek discussions I remember seeing about a decade ago on the earlier versions of the tubes.(I think I need that armour again.)

  74. Mrs. BA

    @ Jose

    It’s funny you would say Scarecrow & Mrs. BA. When I was in high school that was my favorite show. I had a HUGE crush on Bruce Boxleitner. Of course, now that I’m an adult, I don’t have crushes on actors. ; )

    Also, in that show Mrs. King was divorced (I think, or her husband was dead), so I’d have to eliminate the BA somehow. Since I’m rather fond of him, I’ll have to let that fantasy go.

  75. JB of Brisbane

    It’s interesting how many people (including the person about thirty comments down the list who wrote “Let me be the first to say…”) are willing to write The Mentalist off as a rip-off just on the basis of a brief outline of the show. If you think back about twenty years to Quantum Leap, the outline – man running time travel experiments out in desert, threatened with loss of funding if no results produced, steps into experiment and sends himself back in time – sounds like a rip-off of the Irwin Allen series The Time Tunnel. However, Quantum Leap was everything The Time Tunnel should have been but wasn’t, largely because QL was produced by Donald P. Bellisario and TTT was produced by Irwin Allen.

  76. Jose

    @Mrs. BA
    What make you think the BA is not the new Scarecrow?

  77. mk

    Totally fun. House then Mentalist… every Tuesday!

    Thanks for the heads up Phil!

  78. mk

    I just read through a fair number of early comments…

    Man! There are some pissy people in here tonight! Lighten up folks.

  79. BigBadSis

    Loved it!!! He is so very dreamy… Pretty sad individual, though. Loved the last scene. Can’t wait till next week!

  80. Mrs BA, my better half was also a huge fan of Bruce Boxleitner… coincidently he was on the latest episode of Heroes and let’s just say he now gets to play older governor type guy roles.

  81. @Shane…. OH D*MMIT! Heroes started on Monday and I missed it!

  82. Kathy S.

    Look, I just want to know the name of the lawyer show I used to watch with Simon Baker starring. I can’t remember.

  83. Jose

    It wasn’t just Bruce Boxleitner. The Actual “Greatest American Hero” was in it as well.

  84. Bruce, William Katt, Malcolm McDowell and George Takei. Expect the world to end sometime soon.

  85. Jose

    Did you have to look up William Katt? I’m ashamed to say I didn’t have to look up George Papadapolis.

    I think I’m just trying trying to squeeze in as many awesome 80’s TV show references as I can now…


  86. I watched it tonight and I thought it was great. We need more shows with skeptical messages like this, regardless of whether they may or may not be similar to other shows that get repeatedly mentioned in blog threads.

    If you missed the premiere tonight, it appears CBS will rerun this episode this coming FRIDAY, September 26th at 8 PM Eastern, but check your local listings of course.

  87. William Katt was in one of my favourite sci-fi movies. Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth. It also starred John Billingsley and came out in 2007.

    Not much in the way of special effects or action but for the cerebrally inclined it is a brilliant movie.

  88. Mrs. BA

    @ Kathy S

    That show was The Guardian. I loved it and have been waiting for Simon Baker to get another TV show ever since. Besides being dreamy, he really is a very good actor.

  89. Simon Baker was in the most recent Romero zombie flick too “The Land Of The Dead“. Just another average Aussie bloke – we all look like that.

  90. @ shane
    I think Simon Baker is the only actor that ever made it out of E Street. Unless you count the ditsy chick from Hi-5, but I don’t think she’s acting.

  91. @beche-la-mer
    He was also, rather dubiously, in Home & Away, A Country Practice and Heartbreak High. No Neighbours though or he would have had the full set. How many top tier Aussie actors came through the soapies? Actually it would be easier to count the ones who didn’t.

  92. CanadianLeigh

    @ Michael L.
    You may already know this but just in case; you can go to and watch Heroes episodes online as long as they have already been broadcast. Other than that I have it on my pvr and could burn you a copy if you have a mule in my area to carry your illicet contraband.
    Also CBC is broadcasting Dr. Who again. I have the last episode of that as well.
    I have had no time to watch the telly as of late. It may be a couple of weeks before I can get caught up so please no spoilers.

  93. Bunkie

    I am a fan of Psych and I liked The Mentalist! I just watched it tonight. He makes no bones about the fact that he is NOT a psychic and insists that they do not exist. There is a christian in the group (on the police department) who does believe in them. Of course, this means a bit of conflict, which is handled ‘nicely’ i.e., they behave nice.

  94. @ shane
    Ones who didn’t come through the soapies: Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Anthony La Paglia, Mel Gibson, Jacqueline McKenzie, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Miranda Otto…
    Ones who did: Simon Baker, ummmm…

  95. @CanadianLeigh:
    Thanks for the info, I’ll have to watch it on-line.

  96. @Shane:
    Thanks for the link to Man From Earth. I will definitely be buying it tomorrow!

  97. @beche-la-mer, every body in Australia gets on a soapie at some point including the ones you mentioned. I knew about half of what they’d been in and I looked up the rest.
    Mel Gibson – I know this one, he was in something called Punishment which was spin off of prisoner – soap. Also in The Sullivans – soap.
    Hugh Jackman – Blue Healers – soap.
    Cate Blanchett – Police Rescue and GP – soaps.
    Sam Neill – The Sullivans but he’d been in movies before that.
    Jacqueline McKenzie – A Country Practice but the next thing she did was the brilliant movie Romper Stomper with our…
    Russell Crowe – the biggest soap of all – Neighbours.
    Nicole Kidman – even she did a few of A Country Practice.
    Miranda Otto – A Country Practice & The Flying Doctors.
    Guy Pearce – another Neighbours alumni.
    Anna Torv (Fringe) – Mcleod’s Daughters.
    Heath Ledger – Sweat, a sporty soap.
    Anthony La Paglia – he made the hard way, straight to the USA – no Oz soaps.
    Toni Collette – only movies.
    Rachel Griffiths – some tv but no soaps.
    Hugo Weaving – no soaps.

  98. While it does look somewhat… ahh… derivative… (I’m a “psych” fan) I’ll give it a shot. The intro video looked interesting. As the basic point states – always good to have another skeptic show on. Let’s just hope it’s a good skeptic show (improve OUR ratings), not a bad one. I also hope they make it clear to the audience, at all times, that this is observation and deduction, not woo. The characters may believe all they like, but the audience should never be let down the woo path – that defeats the purpose.

  99. Bunkie

    Scott G – yes, they do make it clear that his ‘insights’ are by observation and deduction, not woo. He states, on the show, that there is no such thing as psychics and if one tells you he is, then he is a fraud and a cheat. He says he is just observant. Plus, any he backs up his conclusions by running down what he observed that lead to them. I’ll watch it again :-)

  100. RL

    I missed the first 56 minutes, so all I got to see was him make a paper frog and sleep on a mattress, no bed or furniture, with a smiley face painted on the wall. That part didn’t seem like Psych at all. In those last four minutes, the lead character seemed mopey but maybe those previous fifty six minutes had something to do with it.

    You know, its a shame that both Psych and the Mentalist aren’t on the same network. Then they could make crossover episodes like Homicide and Law and Order used to do. Oh well.

  101. Celtic_Evolution

    While I enjoyed the show for its premise, and its honesty regarding psychic abilities, from a purely entertainment standpoint I found much of the plot predictable. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as the story is interesting and the characters are well developed and engaging.

    I’m not sold on this cast yet. Robin Tunney is a little wooden, and the “big guy” agent (Rigsby) is so far completely uninteresting. I like Cho’s character, I think they’re trying to mold him into a similar character as Tommy-Lee Jones from MIB… straight-laced, dry humor. And of course Baker is excellent in his role, so far… but the supporting cast needs to have better developed personalities before I can get drawn in to the show. I’ll be giving it at least 3 or 4 more viewings to find out if that’s going to happen.

  102. I hate Psych! I was forced to watch about the first five episodes and luckily managed to get out of seeing any more. How can anyone like that show when the lead is a total d*ck to everyone he knows, including his “best friend?”

    Not once in the early episodes did the writers emphatically state that ALL psychics are frauds, just that this one is. For all I know the little snot-nosed b*st*rd is an evangelical Xian (he sure acts like one).

    Flame on!

  103. Bill Nettles

    The arc of the show is straight out of Monk. Talented observationalist is obsessed about wife’s death. Monk is comedic, the Mentalist is … mental?

    I was REALLY turned off by the Mentalist walking around the room, moving his arms and hands as if he WAS Monk. CBS, give up…stick with your CSI stuff.

  104. MoMan

    1. FRUSTRATION – I almost always get this blog a day after everyone else, so the comments are pretty much history. Wish this weren’t the case.

    2. FRUSTRATION – The comments by people who had not seen the show were most disappointing. Why say anything? Having seen it, it has only one interesting character, but he is good, and it was delightful to hear him talk back to the “Christian Lady,” but she, too, is drawn thin, so the premise is good but the writing needs the wit of House and better character development (and casting?). And Psych? Nothing like it. And I am glad. That show makes me retch with its sophomoric humor.

  105. @Shane:
    That was an amazing movie!
    Thanks for the link to a movie I would have never heard of! I recommen
    dt The Man From Earth to EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!

  106. Michael L. Gosh thanks. *blush*. It really is a good movie. Shows what you can do with almost no budget or special effects. Honest to god sci-fi brilliance.

    Here’s another one for you, “Primer”. A time travel movie.
    Really low budget. Something like $7000 but it is very very good. Won some awards too I think.

  107. Buzz Parsec

    Has anyone mentioned Psych yet? Or Jonathan Creek? (JC was written by David Renwick, who also wrote One Foot in the Grave.) I remember their was a Psych episode with a competing FBI psychic, but I forget if the FBI psychic was also a fraud (IIRC, her technique was to distract people with her babeliciousness while solving the crime with conventional observational techniques. Lots of characters in Psych seem to accept that Shawn is psychic, but it usually isn’t clear if they are dupes or if they are just playing along. AFAIK, no one has ever said “Oh come on, real police departments don’t employ psychics” when he introduces himself as the official Santa Barbara PD psychic.

    Many but not all the Jonathan Creek episodes involve (false) psychic explanations for things (such as a fake gypsy fortune teller convincing a patsy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in order to frame her for a murder), or people incorrectly accepting a woo explanation for an event instead of the true explanation, but Jonathan always insists that there is no such thing as ESP or ghosts or alien visitations, and has little patience for the gullible. And of course, there always is a true reality-based explanation for everything. Sometimes the wooishness, when present, is purely accidental, for example a witness who only sees part of what happened and attributes events to ghosts or ESP, but other times its a deliberate deception by the bad guys. And some episodes are pure “locked room” mysteries. Worth checking out.

    Speaking of plagiarism, what about that Shakespeare guy? I think he stole everything he ever wrote! And it’s *all* cliches! No originality at all :-)

  108. Jackie

    The Mentalist, is something fresh and smart. I know you all will say it’s a lot like Psych. Maybe so, but so much better. I think it will last.

  109. Anita Lozano

    Well, they took all of my fav shows off–Moonlight!–wow, easy on the eyes and fun
    Women’s Murder Club–What is wrong with you producers? Don’t you get pretty sick of us saying HOW COULD YOU TAKE THAT SHOW OFF?
    Saving Grace–at least you had enough sense to bring it back. But, Seriously (my sec fav),
    Holly Hunter is a great actress but kind of unbelievable about being a cop. They do have
    height and weight restrictions for cops in the real world. She tries, but again,
    seriously, think she could lift or drag120lb body out of a house? Almost as believable as
    Michelle PFIEFFER being a Marine–yeah, sure, we’re stupid. It was on cable in 2 months
    Cashmere Mafia–women over 40 making it big. We can, you know. I don’t care if
    Lipstick Jungle came first. Too many shows for 20+somethings.
    October Road–a rip off of Beautiful Girls but done nicely. Even used “THE RIDGE”
    Do the networks care what we watch? Apparently not.
    DIRTY, SEXY, MONEY–We really need a program guide for this one. How many rip-offs
    of Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing can there be. I’m lost. Who’s on first? Too many
    people to keep track of.
    Brothers and Sisters–again, Sally Field we love. But, again, too many characters. Should
    come with a program also.
    AND LET US TRY TO FORGET 90210. Is there a 12 step program for this?

  110. Steven

    Hmm. It amazes me that with all the skeptical and scientific brain power everyone who has posted seems to think they possess, so many of you can’t even bother to read the thread or even the last post written. How many more times will someone refer to Psych? I’m not sure yet, is the Mentalist similar to Psych? I think about ten more people should inform us of this brilliant observation, I don’t think we’re aware yet.
    Everyone on this blog must have such keen observational skills that would make the Mentalist himself proud. Too bad in their arrogance they can’t bother to read.
    Maybe they need a psychic to clue them in and spell it out. Ha Ha.


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