In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, USA Network
In the UK: They're all in hiding
Awful. Just awful.
What? You want more from that in a review?
Sigh. Okay. Here we go then.
Although at first sight the USA Network has a clear theme - it's the “network of characters” - that's not quite what it is. It's the network of 80s shows. These weren't shows made in the 80s, mind. These are shows that fit the show templates of the 80s.
For the most part, we're talking private detective shows – quite good ones at that. So, for example, we have Monk, the private detective who works for the police department and has OCD. We have Burn Notice, featuring the private detective who's an ex-spy. And we have Psych, the private detectives who also work for the police department and pretend to be psychics.
Typical story in any of these: helpless person comes to private detective, private detective investigates, finds clues, solves crime use his special “character” skills. The end.
Psych is in fact the purest of these retro 80s shows, since not only does it use the old script templates of the 80s, it references all the shows explicitly (I'm still guffawing at Gus's Airwolf jacket) and even has the same actors (Corbin Bernsen, for example).
As we can see the USA Network knows its audience: old enough to remember the 80s and its tele fondly; wishing they made tele like in the good old days.
Thing is, most 80s US TV was a bit pants. If we polish off our old Betamaxes of Riptide, Simon and Simon, Tucker's Witch, Jake and The Fatman, et al, we'd see how poorly they stand up compared to the far more sophisticated and intelligent fare (with exceptions) that modern US TV has to offer.
Except we don't have to, because here's In Plain Sight, starring Mary McCormack. It's an 80s police/action show lovingly recreated in every detail using modern television techniques. And it's rubbish.