Review: Psych 2.1


In the US: Fridays, 10/9c, USA Network

In the UK: Probably Hallmark, as per season one

Kids? What do they know? If they need to waste an hour, they’ll get out an XBox or poke each other to death on Facebook. Plus they’ve got no cash anyway. So it’s no wonder that Psych has slowly targeted itself at thirtysomethings – people who can remember the 80s fondly rather than hazily and sat through enough hours of Riptide, Simon and Simon and Tucker’s Witch that they can spot a format aimed squarely at them.

Psych is one of those shows that exists purely as popcorn for the eyes. You don’t seek it out for its high quality writing, insight into the human soul or Pacino-esque acting. It’s not there as a replacement for Seinfeld, The Wire or 24. It’s just a decent way to while away an hour when you’ve nothing to do.

No one’s particularly nasty. Every single character is a geek of one sort of another, whether they realise it or not. It’s a show about everymen and women trying to recreate the escapist 80s when anyone or their auntie (or sometimes, with the right show, anyone and their auntie) could be a private detective, investigate crimes and find out whodunnit by the end of the episode, simply by faking a bad accent and looking for clues.

And it seems to work. For this opening episode, we have star turns by both Tim Curry and Gina Gershon as alternative versions of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul; the show’s directed by John Landis. There’s some cash floating around for sure here, which suggests popularity. Plus they managed to get a second season on the USA Network, the network that likes to say “You’re cancelled!”. They’re obviously doing well for themselves.

However, despite being its selling point, it’s perhaps a little too glib. Last season was broken into two chunks and the second chunk was more interesting, after the producers had had time to think through a few problems. They appear to have forgotten all these lessons, because the show’s reverted back to the style of the first few episodes again. I’m hoping that they’ll bring back the extra depth of plot and characterisation that improved the show in later episodes.

All the same, diverting, amiable and worth an hour of your time if you’ve nothing better to do of a Friday evening. You’ll probably be in your thirties if that’s the case. Sorry, but it’s true.

Here’s a YouTube trailer.