Flicking Through Netflix: Psych Episode 1 (Pilot)

I want to apologize for not writing a blog post yesterday.  To make up for it, I will extend May Days, or Blog-A-Day May one day into June.  Meaning this lasts until June 1st.  Anyway, Mother’s Day celebration ate up a good chunk of my day yesterday.  Then, afterwards, I developed a migraine a mile long.  But I’m fine now and itching for a more adult Flicking Through Netflix.  You’ll notice I changed the titling a little this time and included Episode 1 and the title of the episode.  This is to better inform you that what I’m reviewing is a TV show.  All future Flicking Through Netflix articles of shows will now include this.

I got a bit tired of children’s programming for the moment.  So, I decided to take a look today at a show made for adults.  Psych is a show I’ve had experience with before.  I started watching it on the USA network simply because it was on after Monk (one of my favorite shows).  Still, for reasons I can no longer remember, I fell out of watching the show.  It’s been a few years since I watched any of it, so I don’t remember a whole lot of it.  I remember some of the characters, the basic premise, one or two jokes from it and… That’s it.  I figured now was a good time to re-introduce myself to the show.

The basic story of Psych revolves around the main character, Shawn Spencer.  Shawn has been raised by his cop father to be hyper observant, memorizing everything about a person at a glance and watching the entire room without moving his head.  In the first episode, Shawn solves a robbery case thanks to a news interview he sees.  He’s then considered to be a suspect of that case.  He weasels himself out of cuffs by telling everyone he’s a psychic.  He then goes on to solve a kidnapping case with the help of his best friend, Gus.  Afterwards, Shawn opens up his “psychic detective agency,” Psych.

The story is extremely creative.  The feel of this show reminds me a lot of Monk (which I recommend to anyone with even a fleeting interest in funny cop shows).  Both shows are about a singular character who is able to solve crimes by really just looking at things and the people around them are baffled by how he does it.  The energy of the show is perfect, never dropping the laughs or slowing the pacing at all, keeping the viewers on their toes.

The characters are another strong suit for the show.  I like that Shawn isn’t a pure, good character.  He starts this whole story with a con.  Not everyone likes him and he’s just fine with that.  Gus makes the perfect straight man to Sean’s over-the-top goofiness.  It’s a really good buddy relationship that has developed in the span of just one episode.  The cops are all great too, including Lassiter, the grump who hates Sean and doesn’t trust him.  Lassiter was probably my favorite character of the first episode, being an asshole the whole time and loving every minute of it.

The biggest strength of this show is the acting.  There was not one instance where I was thinking “These people are good actors.”  No, I was thinking “Wow, he IS that character.  He has become one with this character.”  It was all played beautifully, perfectly over-the-top when it needed to be and very subdued for the quiet moments.

I can’t find one fault with the pilot of this series.  The main characters are all introduced very well, the set up is explained greatly, the story makes sense… Well, if I had to nitpick…

It’s never really explained why Shawn was trained since childhood to be hyper-observant.  It’s probably explained later in the show, but I would have liked to see a little bit of a set up there.  I kept asking myself “Why was his dad such an ass as to keep making his son basically memorize EVERYTHING?”  But that’s a fairly minor nitpick at best.

I enjoyed this episode as much as I’ve ever enjoyed any first episode of any series.  I highly recommend giving it a watch.  As for me… I’m getting a vision.  I see…. I see… I see myself watching this series for a while in the future.

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