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The Mentalist pilot review


The Mentalist

quirky detective

Type of Pilot: Cop Drama

Similar Shows: Psych (he's good at reading people, and things, so much so that he could be psychic), House (he's brilliant, he speaks his mind and often offends people), Profiler (our hero has an ongoing battle-of-wits with a nasty serial killer who killed a loved one), Criminal Minds (it's a bland CBS Crime Procedural), Profit (you'll know why I added Profit to the list when you see the pilot...)

The Inner Light: The truth is mine.

Strengths: Simon Baker

Weaknesses: It's a standard CBS police procedural with one very interesting character in the mix.

Impressive Characters: Patrick Jane, former fake psychic now working as an investigator with the California Bureau of Investigation (the what?!). Jane's a likable and interesting character. And much like Greg House he wears his pain on his sleeve and it dictates how he deals with people. If someone annoys him, he says it to their face. Also, he plays his own game and doesn't tell his team what he is up to. He's a "Grade: A" character in a "Grade: B" show, basically.

Impressive Actors: Simon Baker is a great lead actor. He was terrific in The Guardian and he's going to be fantastic in this, too. He's created a very distinct persona for this role, and there are no traces of poor hassled, stressed Nick Fallin from The Guardian. This is a different type of person. A silent people-watcher, who is always behind the eight-ball. A lesser actor might have failed to make Jane into a real person (since he's such a TV cliché) but Baker breathes life into the character and his heartache. So much so that I'd prefer if there were no other regular characters to distract from the focus of the show.

Less-Than-Impressive Characters: Most of the regular characters come across as bland in the pilot. One is by-the-book, one is a novice, one is brawny and one is asian. It's a typically diverse team, as seen on one-hundred other TV shows.

Less-Than-Impressive Actors: All of the cast are very good, but none of the regulars except Baker were given much to do in the pilot. Despite this, Amanda Righetti makes a strong impression with her few scenes. More than any other supporting character, I want to see more of her. Her character's dynamic with Patrick Jane is particularly interesting and is something I would like to see again.

Continuity: I imagine the show will be driven by stand-alone cases, with elements of continuity concerning the serial killer that Jane has a history with.

Rewatchability: None. Seen it once. Once is enough.

Other Info: Every preview/review/comment mentions Psyche, but this is nothing like Psyche. It's not light-hearted and he's not pretending to be anything that he is not.

Other Review: The Futon Critic.

Three Things I Really Like About This Pilot:

The cast and guest cast are fantastic. Steven Culp from Traveler, Gail O'Grady from Hidden Palms, Zeljko Ivanek from Damages, Robin Tunney from Prison Break, Amanda Righetti from Reunion, Owain Yeoman from The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot, Jeffrey Nordling from Once And Again, and Tim Guinee from lots of stuff. And with Simon Baker, from The Guardian, you have - pretty much - a dream cast.

Simon Baker.

Amanda Righetti.

Two Things I Really Don't Like About This Pilot:

It reminded me too much of the pilots for Criminal Minds and The Inside. But it's not quite as nasty and it doesn't leave you with the same icky taste in your mouth. Still, though, when all is said and done - except for Patrick Jane - it's very bland and forgettable.

It was obvious who the killer was. In both storylines. Predictable is never good. But it was still fun to watch Jane doing his thing. This time anyway.

Miscellaneous Comments:

If I watch this show it'll be because of Simon Baker and what they do with the lead character. Nothing else about this would interest me at this point. It's kinda depressing how much it resembles other cop shows.



Anonymous said...

I liked it a bit more than you did. I thought it was worth watching again for the little things I missed the first time, like how the lead character knew details about the people he observed. I also thought the show was a lot like Psych in many ways, and much better. Of course, I think Psych stinks.

I do agree, the supporting characters were standard fare for the most part. If they improve, though, and the plots become less predictable, this show could be a real keeper. It has potential.

RikerDonegal said...

Yeah, I know someone who really, really loved it. So I'll give it another shot when it starts up properly.

It definitely has potential alright. Depends, really, on what they do with it. They might turn it into a fantastic show.

Ignoring Friday Night Lights renders the Emmy's meaningless.

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