Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Starting The Mentalist

Every fall, I play the television lotto—picking out which shows are worth adding to my (considerable) viewing schedule and hoping that they don’t get cancelled. Sometimes I’m lucky with my choices (read: Heroes and Brothers & Sisters), and sometimes I’m unlucky (I miss you, Aliens in America and The Ex List!). One of the shows I decided to skip this season was The Mentalist, and now that it’s soaring in the ratings, I’m starting to reconsider. So begins the inner monologue/debate:
  • PRO: It’s the highest-rated of all the new shows this season and almost the highest-rated of all shows, new or old. So I could conceivably start watching it without the concern that it will be cancelled the moment I begin.
  • CON: It seems to err too much on the side of the procedural and not enough on the side of the serial for my tastes.
  • PRO: The premise seems a bit more original than your typical cop show, but…
  • CON: The premise seems a bit like a more serious retread of Psych.
  • PRO: It has an episode-naming scheme, which I generally like (being the continuity lover that I am), but…
  • CON: Its episode-naming scheme is just including the word “red” into every title. That’s almost as bad as Knight Rider’s episode titles, which were just puns with the word “knight.” (Disclaimer: For the record, lest my credibility be doubted, I do not watch Knight Rider, nor have I ever!)
  • PRO: I saw a mentalist perform recently and it was mightily impressive, but…
  • CON: NBC’s reality competition Phenomenon, which looked for America’s best mentalist, was—by all accounts—not so mightily impressive.
  • PRO: Robin Tunney is a cast member. I enjoyed her in the one and only season of Prison Break I’ve seen. The smoky voice, the impossibly-arched eyebrow—what’s not to like?
  • CON: I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 44 shows that I’m actively following, not even counting the shows I want to catch up with on DVD. 44!
So my verdict is this: it may be good, but it’s still a procedural show, and I don’t have the time for shows that I don’t absolutely love. (And I might pass on Lie to Me, which premieres tonight, for the same reason.)

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