After shunning CBS's new drama, The Mentalist to SideReel's fall preview list of What's Lookin' Bad, I figured I should at least give the pilot a chance to see if it lived up to its lame and dull-looking previews or if it actually has something to offer.
The pilot proved to be better than I expected from the promos, but it also didn't hit me as a great new show.
I haven't watched Psych, but many fans were noting that this seemed to be Psych, but not funny since The Mentalist is about a psychic detective. But the fact is, it's not really.
The Mentalist features Patrick Jane, an contract detective working with the California Bureau of Investigation who... wait for it... used to PRETEND to be a psychic. So, clearly, entirely different... right?
So the "big" secret/drive of the show kind of unveiled in the pilot is that Jane used to use his intuition and excellent observational skills to fake being a psychic who helped people connect with their lost loved ones, and worked on figuring out crimes which he spoke about on a talk show.
Then, as we discover through a flashback as Jane's in the middle of solving the crime of the week, the killer he was discussing and faking figuring out, "Red John," came after Jane's family, killing his wife and child leaving a note behind that he did not appreciate being slandered in the media - and if Jane were really a psychic, he wouldn't have to open that door to find out what he'd done to Jane's wife and child.
Creepy and awful - yet not a hook, line, and sinker moment like I think it was supposed to be. So we get that Jane was severely and inappropriately punished for his faking and is now on the war path (without telling anyone about his family), to capture this Red John.
This sounds like a decent set-up for the show, and the plot came across as more interesting and dramatic than I'd expected, but Patrick Jane came across just as I did expect - disconnected, cocky, and not likable despite his dashing looks.
The fact is, we already have Life from last season which has a different plot path, but is slightly similar in that the main character is on the path to discover the real criminal for a crime that had effected him very personally as well.
And Life is awesome. Why? Because the main character, Charlie Crews, is completely fascinating. I think The Mentalist is going for something similar with Jane in that the main character is this troubled man who had the good life taken away from him so now he's changed and haunted.
But Jane doesn't come across as brooding yet accessible like Charlie does - instead, he's creepily not troubled as you would imagine of a man whose family was murdered. I don't feel as if Jane is one of those closed-off characters we can get and be intrigued by (like Charlie Crews or House), but instead one we just won't care about, and that is exactly what makes or breaks a show - and in this case, seems like it will break it.
Maybe crime show fans unlike myself will find this show much more enjoyable than I did, but for me, well, I'm sticking to last season's fantastic newbie of Life and leaving this one to the CBS crime drama crowd if they'll have it.
Photo courtesy of about.com