Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TV on DVD Review: psych - The Musical



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: The usual psych fun with singing and dancing
Cons: You're kidding, right?
The Bottom Line:
Singing and dancing
Adding to laughs and murder
Match made for psych-O's




I See Singing, Dancing, and Laughs in Your Future

There have been whispers for years.  Then it was a sure thing.  Then the hype started.  Finally, the world was treated to the best singing and dancing murder mystery in December 2013.  I’m talking, of course, about psych: The Musical.  And two days after it hit airways, it’s already hit DVD.  Rush out and buy it.

In fact, if you’ve been wanting to get into this show but were afraid of being lost after seven seasons this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.  While a former villain plays a major role in things (and makes references to previous appearances), the first song gives much of the set up for the show.

And what is that set up?  Shawn Spencer (James Roday), is a thirty something clown who has found a way to use the super observations skills drilled into him by his father, former cop Henry (Corbin Bernsen).  Instead of becoming a cop like his dad, he pretends to be a psychic and helps solve murders for the Santa Barbara police department.  In on the charade is his best friend and partner in crime solving Gus (Dule Hill).  While his now girlfriend Juliette O’Hare (Maggie Lawson) believes him and Captain Vick (Kirsten Nelson) goes along with things because of Shawn’s results (while being skeptical at times), it’s Chief Detective Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) who is openly disbelieving in Shawn’s “ability.”

Which brings us to this case.  Zachary Wallace Zander, aka Z, (Anthony Rapp) has escaped from the psychiatric prison where he’s been held captive for seven years.  He was arrested after killing a critic of his new musical play about Jack the Ripper and by locking him in the theater and setting it on fire.  The only person who can help them track this danger man down is Yang (Ally Sheedy), a serial killer that Shawn and Gus have tangled with before.  But will she provide them real clues or is she toying with them again?  Can they catch Z before he kills again?

Now fans of the show are already yelling at my description of the set-up.  Before you watch this episode, just know that it was originally filmed and designed to air during the recently completed seventh season.  The fact that it was held until December for a big event means that a few things that happened late in season seven haven’t happened yet.  Know that going in, and you’ll be fine.

What this show always does brilliantly is combine mystery with comedy.  In fact, I often think of this show as a comedy more than a mystery.  That combination is in perfect unison here.  Yes, there is a mystery.  Yes, we want to know how Shawn will solve it and what is really going on.  However, there are so many great moments, lines, and gags that I was laughing the entire way through.  While season seven wasn’t the strongest for the show, this two hour movie is the perfect example of just how wonderful the show can be when it is working on all cylinders.

What about the singing and dancing?  I’m glad you asked.  Yes, they do set it up a bit as to why the characters are treating this as a musical, however, most of that doesn’t come until the end.  Either way, by the end of the first song, I didn’t care – I was already having that much fun.  The cast is very talented and they pull off the singing and dancing without missing a beat.  The first two songs are brilliantly funny, and there are some other classic moments later related to singing and dancing.  The only cast member who doesn’t participate in the musical part is Corbin Bernsen, and according to him, that’s a good thing for us.  I’ll just take his word for it, but even his non-participation gives us a laugh.

Casting a Broadway star as the main suspect in this episode makes sense, and Anthony Rapp fits into the world of psych perfectly.  While I wasn’t always a fan of the original Yang episodes, I did enjoy seeing her again here.  And the rest of the guest stars are good.  The main cast is great as always.  They are once again obviously having fun, and that’s translates perfectly for us.

This DVD contains not only the two hour episode itself (well, 88 minutes if you don't count the commercials), but also includes a CD of the soundtrack.  Not bad for the price of a movie.

So if you are looking for a light musical comedy with murder (and who isn’t?), be sure to check out psych: The Musical.  You’ll be laughing and tapping your toes before you know it.

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