Monday, October 7, 2013

TV Show Review: psych - Season 7

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Laughs and decent mysteries continue
Cons: A few weak episodes early on
The Bottom Line:
Weaknesses - no psych
Yet once it gets going show
Is still very strong

"Yeti Is Incorrect.  They Live in Much Snowier Climes Like Hoth."

If a show stays on the air long enough, it eventually hits a season that isn’t as strong as the others.  Such is the case with season seven of psych.  Yes, the show had some good episodes, but it just started out a little off.

By now the set up is familiar.  Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a consultant to the Santa Barbara police department homicide division.  But instead of straight up admitting he’s a brilliant detective as trained by his father Henry (Corbin Bernsen), he pretends to be a psychic, revealing the clues he has figured out as psychic visions.  In addition to Henry, his best friend Gus (Dule Hill) is also in on the secret.  No one at the police department knows, including Shawn’s girlfriend, Detective Juliet O’Hare (Maggie Lawson).  Head detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) is just upset that Shawn solves so many cases.  But Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) is just happy as long as the cases are being solved.

This show prides itself on pop culture references and spoofs, which shows itself in some of the episodes of the season.  For example, we get a shaky camera found footage type of story when a trip into the woods for Shawn and Gus to hunt a mythological creature turns up a dead body.  I can’t leave out the 100th episode of the show, which not only pays homage to the movie Clue with a murder at a mansion and a fan picked ending but even includes some of the movie’s cast including name Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, and Christopher Lloyd.

Of course, the season does start out resolving last season’s cliffhanger involving dirty cops and one cast member in mortal danger.  And as the season unfolds, someone else learns Shawn’s secret, and the unorthodox methods in the department come back to bite everyone in the cast.  Meanwhile, Lassiter gets married, Shawn and Juliet move in together, and their fathers' simple lunch turns into a bazaar case that takes everyone south of the boarder.

Many of these episodes work, and as the season gets rolling, I once again fell under the spell of the show.  But several of the early episodes feel like they are trying too hard to be funny when they really aren’t.  This is especially true of poor Gus who is reduced to someone constantly talking about food.

Then there’s the bizarre parallel universe story.  I gave up trying to even follow that one, it just became too difficult.

However, most of these episodes work well.  The writing is still sharp and the banter between Shawn and Gus still make for great laughs.  Yes, there is a murder each week, but in my mind the comedy is the highlight.  And that is still true here.

The mysteries?  They continue to be good.  They aren’t always the most surprising or cleverly plotted, but they always entertain and serve as a good excuse to revisit the characters each week.

The actors know the characters well, and it shows in the acting.  All the performances are top notch each week, sometimes rising above the poor material in the early episodes.  And when we get a more with some more serious issues late in the season, the cast does wonderfully then, too.

Season seven consisted of 14 episodes (the upcoming two hour music was filmed as part of season seven but hasn't aired yet), and they are included in this four disc set in widescreen and full surround.  Extras include the usual deleted scenes and bloopers.

So in the end, fans will still enjoy season seven of psych even if it isn’t the strong one to date.  Even lesser episodes of the show still entertain.

Season 7 Episodes:
1. Santabarbaratown 2
2. Juliet Takes a Luvvah
3. Lassie Jerky
4. No Country for Two Old Men
5. 100 Clues
6. Cirque du Soul
7. Deez Nups
8. Right Turn or Left for Dead
9. Juliet Wears the Pantsuit
10. Santa Barbarian Candidate
11. Office Space
12. Dead Air
13. Nip and Suck It
14. No Trout About It

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