Tuesday, Sept. 23
Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
Like "Psych," but hate all the jokes? Watch "The Mentalist."
Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) isn't a psychic, but he used to play one on TV. Using his powers of observation, Jane helps solve crimes with the California Bureau of Investigation. While his unorthodox methods often rub his team (Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman, Amanda Righetti) the wrong way, he has a habit of getting the job done.
What They Got Right:
CBS has faith that Simon Baker is a star and nothing in "The Guardian" or "Smith" has necessarily proven the network wrong. Certainly if you have to watch one leading man squint for an hour a week -- and that's how pilot director David Nutter conveys the main character's gifts -- Baker's a safe bet. This show is right in CBS' procedural wheelhouse and the supporting cast is solid and proven, plus the guest starring cast in the pilot -- Steven Culp, Gail O'Grady, Jeffrey Nordling, Zeljko Ivanek and Tim Guinee -- is tremendous.
What's Oh, So Wrong:
Although Baker goes around with a gleam in his eye, "The Mentalist" is too serious for its own good, almost as if even the hint of humor would reinforce the all-too-obvious "Psych" comparisons. Jane's maverick independence is already grating on the members of his team, who are feeling superfluous. That could either make for a good dynamic, or they'll actually become superfluous. In the pilot, it's much more the latter.
Recommended If ...:
You really like those "Spot five things wrong with this picture" puzzles, only with more murder