Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a Psychic? Just to know what happened, even when no one else has a clue. Well, for Shawn Spencer (played by James Roday), the USA Network wanted to know just that. We are now in our second season of the hilarious detectr-omedy (cross between detective show and comedy, like “Monk“).James Roday This show is a light hearted approach at a young guy who can’t keep a job until he realizes his amazing (but totally not supernatural) power of observation tricks people into thinking he is Psychic. The premise is simple, crime committed, cops stumped (a bit too easily), and the need for someone “special” to help.

Roday is a great comedic actor and his sharp wit and quick delivery lay waste to his poor partner and best friend Dule Hill - GusGus (a very geek-shiek Dule Hill… aka Charlie Young from “The West Wing“) . The rest of the cast rounds out with two pretty pathetic (as far as compentency goes, not acting… well maybe a bit of that too, these police detectives are a bit unbelievable) cops Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O’Hara (played by Tim Omundson & Maggie Lawson) and Shawn’s retired cop father Henry (an excellent Corbin Bernsen).

On to the TubeTalker review… As another one of the zillion shows I have seen every single episode of, I can say I still look forward to the late night friday show on USA. The stories pick up very quickly, the week to week sub-stories are easily visible to the casual watcher… basically cop ( Lassiter / Omundsun ) hates Shawn for doing what he does, his partner ( O’Hara / Lawson ) kinda helps out the pair, and Gus ( Hill ) gets crapped on, beat up, thrown under the bus, and humiliated in alot of ways. Gus is always there to give Shawn the “facts”, he is the book smart one, Shawn is the kind of guy who floated through life, basically after living under the iron rule of his demanding and unforgiving father ( Henry / Corbin ).

That’s really about it… tune in and check out an episode, if you don’t like it, comment back to me… don’t go looking for a new “CSI” or “Law & Order”, but if you follow “Monk” and want to stay on an extra hour… take a peek… let me know if the quirky fun of solving strange (but usually pretty simple) cases makes you believe there is something to the “Psych” in Psychic.

So, here we are in season four of the comeback role for Mark Harmon. He went from a Doctor (Chicago Hope)… to the leader of the Navy CSI team (NCIS). When I first started watching this show, I couldn’t get his Ted Bundy (The Deliberate Stranger) role out my head. I thought, this guy is a joke and this show will tank… Since those first few episodes, I have to say I am very glad it didn’t. As Jethro Gibbs (Harmon) leads his team of Quirky CSI’s through military crime scenes, the image of him luring girls as a serial killer melted away.

Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs on CBS NCISNow on to the show itself, It has always been a great story, the characters have alot of the spotlight, alot of the time… As a regular viewer, I can see some points where one-timers won’t get the joke, or follow the team in themselves, but it is also a very light-hearted approach to the CSI genre. Each character has a wacky and fun aspect, while still having a semi-serious side. It makes for a unique formula setting it apart from the most basic label of “Oh yea, another CSI… but for the Navy and Marines!”.

NCIS Team PhotoSometimes there is a bit of ‘death detail’ and sometimes it might get a bit ‘romantic’, but all in all it is a family-friendlier (is that a word?) approach to the crime show solvers. I am more comfortable with most of the episodes being on if my son’s are up late and it is on in the background, very few times do I find myself pausing or waiting for them to leave the room (This happens more often in CSI as they are much more open about the ‘details’ they convey)

It is a good show, with a good hook, don’t go into it thinking it is as serious as the CSI franchise, but look at it as the mix between a dramedy (for the faithful watchers) and a criminal show (for the one-timers)… All-in-All it adds a nice break-up in my DVR queue when running through three other CSI episodes each week.

Ok, don’t get me wrong on the title, there. I just have to say out of all three CSI’s (and countless knock-offs)… Is it me or does the CSI team in CSI:NY have the most shady backgrounds of them all?

Let’s start with the most obvious bad boy on the team… Danny Messer (played by Carmine Giovinazzo) grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, he was a gang banger and all-out bad boy with his brother leading the trail. His choices eventually lead him to the right side of the law.

Then we get into the greek Stella Bonasera (AKA Melina Kanakaredes). She shoots and kills her abusive nut-job boyfriend and comes back to work like it is all in a days grind. Ughh.

The sweet girl from Montana, Lindsay Monroe (played by Anna Belknap), is found to have a horrible dark past. She was the sole survivor of a horrific event. Ok I guess.

And just to round it out, our Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) has to be framed for robbery and murder just for fun from a Psycho `Terminator` Kid (no more hints on who that actor is, you have to use the clue in this sentence).

Mac Taylor is the only one who really hasn’t had the darkness follow him around, the fact that his wife died in the WTC on 9/11 (which was openly exposed early in the show) doesn’t count. He has a secret fling with the M.E. (Claire Forlani)… but it is all up and up. I guess his moral compass and solid foundation has to stay strong before the rest of his team just cracks and forms a gang or something.

Don’t get me wrong, all the CSI’s have questionable backgrounds in all the shows, they just collectively seem to have the darkest, or farthest reaching ‘thin line’ story backs.

(Yea, Yea for Vegas we have Kathrine (stripper), and Miami’s Delco (dope) and more…)

Just my two cents… since almost every episode of NY bears a bit more of someone’s soul.

I love the show, I love the stories, just a bit of a “Hey… I want to relate to their humanity, but don’t push me too far”…

One show that always keeps me hooked is the CBS Sunday Night Crime Drama “Cold Case“. I have always been a fan of the CourtTV and Discovery programs about forensics, case files and all that, but to make a unique twist to the whole process by re-enacting the timelines as the cops follow through… keeps me coming back.

The first time I caught this show a few years back, it was really on a whim. I thought it was just another CSI rip-off, playing on the popularity of the hit. But by the end of that episode I realized that there was such a cool difference in the presentation of ‘historic’ cases instead of real-time.

Ok, so it may be a bit far fetched that the Phillie Cold Case Squad has 6 or 7 detectives working a single old case off a tiny new lead, and the fact that in order for this story to work, no witness ever lies… I mean they never flash back and replace what one guy said for what another said, sometimes (usually) they fill the blanks in each witnesses story, but they must be some kind of amazing cops to get everyone, even the eventually exposed criminal to tell it like it was.

Another great thing is the storyline of the characters themselves, over the past few seasons we get to learn about who and where these guys came from, but with the perfect amount of constraint. Their lives are not important to the episode at hand, and watching one episode is as easy to follow as the whole series, you can walk away feeling like you knew what was going on that whole time. Backstory knowledge was just a bonus.

So it doesn’t get the attention too much, usually flying under the radar, and almost always screwing with my DVR (because of CBS football and 60 minutes pushing it out if it’s normal slot every week), but this show is one of my stable favorites. I will always watch it when I want a show that is not just a time killer, but something to follow. That damn technique for the slow release of information over the whole hour, building to an apex and slam, resolution with 5 minutes to wrap it up in a box and say good bye to the cold case victim.

Keep up the ‘Cases’, the only thing that could turn this show in the wrong direction would be to start repeating scenarios or focusing on character development for subpar ‘case files’… but I dont see that happening soon (The writing has been creative so far!)

If you follow the real life case shows and are looking for a great fictional one that gives you the same feeling, check out ‘Cold Case’ Sundays on CBS (about 9pm, unless it is football season, Arghhh).