Psych Season 8 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 8
  • Episodes: 10 Episodes, Plus Psych: The Musical
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Season 8 of Psych is a bit of a hodge-podge, a smorgasbord, bits and pieces that almost seem like left over ideas from previous seasons – though the series ends on an unexpectedly happy note. But the mish-mash of episodes make it difficult to discuss the season as a whole.

The opening episode, only features Gus and Shawn. We see Lassiter briefly, in what seems to be little more than a cameo, on the more expensive trans-Atlantic cell phone call ever.  Shawn is invited by Interpol to the UK, because he resembles the getaway driver of a group of thieves. Once there, Shawn and Gus run into Pierre Deveraux (Cary Elwes) who claims to be a deep-cover Interpol agent, not an infamous thief. Pierre Deveraux isn’t even his real name. He asks Shawn to substitute for a getaway driver so Interpol can catch an infamous thief who uses a new crew for every job. It’s basically Psych does Oceans 11, or any other caper film. The episode suffers from not having the regular cast, but Elwes, who has been in several episodes of Psych over the years, is a delight.

The next episode brings the entire cast back, as well as the show’s normal setting of Santa Barbara. With the police station still under the thumb of Interim Chief Trout (Anthony Michael Hall), things are almost on track. Trout is horrible at policing – he’s arrogant, rude, sexist, racist and dumb. Lassiter saves his life when someone takes a shot at him, and Trout’s so arrogant, he blames Lassie for messing up his suit. Shawn and the gang have to solve the case – which expands to three dead guys; the only link being, as Shawn puts it, “someone’s killing a-holes” (including the pot shots at Trout).

The next episode is set in 2006, the first year of the show, and it feels like a script that didn’t make the cut for filming. But because of the setting, Shawn is pining for Juliet who won’t really give him the time of day. It also gives the audience a last chance to see Shawn as his wackiest in terms of the physical comedy that was gradually reduced over the years of how Shawn indicates he’s having a “vision”. The episode involved a woman accused of murder that Shawn and Gus believe is innocent.

In the next episode, an ex-con takes Woody hostage, when the coroner interrupts the ex-criminal as he tries to steal a corpse. As it turns out, the guy claims to be innocent of the murder – but thinks no one will believe him since he’s an ex-con and he had argued with the victim previously. Not only do Shawn and Gus have to solve the murder, and prove the guy innocent, but Lassiter and Juliet have to rescue Woody before Trout puts his “kill everyone including the hostage in a hail of bullets” plan in action. At the end of the episode, Trout fires Juliet and Lassiter – but it’s proved moot as Trout is fired for being an ass.

In the next episode, someone with an eerie resemblance to Gus, with the same type of life, is murdered. This forces Gus to re-think his life, and he quits his job as a pharmaceutical rep.

The next story has Lassiter trying to solve a cold case from 1967, so he will be appointed Chief of Police by the new mayor. The costumes and music are awesome – the plot, well, it’s been done. Karen Vick returns briefly – but only to say that during her 6-month suspension she found a new job, as Chief of Police in San Francisco. At the end of the episode, Lassiter gets the job of Chief. Although he had planned to have Juliet as his Head Detective – the mayor had made it a condition of employment to hire his choice for that position. Juliet accepts Vick’s offer to be her head detective in San Francisco, leaving her relationship with Shawn in limbo. However, they plan to stay in a long-distance relationship.

There’s a couple of filler episodes. In one, Lassiter’s wife, Marlowe, gives birth to their daughter, Lily. And Henry sells his house, Shawn’s childhood home. Then there’s the last of Psych’s annual Halloween episodes, filled with zombies and other horror references, and guest-starring Bruce Campbell as a dream therapist who’s treating Gus. The episode is a series of the horror vignettes (which get weird because they always end-up being Gus’s dreams), with a focus on Gus’s relationship with Shawn, rather than Shawn’s relationship with Gus.

I then watched “Psych: The Musical” which is on the special features section of the third disc. the episode breaks back Ally Sheedy as the Yang killer, but as a consultant. The case focuses on the Ripper Theater murder, which I think was from an earlier season. I enjoyed “Psych: The Musical” a lot. Tim Omundson has a wonderful deep bass voice. We know James Roday and Dulé Hill can sing, since they do it all the time. Even Kristen Nelson gets a song. Maggie Lawson tries, and although not the strongest voice – she makes up for it in enthusiasm. Besides, it is extremely fun to watch Omundson, Nelson, and Lawson doing traditional dance steps we’ve seen so many times before — in the business suits those characters wear normally. The story itself actually wasn’t bad (a typical red herring, red herring, red herring, catch the real killer 10 minutes before the end of the story plot) but it’s just put together well with the music and the dancing, and even more theatrical costumes at times since much of the plot involves a re-make of a play at a theatre.

The final episode is called, “The Break Up”, and I was expecting something negative and awful and everyone going their own ways. But it wasn’t – and the start of the story, Shawn calls Juliet and tells her he wants to move up to San Francisco permanently to be with her. The rest of the story, between the typical murder plot that’s common on this show, is Shawn trying to figure out how to tell Gus he’s leaving. In the end, Shawn sends DVDs to all the regulars – telling him both what they have meant to him and his decision. It’s a bit eerie. But the last scene has Shawn showing up in San Francisco to see Jules, we see Karen again in her new role, surprised to see Shawn, Gus comes up to see Shawn and to tell him he quit his new job because it was too much like his old job, and most importantly – Shawn proposes to Jules – who accepts him, though someone comes out of nowhere to steal the engagement ring before he can slip it on Jules’ finger. Shawn and Gus give chase in the most ridiculous car ever.

So the last season does wrap up all the threads from the previous season. We see very little of Chief Vick – the actress was probably unavailable (the series was supposed to wrap with Season 7, but USA’s replacement for it bombed big time, prompting one more season of the established show). Who’s in an episode of the regular cast also goes up and down – we always have Shawn and Gus, but Juliet leaves halfway through. We see little of Henry. Lassie’s there and more competent than ever, and with that – Shawn’s “gifts” have less use to the plots. Shawn and Gus’s friendship is a theme, especially in the horror episode. Yet the series wraps in a satisfactory way – most of our characters are in a new location, but together. Lassiter has the job he’s always wanted and a new head detective who’s just like him in many ways – plus he’s now married, has a daughter, and even bought Henry’s house. Henry, it’s implied, will enjoy his retirement. Shawn and Jules are together. Everything falls into place. And that is a happy conclusion to this happy, fun, and highly 1980s-like series.

There will be a Psych reunion special this year (2017) and that should be enjoyable.

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Psych Season 7 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 7
  • Episodes: 14 Episodes
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Season 6 of Psych was the season of big name guest stars. Season 7 sees a return to an emphasis on the Psych characters and their relationships. If anything, the theme of this season is relationships – romantic ones. Lassiter’s incarcerated girlfriend, Marlowe, is released on parole, and due to plot reasons, Lassiter proposes to her immediately. The two successfully marry, but we never see Marlowe again, which is a shame, as she’s particularly fun. Carlton, meanwhile, seems happier, now that he is married again.

Gus meets a woman on a case and the two start dating. Even meeting Rachel’s 8-10 year-old son from her previous marriage doesn’t throw much of a wrench in the works. However, Rachel’s visa status does, and at the end of the season, she returns to the UK for six months. I liked Rachel, and it was good to see Gus with a steady girlfriend.

But it’s the Shawn and Juliet relationship that takes a forefront of this season. The two are boyfriend and girlfriend at the beginning of the season, and even move in together. But at Carlton’s wedding, Juliet figures out that Shawn isn’t really psychic – and with her con man father and trust issues, she can’t handle it and breaks up with him. Shawn, though, is undaunted. He continuously tries to win her back, but in a much more serious way than the character would have earlier in the series. Shawn tells Juliet he never once lied about his feelings towards her, that falling in love wasn’t part of the plan, he even tells her that he had to come up with something or he would have been in big trouble – and if you think about the pilot, Shawn’s whole “psychic detective” thing started because he solved a case from what he saw on the news – and he would have been arrested as the murderer for knowing too much. Juliet stands her ground, and tells Shawn he must come clean to Chief Vick. And Shawn does. He marches into the chief’s office in the same episode to tell her everything. Juliet realizes this and rushes in to stop him, even falling on the sword for him, saying that she entered a suspect’s house without a warrant and searched the suspect’s computer (in reality it was Shawn who had done that). Vick gives her a stern talking to. Shawn, impressed, talks to Juliet and again professes his feelings, even talking about engagement in a detached fashion. Juliet says she’s not ready for that step, but the two get back together and start dating again.

In the final episode, city hall sends an efficiency expert to the precinct to investigate our main characters. The efficiency expert, played brilliantly by Anthony Michael Hall, is a right ***terd. He’s sexist, racist, borish, arrogant, rude, and stupid. However, he also doesn’t buy Shawn’s “psychic” abilities. In the end, though Lassiter and Juliet are briefly suspended and Buzz is fired – it’s Chief Vick who takes this sword, being suspended for six months, with Hall’s character taking her position.

I suspect Hall’s character won’t be on the show for more than an episode or two next season. But it’s interesting watching him for a couple of reasons. First, Anthony Michael Hall was in one of USA Network’s first original series: The Dead Zone, where he plays a psychic. Second, his character is absolutely horrible – he’s a terrible person. For an actor known for his “Brat Pack” teen movies, and sympathetic characters – seeing him as a polar opposite shows just how good an actor Hall actually is.

Overall, the season is good. It’s Psych: light, fun, adventurous, enjoyable. Even when Juliet and Shawn broke up, the audience suspects they will get back to together – because shows like this tend to end up happily. Season 7 was originally going to be the last season of Psych, but when USA Network’s replacement for it flopped (Common Law – a parody of 70s cop shows) the series was granted one more season. Also, this year (2017) the show is doing a reunion movie to air in December.

Psych Season 6 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 6
  • Episodes: 16 Episodes
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Psych is a fun show. Psych, along with shows such as Monk, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, and White Collar were part of USA Network’s character-centric set of series. All these shows emphasized characters, and had less emphasis on plot, which gave them a very 1980s-feel. I was a fan of Psych when it started, and only lost track of it during the last few seasons because my family switched satellite TV providers and I lost several episodes with the DVR then lost track of where USA Network was on the new system. Throw in USA Network’s unconventional scheduling and the show disappeared off the radar for me. But I always liked it.

I finally decided to sit down and watch Psych, in part because I was in the mood for exactly what this show offered – something light and fun, and character-driven. And Psych delivers – this show is fun, just plain fun. If you’ve never seen it, Shawn Spencer was raised by his divorced father, a cop for the Santa Barbara police department. His father, Henry Spencer, was tough but fair, and taught his son to be incredibly observant – as well as to be analytical. Shawn puts his skills to good work, well, sort of – no one would believe he was simply “observant”, so on his first case he tells the police he’s a psychic. This, six seasons in, Shawn’s psychic visions are accepted by the Santa Barbara police department – namely Police Chief Karen Vick, and the two detectives Shawn helps: Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O’Hara. As season six opens, Shawn and Juliet are now openly dating. Gus (Burton Guster) is Shawn’s best friend, since childhood. Shawn and Gus also operate a “Psychic Detective Agency” called “Psych”. Shawn’s father, Henry, still working as a detective for the SBPD rounds out the cast. The show also uses flashbacks to Shawn’s childhood. This season features one episode with flashbacks to Juliet’s childhood, as it brings in Juliet’s father played by William Shatner.

Psych is highly episodic – you coud dip in at any point and not really be confused. I started with this season, having not seen the show for a few years, and I really wasn’t confused at all. Season 6 is also the Season of Guest stars, with a number of well-known actors showing up. However, the series seems better in episodes without famous guest stars, when it focuses on our core characters. This season also takes Shawn, Gus, Juliet, and Lassiter to a number of different settings or movie-related themes: a triple-A baseball park, a murder committed in front of a murder mystery bookstore, Shawn going undercover in a psychiatric hospital to discover if a suspect found “not guilty by reason of insanity” is faking or not (answer: it’s complicated), a vampire case (not really), references to Indiana Jones, references to The Shining, and the final episode, Santabarbaratown, among others. Lassiter meets a woman on a case and falls for her – despite having to arrest her as an accomplice to burglary and manslaughter.

The final episode, Santabarbaratown, feels like a New-Noir story, involving one of Henry’s old cold cases. It gets into Henry’s past as a cop, his former partners, and other cops. And it ends with not-going-to-spoil-it cliffhanger last scene for the season. Needless to say, it’s brilliant.

Overall, Psych is always fun to watch, and this season is no different. Bringing in lots of well-known guest stars feels like a bit of a cheat – a way to bring in new audiences, but the show is still enjoyable. As I said at the beginning of this review, the USA Network character shows feel like a show from the 1980s – episodic, fun to watch, character-driven; but unlike the shows from the 1980s – USA Network’s shows have at least some diversity with women and minorities in the casts; maybe not as much diversity as on the CW, or as we would like, but it’s better than the all-male casts of the shows I grew up watching, like The A-Team, Magnum, PI, and Riptide. Season 6 of Psych is Recommended.