Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movie References Abound For Psych Season Six . . . But It Doesn’t Have Much Else Going For It.

The Good: Great guest stars, Character progressions
The Bad: Exceptionally predictable plots, Formulaic, Relies upon the guest stars, ?! Chief Vick!?
The Basics: The sixth season of Psych is fun, but objectively underwhelming, especially for fans of the series.

I can always tell when a series is in decline. The moment in any formulaic show comes when the formula is stale enough that the series relies almost entirely on guest stars to carry the show. For Psych, that hits with the sixth season. The show is not unenjoyable, but it is completely predictable.

In its sixth season, Psych continues its formula and of starting an episode with a murder and Shawn and Gus finding a way to get assigned to the case. Shawn then, by pretending to be psychic but really just observing clues that others are oblivious or not privy to, solves the case by finding the murderer. In the sixteen episodes that make up Psych, the show modifies its formula to do theme shows based on famous films or television series’. In fact, this season, all of the episodes are based on movies or television shows, following the season premiere involving a murder at the British embassy after Shawn breaks in to steal a Darth Vader figure away from the son of the Ambassador.

Psych Season Six is essentially made up of episodes that are parodies of The Hangover, vampire films, comic book movies (most notably Superman), Girl, Interrupted, The Sting, Wanderlust, the Indiana Jones franchise, the works of Neil Simon, The Shining, The Bachelorette, and Chinatown. Other than the individual episode themes, which is continuing with themed episodes like Season Five’s parody of Twin Peaks, Psych is a pretty predictable series of formulaic episodes in Season Six.

In the sixth season, the primary characters are:

Shawn – Experiments with diplomatic immunity when he takes a case at an Embassy when he discovers a dead body after crashing a party there the previous night. He relives a childhood dream by taking the case of a baseball coach he helped as a kid and becomes a batting coach. He fakes being crazy to try to prove a man guilty at an insane asylum and then tries to reunite Juliet with her father. He and Desperaux hunt down an art collector’s work until Desperaux appears killed, forcing him to accept death for the first time in his life. After Lassister moves into his own new apartment, he and Gus are excited to get hired to figure out how the apartment is actually haunted. His appendix bursts when he is performing with Gus’s a capella group. He comes to aid Woody when it appears Woody made a mistake in an autopsy. He and Juliet come into conflict when one of Juliet’s old cases is freed from prison and Shawn works to exonerate him. Shawn also has the opportunity to solve a case his father worked on, but never solved,

Gus – Inadvertantly dates the daughter of a notorious killer! When stalking a potential vampire, he dresses as Blackula. When Shawn becomes a first base coach for the Seabirds, he gets stuck as the team's mascot! He dates a patient at the mental facility. He eagerly adopts the life of a hippie when the guys investigate threats made against members of a commune. He falls for one of them and ends up lonely when Shawn and Juliet go for a lover’s weekend. He becomes the token black guy on the reality dating show when a candidate on it is almost murdered. His friends from the a capella group come back and need his help when their mentor is shot and Shawn is hospitalized. He helps to champion Thane when he is released from prison,

Juliet – Thrilled that Shawn wants her to move in, she is disappointed when she learns the truth. She completely disbelieves the possibility of vampires in the vampire case. She is irked by Shawn when he brings her conman father back into her life for a complicated series of heists that he may or may not be in on. She is upset when Shawn tries to get Thane exonerated,

Lassiter – Furious that Juliet is dating Shawn, he hooks her up to a polygraph and requests a new partner. He hooks up with a vampirelover whose roommates are involved in a crime. After a murder victim is found hanging in a real nice apartment, he moves in in order to have a place for them both to live,

Chief Vick - Is she actually in this season?! Even Woody the coroner gets more airtime this season,

and Henry – worried that the case at the British Embassy may be too much for Shawn to crack on his own, he does some actual detective work to aid his son. When a murder victim whose body is finally recovered reveals to him that his coworkers twenty years ago were corrupt, he becomes deeply disillusioned.

In Psych Season 6, the acting is flawless, with Kurt Fuller getting more airtime, almost enough to make him a regular. The main cast is so seasoned by this point that they have nothing unsurprising from them in season six. The show dilutes its regular, well-gelled cast with the likes of Malcolm McDowell, William Shatner, Polly Walker, Danny Glover, Brad Dourif, Tony Hale, Cary Elwes, Madchen Amick, John Rhy-Davies, Sarah Rue, and Anthony Anderson. The prevalence of big name guest stars overwhelm the show.

Ultimately, Psych Season 6 is not as funny as prior seasons, but they make up for that with a higher caliber of guest stars. The show seems far more familiar than fresh than ever before, even though it is not unenjoyable.

For prior seasons of Psych, check out my reviews of:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5


For other television reviews, visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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