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Discovering Psych

Discovering Psych

Dedicated television viewers know that there will always be shows that everyone wants you to watch, either it’s a cult show, a show that ended way before it’s time, or seems to grab everyone’s attention but yours. However many viewers find themselves stumbling upon these shows either years later or late into a shows run. I’ve compiled a list of ten shows, published once a week, that have become classics or are on their way to doing so and have recently been discovered by this writer.

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Psych

Created by Steve Franks

Original run 2006- present

USA network

Psych is one of the most delightful, effortlessly fun shows on television. When it first began on USA in 2006 I watched most of the first season, thought it was enjoyable enough but never really bothered to watch more than half of the season. I would occasionally catch episodes here and there and always like them but I never gave the show much thought. It wasn’t until the season five Twin Peaks inspired episode “Dual Spires” that I reconnected with the unexpected series.

Often unfairly compared to the CBS drama The Mentalist, Psych is about Shawn Spencer (James Roday) a sometimes childish but ultimately good guy who uses his “heightened observational skills” to convince the Santa Barbara Police Department that he’s a psychic. He starts the Psych detective agency with his cautious best friend Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill), he’s the bane of head detective Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (the brilliant Timothy Omundson) existence, eventual boyfriend of Lassie’s partner Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson). He often drags his retired police officer father Henry (Corbin Bernsen). Gus and Henry, and eventually Juliet, realize that Shawn isn’t really a psychic but they keep their mouths shut because he’s good at what he does and he helps people.

Psych

I already knew Psych was a good show so when I decided to watch the first five seasons on DVD I knew I’d probably enjoy it. What I wasn’t expecting was how absolutely charming and unique it really was. Psych so clearly succeeds because of its cast. With anyone else Shawn might have been only childish and obnoxious but Roday makes Shawn’s bad qualities fun, sweet and actually a standup guy.

The real standout for the show though is the relationship between Shawn and Gus (Dulé Hill is fabulous). It didn’t take long, however, for Lassie to become my favorite character, mostly due to the hilarious performance of Omundson. On any other show Lassie would be the villain. But like most other things on Psych they go against the grain. The writers embrace Lassie’s quirks (as well as the other characters) and much like Roday, Omundson takes Lassie’s faults and makes them his best characteristics.

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The early seasons left me with only one complaint. Essentially Shawn is lying to the people he works with and as the series goes on he’s lying to the people he eventually grows to care about. As the relationship with Juliet and Shawn grew the writers made the smart move to at least let Juliet learn the truth. Shawn almost loses her for it but eventually their relationship wins out.

Psych is easily one of the funniest shows on TV, filled with wonderful actors who give each of their characters.

Tressa Eckermann

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