Carstairs Considers.

It’s really hard to describe psych as a serious show. True, it is a mystery show, and there is at least one murder every week. However, the murders are just excuses for laughs as each episode features sight gags, physical humor, pop culture references, and witty dialog. Season 5 is more of the same, and that’s a great thing.

The show revolves around Shawn Spencer (James Roday). As a kid, Shawn was trained by his father, Henry (Corbin Bernsen) to be hyper observant. See, Henry was a cop and expected Shawn to follow in his footsteps. Shawn has no desire to work for anyone, so he turns his skills into a consulting gig pretending to be a psychic getting visions that help the police find the bad buy. He’s aided by his best friend Gus (Dule Hill). His solve rate annoys head detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson). Also on the Santa Barbara Police Department (and the regular cast list) are Detective Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) and police chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson).

Season 5 opens with a big change. Henry has been retired as long as the series has been going, but in this season he comes back to work for the police as the person in charge of their consultants. That means that Shawn and Gus report to him, a development that Shawn finds revolting since his father has never quite approved of his psychic detective rouse. Season 5 also finds Juliet dealing with the emotional aftermath of almost being killed at the end of season 4, a nice bit of continuity we rarely see on this show.

But soon we’re back into familiar episodic territory. This season finds Gus and Lassiter teaming up to take tap dance classes and clear a case before Shawn and Juliet do. There’s an alien abduction, street races, escaped inmates on a ferry, a US spy, and a disappearing body in a haunted house. They do another Christmas episode, this one themed around It’s a Wonderful Life. Shawn and Gus get themselves into the police academy to attempt to get them to take their work somewhat seriously. And in the much more serious season 5 finale, Shawn and Gus finally meet serial killer Mr. Yin face to face. Will they survive?

Did I mention that along the way, a relationship in the series takes a very big turn? (Honestly, I know I was supposed to care about it, but I never did. I don’t care one way or the other because I tune in to laugh at the wild antics of Shawn and Gus.)

The thing that makes this show work is the relationship between Shawn and Gus. Despite the way Shawn acts, Gus is still his friend through thick and thin. Their friendship and wacky banter provides the glue that keeps every grounded no matter how wacky and out there things get.

I can’t imagine that this show is easy for the actors, yet the core cast does a great job of keeping their performances believable and just a hair under over the top. The guest stars fit in well each week, too, allowing us to get lost in the fun of the story.

And each week seems to find us with special guest stars. We get Freddy Prinze, Jr., Nestor Carbonell of Lost fame, and Ralph Macchio, for example. One episode features much of the cast of Twin Peaks , although I must admit to feeling like I was missing something there since I had never seen that show. Finally, Cary Elwes returns, although again there are no Princess Bride references. The fact that a show that prides itself on 80’s references missed a second opportunity like that is inconceivable!

The sixteen episodes are presented here in their wide screen and full surround sound origins on four discs. Extras include 15 mini video commentaries as well as fully audio commentaries on 7 episodes. There’s a gag reel and deleted scenes as well as a behind the scenes featurette on “Dual Spires” and, in what I believe is a first, a featurette on the making of an audio commentary.

Really, all fans of psych need to know is that little has changed for season 5. We’ve still got lots of laughs and wackiness held together by bizarre mysteries. And if you aren’t a fan, give yourself a few episodes. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked on this comedy with a mystery element.

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About Me

Mark Baker Accountant by day, but reviewer at heart. I love books, movies, TV shows. When not working on my blogs, I play ultimate Frisbee and train for mud runs. View my complete profile