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Does Herc Find CBS’ THE MENTALIST, From ROME Creator Bruno Heller, Mesmerizing??

I am – Hercules!!
A crime drama about a former fake-psychic who now uses his powers of observation to help California cops, “The Mentalist” was created by Bruno Heller, who earlier created HBO’s brilliant period drama “Rome.” The new show stars Simon Baker (“Smith,” “The Devil Wears Prada”), Robin Tunney (“Hollywoodland”) and Amanda Righetti (“The O.C.”). The pilot gets off to a shaky start, thanks to some subtlety-free direction by TV’s ubiquitous David Nutter, but the haunted, atheist, rulebreaking title character, compellingly assayed by Baker, quickly distinguishes itself among the vast blue sea of primetime cops. As long as Heller stays involved, “The Mentalist” keeps its season pass on my DVR.
The Associated Press says:
… He's flighty, cheeky, charming but sometimes insultingly blunt, a mite mysterious, and altogether disinclined to follow rules. A character like that provides a great showcase for an actor, and Simon Baker ("Smith," "The Guardian") is terrific in the role. Just watch him looking at things (he's a good-looking guy), sifting through clues, the wheels in his brain almost visibly whirring. …
USA Today give it three stars (out of four) and says:
… The Mentalist may be a copy, but it's a well-done copy sparked by an actor who has come into his own as a TV star. …
Entertainment Weekly gives it an “B” and says:
… smart enough to know how silly its premise is. … the tricks he performs are overshadowed by the glee with which Baker performs them. Like any good grifter, he gets a genuine thrill out of entertaining, manipulating, or confusing people. With his rapid, just-above-a-whisper cadence and cucumber-cool reactions, Baker reminds you of Val Kilmer in his spry Real Genius days, but with really great hair. It's a mesmerizing little act. …
The New York Times says:
… Mr. Baker keeps “The Mentalist” easy on the eyes and brain. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… Played by the virtually irresistible Simon Baker, Jane also gets to make wiseacre comments like "He irks me; he's irksome," which only add to his already considerable charm. … It's a solid enough pilot, with Baker and Tunney having just enough edge to promise something more than a standard quirky procedural.
The Chicago Tribune says:
… one of the better new offerings … a modest concept given a thoughtful execution. Considering how bad most of the other new shows are, that seems like more than enough. …
The Washington Post says:
… The best reason for watching -- perhaps the only reason -- is Simon Baker … Baker has a sly, cagey, scruffy demeanor that can really grow on you, and in about a minute. … We don't need another cop show, that's for sure -- especially on CBS. But if we're going to have one anyway, "The Mentalist" is definitely the way to go.
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… After 59 minutes - boom, it all wraps up nicely. And this time you've got Baker's charm in the lead role and just enough juicy twists from executive producer Bruno Heller ("Rome") to make the time fly. …
The Boston Globe says:
… has very little dramatic heft or distinction, but it's wily and brisk enough to engage you for an hour. … Baker has a mysterious, inner-directed charm that makes you want to watch him closely. He doesn't chew scenery, but, with his persistent smirky calm, he registers strongly in every scene. And, since Patrick's unfolding back story involves serious misfortune, Baker also projects a believable tinge of hidden sorrow behind his playful eyes. …
Variety says:
… Baker does possess a certain roguish charm, and writer Bruno Heller ("Rome") and pilot-directing guru David Nutter mine that -- as well as the central character's slightly menacing backstory -- to try and invest the series with a bit of depth, mostly to little avail. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… This role is tailor-made for Baker, who has a flair for playing irreverent characters who are crucial to the success of the system even as they tweak its authority figures. … has an appealing low-tech approach to crime-solving. …
9 p.m. Tuesday. CBS.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 23, 2008, 1:54 a.m. CST

    The Creators of Psych Need to Sue These Motherfuckers!

    by LordEnigma

    Bruno Heller loves Shawn Spencer. Good for him. How dare he fucking rip off Shawn's and Shaggy Bottom Piggletooth's show. Shameful. I will give it a shot, but it's still PSYCH! MOTHERFUCKERS!

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 2:01 a.m. CST

    Magic Head is pissed!

    by Cartagia

    So sayeth Shawn Spencer, and we legions of Psych fans. Which is, by the way, actually the funniest show on television. Especially for geeks.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 2:06 a.m. CST

    If its less flippant than Psych, I'm there...

    by Paul T. Ryan

    Psych sucks. There, I said it.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 2:11 a.m. CST

    We need more Robin Tunney.

    by MaxTheSilent

    Been a fan since NIAGRA, NIAGRA and THE CRAFT. She's purty and a very fine actress. Shame about SUPERNOVA.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 2:26 a.m. CST

    Best new show of the season that I've seen

    by aversiontherapy2

    I love how quickly the characters introduced themselves, you can get into this show in the first 20 minutes.<br /><br />And this is not a rip off of Psych for christsake, it's completely different in tone and content and shares only one conceit which is actually reversed in this. If it's compared to anything it should be House.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    "I see things other people can't see."

    by Helpful Electronic Lab Partner Robot

    Like this show, which will be canceled by October.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 5:27 a.m. CST

    airing opposite Fringe.....

    by rben

    gee, who will cancel who out or will they both crash? And as the economy and america circle the drain, why do i care?

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 7:01 a.m. CST


    by DJB

    I'd rather just watch Monk and Psych. Stealers.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 7:50 a.m. CST

    UK's fine - Derren Brown and others regularly use the term

    by elab49

    It got me from the Scream opener - I assume that is how you refer to 2 recognisable performers in it just for the intro? - and his 'it isn't as bad as it looks'. Good fun - hope it maintains that. Given Fringe's questionable 2nd half of the pilot led to a really bad 2nd epi, it isn't offering much competition except for Abrams adepts.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    The in-joke is to sneak in references to cantaloupe...

    by Hagakure

    ...And his office is on a pier. See, it is TOTALLY different from Psyche. Their newest show in production is "Bishop", about a private detective with a fear of germs solving crimes in "Connecticut" - Other side of the country, so how can it be a rip-off?

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a copy of NBCs "Life"

    by Spikey

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a copy of "Psych"

    by Cotton McKnight

    Of course everyone knows that, I just thought it would be funny if the next few messages had the subject line "sounds like a copy of _______". This show is not original in any way. It also reminds me of that Neal McDonough show "Medical Investigation", which was basically House without all the... good writing, good acting, good plots, good characters...

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Mentalist is as much a copy of Psych as...

    by Amy Chasing

    Medium is a copy of Ghostbusters. <P> Well, that's the best simile I can come up with on such short notice. Anyway, Mentalist is good. Not Dexter good, but certainly not Torchwood bad.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Alan Partridge

    by chimpjnr

    Just can't take this seriously. Whenever I hear the name of the show, all I can think of is Alan Patridge driving away from his No.1 fan (who has Alan's face tattooed on his chest) yelling "get away from me you mentalist!"

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST

    This will fail because

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    The lead guy is the type that while he appeals to women, annoys most guys. By which I mean me.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CST

    If you're from the UK...

    by aversiontherapy2

    Mentalist is Derren Brown to Psych's Ant and Dec.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Too bad it airs opposite Fringe

    by allykatD

    I would have watched the Mentalist as I like Simon Baker, but I like edgy, sci-fi programs more so I'll stick with Fringe. I do have another DVR but I think I'm recording something else on Tuesday... I'll have to check that. BTW, I tried to watch Psych but I don't like its 'tone', I'm looking for more drama and less snarkyness.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Not like Psych OR Monk...

    by C00L DUD3

    ...Amy Chasing is spot on. Come-up with some original comparisons, or at least watch it 1st, cause it's pretty obvious that anyone still saying that, hasn't. Sheesh. I wanna see what comes of this Red John, bizz...

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 1:23 p.m. CST

    wife wants to watch it

    by oisin5199

    I probably wouldn't have, but I'm willing to give it a try, especially since the Rome guy is involved. I have to say, this whole 'special detective' genre is getting a bit tired. Though I did really like that extremely short lived NBC show from last season - Raines, I think with Jeff Goldblum. I thought that show was funny while still dark, and somewhat sad, and it felt really rich. I was disappointed that didn't catch on, but then again it's not the shallow crap that's mostly on NBC. The network that's bringing you Knight frickin Rider. Sheesh. Anyway, I'll give this one a chance. Oh and MaxTheSilent, if you think Robin Tunney can act at all, that's a definition of good acting I was previously unaware of. Can't think of a more annoying actress on tv in the last few years.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 2:38 p.m. CST

    I'll be watching House and Fringe

    by Napoleon Park

    and maybe the L&OSVU season debut. This sounds like it might be worth taping and checking out after I get a second wind. I only have basic cable so I've only seen Psych once but I enjoyed the episode I saw. And I loved Raines. Brilliant.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 3:06 p.m. CST

    M-O-O-N. That spells "nothing like Psych or Monk"

    by Tom Cullen

    It's actually a lot more like Profiler from back in the day, only with more of a wannabe hip/scruffy edge. An entertaining, if rather forgettable, timewaster all in all, and Baker pretty much carries the show.

  • Sept. 23, 2008, 7:45 p.m. CST

    Psych RULES!!!!

    by 1895DCSkate

    Nothing like seeing GUS scream like a girl and running for his life from a noise in the dark. Classic. The Mentalist sound like a very very gay Psych. I'll pass.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Hold on a second...

    by Napoleon Park

    the seasons hot new show, Fringe, doesn't even get a week three talk-back but this '60s Michael Caine looking motherfucker gets a TB? I hesitate to post because the fact that there were No posts made after the shot aired kinda tells you something.<p>I did watch it. It would have made a good movie. he finds the guy that killed his wife and kid in the first episode. story over, the end. this flashy dresser in the ludicrously expensive looking apartment sleeps on a mattress on the floor because obviously he had to throw out the bed where he found her dead body... but he sleeps in their old room, with her blood still on the wall? That is mental...

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 2:25 a.m. CST

    Very good show, I liked it!

    by DrPain

    It is very much like House though, instead of doctors, they're detectives. But it's still a great show, nice concept, well written and shot. Down with that suck-fest called Fringe.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 2:37 a.m. CST


    by DrPain

    well, yeah, duh, he's rich, remember he's a former, famous psychic. Fringe would have been a cool movie too, solve all that "plan" crap up in 2 hours and not try to stretch it out like lost with pacey and blondie mcboring and their whacky adventures. a show where the x-files has been before.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 2:39 a.m. CST


    by DrPain

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 6:32 a.m. CST

    think I prefer PSYCHED!

    by Maniaq

    it was... cheeky- wait, it's cancelled right?

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Yes, much better than Fringe.

    by banditmania

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:33 a.m. CST

    glad we finally have a psych talkback

    by pikagreg

    even if its only to talk about how one of the major networks ripped off the premise and made it a drama

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:41 a.m. CST

    and I love Gus' "Teen Wolf" theory

    by pikagreg

    I've been saying the same thing for years

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 10:28 a.m. CST

    ok, I kinda liked it

    by oisin5199

    And the reviews are all correct. It's really about the charisma of the lead. He's really good. And I love how he uses NLP techniques (look it up) to question suspects. He reminds me of that Darren Brown guy who used to be a magician and now gets people to do things just through suggestion.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST

    what the heck is Psych??

    by DrPain

    from what I found out, sounds lame. And it must be, 3 seasons and this is the only recognition it has had! LOL. what a joke. The Mentalist rocks.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 10:40 a.m. CST

    How many of these shows do we fukin need?

    by Raymar


  • Sept. 24, 2008, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Yeah, this wasn't bad.

    by CatVutt

    I was surprised. Worst name for a show this year by far, though. I'll be watching Fringe and recording this for later.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Fucking awesome show on so many levels.

    by C0ns

    Good god people please watch this so it doesn't get canceled.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Liked it better when it was called Columbo

    by ShallowGrave

    but a great first episode nonetheless.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 1:20 a.m. CST

    my problem

    by Bloo

    was the marketing which DID use the same trick as Pysch in that it lit up the elements with that little audio riff. I did forget it was on and watched the L&OSVU premire and some other things