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Today's fall TV pick: CBS's 'The Mentalist'



Thementalist1Since there's going to be so much TV stuff debuting over the next few weeks -- and I can always use an extra blog post -- I've decided to take a stab at highlighting what's worth watching on each day when we have lots of new stuff debuting.

My pick for tonight is CBS's The Mentalist at 9 p.m. on WTSP-Ch. 10. I know, I gave it a Ti-NO grade in the fall TV preview, but the bar has lowered a bit, given what else is debuting tonight. On ABC, we've got a new family-oriented reality game show, Opportunity Knocks, and the first eliminations on Dancing With the Stars; on NBC, we've got Law & Order: SVU, which has grown sillier by the season.

So that leaves CBS's Mentalist, starring hunky Simon Baker as a guy with super-sharp powers of perception and a grifter's knack for deceit. He once pretended to be a psychic -- hence the ironical title -- but joined up with law enforcement when a serial killer took umbrage to his public statements and hurt him badly.Mentalistbaker

This conceit has grown increasingly popular in crime procedural characters -- from the funny take on an observant guy in USA Network's Monk and Psych to the tragic Det. Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and a new character on Sci Fi's latest fantasy series, Sanctuary.

The show itself is predictable even in its surprises, casting Emmy-winner Zelko Ivanek and NYPD Blue vet Gail O'Grady in parts where you can see the punch line coming a mile away. Still, you can see why CBS built a show around Baker, whose vacuous charisma often comes off as a deep inscrutability.

I say, check this debut out just to see if you're interested, and duck over for the last few minutes to see is Warren Sapp got kicked off Dancing With the Stars (which won't happen; comic Jeffrey Ross is leaving, mark my words). And if you have the energy, stop back here to tell me what you thought. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:51pm]


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