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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Better Nate than Lever

That title is actually the punchline to a bad joke my Dad used to tell me. Of course, what I really mean by it is that I'm sorry my posting has been so light of late. I'm still finding my groove at work, etc. But I do have a number of topics I'd like to post on in the near future. So hopefully I'll find that groove and get back into it. In the meantime, I did want to throw out a quick post about what I consider a great idea.

You know I don't watch a lot of TV, and therefore I also don't write about it much. I don't know if I will ever see this show, but I must say I love the premise and think it is really clever. All I've seen is the ads and the trailer online, but the tagline describes it perfectly, which is one of the reasons why I think it is such a great concept. That and the fact that the tagline also made me want to see it.

Of course, I am referring to Psych, on the USA network. (Speaking of which, when did USA move above the level of Silk Stalkings to some quality programming, e.g. Monk and this?) Anyway, for those who haven't seen the ads, the tagline is: "Fake Psychic. Real Detectives." Clean. Clear. Funny!

I don't know about you, but I think there are about 12 too many shows on TV now where a clairvoyant/medium/paranormal investigator/etc. helps solve crimes. Okay, maybe some of them were clever (and I'm not even convinced of that), but it is way played out. So along comes Psych to poke fun at them, while also supplying (at least based on the trailer) an entertaining detective show of its own.

The details of the concept, as far as I can tell from the trailer, is that there is some guy whose dad was a detective and trained the kid to be uber-observant so he'd become a detective as well. For some reason (not clear from the trailer) the kid doesn't. My guess is because he's just a goof-off. But then the cops bring him in for some reason, and he seems to know too much (due to his powers of observation) so they suspect he's involved in the crime. Thus, he convinces them he's innocent the only way he knows how -- he tells them he's a psychic. By telling them a few secret facts about themselves (he's that observant), he makes them believe it is true. They hire him to help solve cases. And to add to the conflict, he brings in his friend, who seems more uptight and serious, to partner in the detective agency (called Psych).

Making it better, it looks like the leads are quality actors as well. And the writing seems like it delivers some good comedic zingers to balance the drama. Anyone seen this show? Is it as good as it seems? How are they doing with maintaining interest from week to week? Is it getting good reviews and/or good ratings?

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Blogger Emily Blake said...

I want to write for TV so I watch quite a bit of it. I watched the pilot for Psych and immediately put it on my dish pass list because it was genuinely funny. The main cop/nemesis is a little cliche and people believe the psychic a little too easily for my taste, but the leads are brilliant comedians and the show's got definite potential. They're a little weak on plot so far - it definitely has that USA feel to it - but I can see the potential. What they don't do with plot they make up for in comedic dialogue. I've laughed out loud at quite a few things. I think it will become a really good comedy once it finds its footing.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Hi Joel--

Long time no hear from. I watched the pilot of PSYCH and I must say I enjoyed it. I agree with Emily that it's a little light on plot, but the real amusement is in watching the hero juggle what his powers of observation are telling him with what he can get the cops to believe.

Glad to hear things are going well at your new job.

5:18 AM  
Blogger screamwriter said...

Good show. He's supposed to have a photographic memory. The promos with the other USA characters are also pretty funny.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Leif Smart said...

I absolute love this show. the pilot was well done, not perfect, but entertaining throughout, which is the main point isn't it, so I'll definately be watching this in the future. The 2nd episode was not up to the same standard though so it remains to be seen if the pilot was the pinacle of the writers talent or if there more to come.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Chris Soth said...

I had this idea YEARS ago, fake psychic caught in real police investigation. Because, let me tell you, psychics? ALL fakes, every single one of them -- not that there aren't some that don't believe their own bullshit. I also was a fake psychic myself for a bit, all for comedy magic's sake back in my cruise ship performer's days.

But did I act on it/write it? Nope. Good for them. Sounds fun.

Missed the post on the job etc. Where'd you end up, doing what?

Good for you, too.


6:49 AM  
Anonymous kristen said...

I haven't seen the show, but something about the premise reminds me of "Remington Steele". You know -- woman detective hires a dashing male figurehead in order to get more work. That's a fun idea, the style vs. substance bit.

5:43 PM  

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