Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Psych it up!


No psychic powers? Don’t you worry... just fake it like they do on TV


Season 8
Starring: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, and Corbin Bernsen

Everyone’s favourite fake psychic returns as we go back to Santa Barbara for the eighth season of the detective comedy drama Psych, which starts on USA Network today. The amusingly offbeat series follows the story of Shawn Spencer (James Roday), a gifted detective with impressive observational skills, who pretends to have psychic abilities to assist the Santa Barbara Police Department in solving crimes with the help of his reluctant partner and best friend Burton Guster (Dulé Hill). Psych has been on air since July 2006, and while its ratings may have tapered off over the last few years, it still attracts a very loyal fan following that has been waiting anxiously to see what the new season has in store for us.

Where were we?
When we last saw them, Shawn and Juliet (Maggie Lawson) were trying to repair their relationship after she figured out that Shawn isn’t really a psychic; Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) had married Marlow; and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) had been suspended for six months. And then, just to confuse us, an anachronistic musical was plucked from the middle of the seventh season and aired as a separate, standalone entity in December, more than sixth months after the season itself had ended, making it chronologically misplaced and out of synch with the rest of the series.

What now?
Now the series returns with a truncated new season that comprises of 10 episodes (as opposed to the usual 16), beginning with 'Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster’s Goblet of Fire', a Guy Ritchie homage with a touch of Harry Potter added to the mix to put a Psych spin on things. The season premiere sees the return of one of Shawn’s most memorable nemeses, Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes), as Shawn and Gus get tangled in a situation involving British gangsters, while Gus wants to go to a Harry Potter festival. Vinnie Jones guest stars.
Coming up later in the season is 'Nightmare on State Street' (previously titled 'Dream Therapy'), James Roday’s zombie episode that was chosen out of three contenders by fans through an online poll. The runner up episode 'Food Truck' is also expected to be in the season’s line up.
Also, Kirsten Nelson makes her directorial debut with '1967: A Psych Odyssey'. And an old Psych episode gets its own remake! Yes, they are remaking one of their own episodes from season one – ‘Cloudy... with a Chance of Murder’, which has now become ‘Cloudy... with a Chance of Improvement’ – that has been cast with people who’ve been on Psych before and are now playing new, different roles.

Where to next?
All good things must come to an end, and fans are speculating that Psych might be nearing its end too. Despite no official confirmation, rumours have been running rampant that this could be the final season of the show, especially after Maggie Lawson joined the ABC comedy drama Back in the Game (2013); that series, however, proved to be short-lived and has since been cancelled, but Lawson will reportedly be in only 5 of the 10 episodes in season eight. The shorter length of the season has also fuelled the rumours of its impending demise, but everyone’s reluctance to confirm whether time is up for the series or not gives hope to the loyal Psych-Os that USA Network’s longest running original program will get renewed for more seasons. The show has had a good run, and series creator Steve Franks (who also hopes to do a Psych feature film) has promised that there will be some closure at the end of season eight. So for now, we still have at least ten more episodes to enjoy, and from what we can see, there is a lot to look forward to in this short season.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 8th January, 2014 *

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