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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Detective > Mystery > Serial Killer > TV > The Mentalist – The Complete First Season (Warner DVD)

The Mentalist – The Complete First Season (Warner DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Episodes: C+



In an attempt to add a new twist on the police procedural, Bruno Heller created The Mentalist to try to make a hit show in the mode of Monk or the older great detective shows of the 1970s.  In this case, Simon Baker is a former showman who claimed to have psychic powers (among other things) and after a devastating series of events left the world of entertainment to work for the police.


As Patrick Jane, he uses his observation skills on murder scenes and even cold crimes, but hanging in the shadows is his need to deal with the serial killer simply known as Red John.  In the meantime, at the unit he works for, his boss (the underrated Robin Tunney) tries to keep things as efficient and professional as possible.  However, Jane is a show-off of his skills to everyone’s detriment and is lucky some of the cases even get solved.


Though the idea for the show is good, give or take the serial killer angle that is cliché, the writers have so much show-off moments for the title character that it kills the ability to have any suspense on the show, take the show seriously and build any really good mysteries.  With the character, they are more interested in perpetuating his smart-ass qualities and putting in all kinds of twist and turn possibilities instead of telling a good story.  The result is a sloppy show with a lack of character development and many missed opportunities.


Baker is likable, but not so much that they can keep doing the show like this.  Sometimes, dialogue is so unrealistic that the show becomes a spoof of itself, especially in the ridiculous pilot that is often embarrassing.  Other such moments following in later shows, as well as making it feel like Dexter-lite.  We’ll see if the series gets over these flaws in later seasons.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is consistent between episodes, but has its share of detail limits and motion blur throughout.  It can look good, but also is sabotaged by some shaky camerawork, but color is not as gutted as is too often the case, especially in this genre.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is better with a good soundfield throughout all of the shows, including dialogue that is well recorded and overall balance that is not bad.  Extras include a gag reel, unaired scene for three episodes and two featurettes: Evidence Of A Hit Series & Cracking The Crystal Ball: Mentalist vs. Psychic.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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