Tonight marks the debut of The Mentalist, CBS’ latest Crimetime TVproduct, starring Simon Baker (left) as a detective who can tell what you’rethinking just by looking at you. And if you’re thinking criminalthoughts, watch out, because he’s gonna cuff you! Meanwhile, perhapssensing CBS is onto something–and/or inspired by its creepy-awkward reality hit Lie Detector–Fox just announced it has ordered up a midseason replacement called Lie To Me, which is destined to either be derided as a Mentalistknock-off or hailed as Mentalist done better. From the Fox-issued press release: “Tim Roth (TheIncredible Hulk) [pictured, center] and Kelli Williams (The Practice) star in thisfascinating character drama inspired by a real-life specialist who canread clues embedded in the human face, body, and voice to expose thetruth behind the lies in criminal investigations.”
Both The Mentalist and Lie To Me may prove to quality entertainment. (And yes, that was an obligatory ass-covering hedge/disclaimer.) Even so, methinks the current iteration of the super-sleuth crime genre–thenear-supernatural human-behavior code-cracker–is one show away from jumping the shark. But what will that show be? That’s the mental health-break/productivity-sapping sport I bring before you today.
Here’s my candidate: THE BLOODHOUND! Prospective press release copy: “Emmy winner DennisFranz (NYPD Blue, pictured right) makes his long-awaited return to prime-timetelevision in this remarkably intriguing character drama about anextraordinarily brilliant and hilariously quirky police detective whosesense of smell is so powerful he can sniff out evildoers. You could sayhe really nose his way around a crime scene! (‘Nose’ = ‘knows’–get it?) His colleagues call himBloodhound, which is certain to make you chuckle, because he’s actually a cat lover… with a big heart for strays! Now that’s the kind of poignant irony only broadcast television can bring you. So beat THAT Damages, Monk, Mad Men and The Closer! Alsostarring Julie Bowen (Boston Legal, Ed) as his loyal and beautiful if oftenincredulous and irritated partner who actually might be his secretdaughter (we haven’t decided yet–it’ll really depend on if and when weneed a desperate ratings stunt) (wait, did we say that out loud?), The Bloodhound will premiere at midseason. Unless we can come up with something equally fantastic but more marketable. Preferably ‘more marketable.’”
That’s my guess–what’s yours? Post below!