Unable to find a job that he can stick with – and trained from a young age to be very observant – Shawn Spencer (James Roday) winds up posing as a psychic, to give him an excuse to secretly use his detective skills to help crack cases.
Psych gives an amusing spin to the TV detective series, with the hook here that main character Shawn pretends to be a psychic, so that he can do police detective work without actually having to be a cop, or get a private investigator’s license, or show up the actual detectives, who are unaware that his breaking the cases they can’t is due to his spotting clues rather than his actually being psychic. The result is 15 hour-long episodes (actually 43 minutes each, though the pilot is 65 minutes) that blend comedy and detective work to largely-entertaining effect.
In the extras, the writers (led by creator Steve Franks) cite comedy/detective shows like Moonlighting and Remington Steele as being inspirations, though where those shows relied on romantic banter for the central relationship, here the leads are childhood buddies Shawn and Gus, who are really the heart of this show. James Roday and Dule Hill do a great job bringing these characters to life and playing off each other comically, with Roday in particular often carrying the show on his shoulders, bringing energy to every scene and making the underachieving Shawn a likable, appealing character; they are two guys that one wants to spend time with.
The mysteries here are a mixed bag, with some clues obvious and some obscure, though to the show’s credit it isn’t always easy to guess who the bad guys are, and the climactic explanations by Shawn of how he figured out who the villain was work more often than not. The supporting cast is very solid, particularly Timothy Omundson, as the police detective who they most often butt heads with (but who becomes more amusing and likable as the episodes progress), Corbin Bernsen as Shawn’s retired-cop father, and Maggie Lawson as cop Jules, the closest thing to a bantering semi-love interest for Shawn (though, despite a few flirtations, neither Shawn nor Gus ever seem to hook up with any women here; it’s just not that kind of show).
Ultimately, though the first few episodes are a bit formulaic, the show starts to vary its structure as the first season goes on, and the result manages to be funny and likable enough to be worth checking out.
Psych is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture quality was generally crisp throughout.
Psych is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1. Dialogue, music and sound effects come through clear. The only subtitles are in English.
There are six Commentaries, covering the pilot and five other episodes; all feature the creator and writers, and the main actors pop in for some. They are more chatty than informative, but everyone is relaxed, and the result is entertaining and fun.
The International Pilot is 12 minutes longer than the Domestic pilot, but there isn’t really anything new here, just some extended and deleted scenes that don’t make much of an impression.
There are assorted Deleted Scenes attached to over half the episodes; some of interesting, but most were just cut for length.
There is a 3-minute clip from James Roday’s Audition Tape that shows the ease with the role that helped land him the part.
There’s a fairly-standard 8-minute featurette called Psych Revealed that has the actors talking about the serious, interspersed with a lot of clips; it seems geared toward getting people to sample Season 2.
There’s a 7-minute featurette called Inside The Writer’s Room that has the writers talking about the show; there are some good bits here.
There’s a 10-minute featurette called Character Profiles, in which Roday, Dule Hill and Corbin Bernsen talk about the characters they play, though it is rather clip-heavy.
There’s a 7-minute Blooper Reel that is better than most; there are some funny moments here.
Though the mysteries are a mixed bag, the characters are very likable, and the result is largely a fun ride.