Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Mentalist... Or, Everything Fringe Was Supposed to Be

Aaron Barnhart has a good write-up on my favorite TV premiere (so far) this season. We've noted before on this blog that Fringe was so much less than we expected.

Specifically, there were aspects of the show Fringe which The Mentalist utilized more effectively, or in some cases utilized, period.

#1 - Law enforcement acts professionally. Fancy that! No pro-rape (thanks for that term Thomas) stances by the officers in charge was a start, followed up by the fact that Simon Baker's character chastises a lab tech who loves his job too much.

#2 - Dialogue for a drama written with minimal comedy. Snappy lines written once every 10 minutes for The Mentalist versus every 10 seconds on Fringe. (To be fair, there was one line on The Mentalist which caused me to cringe due to its unprofessionalism/inappropriateness, and it was meant to draw a guffaw).

#3 - Not overacted. Anna Torv may be a good actress. Maybe. In Fringe, I couldn't help but feel like she was physically constipated. Literally. Her character was constantly screwing up her face like she was thinking really hard while simultaneously choking on something sour. It was difficult to watch. At least viewers had the benefit of her being an emotional wreck. Constantly. That's someone I want in charge at the FBI! Simon Baker's character on the other hand hardly has to act at all. His character observes, so he only needs to keep from looking bored most of the time.

The Mentalist does have its issues, as the premiere ended with me agreeing with the captured villian (something to the effect of "That's total bullshit!"), but the development of the characters, as well as a long-term story arc, made up for single episode plotline being mostly bunk.