The Mentalist: Season One

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Let’s face it, there are very few television shows that come on the air and end up being a success. But every so often we have shows like “Lost”, “CSI” or “Desperate Housewives” that really catch on and become a long-running popular television series. It might be a bit premature to label “The Mentalist” as one of those shows seeing as how it’s only been on one season, but all the elements are in place for it to succeed. Well, put it this way: CBS moved the show from its Tuesday slot to Thursday night where it will follow “Survivor” and “CSI”. So if the network puts you in the cherry spot on your second season, odds are more and more people will be seeing “The Mentalist” this year. Ratings aside, what exactly is the show all about? For those that have never seen an episode, here’s what to expect.

Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is an expert on human behavior and used his talent, charm and good looks to achieve fame and fortune as a celebrity psychic. However his world came crashing down when his wife and child were brutally killed by a man known as “Red John”. This is all shown in the pilot and sets the pace for the first season as Jane will eventually have to deal with “Red John” again. Having had his epiphany, Patrick now helps the LAPD with some of their hardest to crack cases. Using his powers of keen observation and deduction, Jane can pick out the most minute detail and have it crack the case. Naturally with a show like this you’ve got to have an ensemble cast ala “NCIS”, “Criminal Minds”, “Law and Order” and any of the “CSI” series. The yin to Jane’s yang is Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and the two flirt to no end all the while keeping the relationship as professional as can be. The writing is top notch and if you can handle Simon Baker’s constant “cat ate the canary” smile, “The Mentalist” is some of the most entertaining scripted television on air.

Video: How does it look?

This first season of “The Mentalist” is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that certainly does the show justice. I’m a bit perplexed as to why this isn’t being released on Blu-ray. Given the show’s success, I figured it’d be a lock to go Blu. But that’s not the case and what we have looks very pleasing to the eye. I usually watch the episodes in HD, so I have to say that this standard DVD set does lose a bit of the fine detail and clarity, but the colors are bold, bright and vivid. I actually did a few comparisons between the standard DVD and a few episodes I have saved on my DVR and, as expected, the HD broadcast is superior though not by a lot. There appears to be the tiniest bit of enhancement on the standard DVD set but aside from that and the lack of detail, viewers should be satisfied.

Audio: How does it sound?

I don’t find myself saying this much anymore, but a Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included and it more than serves its purpose. By and large, television shows aren’t much on dynamic audio and “The Mentalist” is certainly no exception. A majority of the series is dialogue-driven and only at the rarest of times do the surrounds kick in. The LFE are practically non-existent, but it’s not like we need a lot of bass to add to the storyline. Like most television series, the audio serves its purpose and not much more.

Supplements: What are the extras?

While not packed with a ton of supplements, “The Mentalist” does contain some deleted scenes on some “key episodes” that do shed a bit of light on the series. Also included are a few featurettes “Evidence of a hit series” in which the cast and crew “reflect” on the first season and its enormous success. Also included is “Cracking the Crystal Ball: Mentalist vs. Psychic” in which the question is asked: which is better ? superior mental ability or keen observation? You be the judge.

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