Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pilot Review: Perception

Perception (TNT)
Premiered July 9 at 10pm

Eric McCormack’s last show on TNT, “Trust Me,” didn’t last long. McCormack was cast opposite the charismatic Tom Cavanagh, but the plot of the show – which centered on advertising executives – didn’t resonate since it wasn’t told in an especially creative manner. This new series tries to buck that trend and give McCormack a gig that will last following his successful stint on “Will and Grace.” Unfortunately, the show doesn’t have much potential, and though it boasts a semi-clever, semi-irritating tagline, “Crime Scene Differently,” there’s not much innovative about its construction or presentation. Daniel’s bluntness merely makes him curmudgeonly, and he’s not any more brilliant than any other eccentric offbeat protagonist. He’s more pretentious, however, and that doesn’t work in his favor, since his only real skill appears to be solving anagrams. The appearance of a hallucination was made especially familiar by his pointing out of “If we solved the crime, than why am I still here?” It’s possible that will be a weekly device, which is something that would quickly become grating (though it did work well in the great short-live 2007 Jeff Goldblum show “Raines”). The fact that the student did want to have sex with him means that at least someone likes him, since LeVar Burton’s dean wasn’t shy about telling him how much he’s costing the university. Rachel Leigh Cook’s federal agent adds little to the show, and neither does Kelly Rowan’s therapist. That leaves it all up to McCormack, and he’s not nearly as dramatically talented as TNT seems to think he is. This show could be watchable, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

How will it work as a series? Daniel’s involvement with the FBI as a consultant is going to see a major spike, as he’s called in frequently to romance Cook’s Agent Moretti and alienate her coworkers by defiantly solving cases they can’t hope to figure out. A bit of his home life and a peek into his wild mind should make for plenty of unstable and predictable television.
How long will it last? The pilot debuted rather strongly, coming close to achieving the numbers of its lead-in “The Closer” and far outdoing the start of “Trust Me” three years ago. That said, I think this show is going to pale in comparison to TNT’s blockbusters, and I think that, unless the numbers stay high, this one will be gone and forgotten after its ten-episode first season.

Pilot grade: C

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