Psych was still buzzing along in its sixth season and Season Seven was on the horizon, the show's creative team decided to make a slightly bold decision that involved its main character that would have potential ramifications on the rest of the ensemble. I think moreover that how this decision was executed may indicate your general happiness about the season in general.
Everyone returned for the season. You have got Shawn Spencer (James Roday, The Dukes of Hazzard), the psychic detective, and his best friend Gus (Dule Hill, The West Wing). The pair work with the Santa Barbara Police Department on cases, and especially for Shawn, his romantic relationship with one of the detectives, Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson, Pleasantville) is somewhat sensitive in that his ‘powers' are given a little more trust than most. The ‘most' being symbolized by Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson, Mission: Impossible III). The quartet go and solve various homicides in the town and have done so over the dozens of episodes.
The show has done a good job of broadening the cast out past the four primary characters. Previous seasons have included the introduction of Shawn's father Henry, who is also a retired police officer (Corbin Bernsen ,Major League), but we also have the re-introduction of Shawn's mother Madeleine, played by Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting), who appears to have reconciled with Henry and this relationship is something Shawn is attempting to process when he accidentally spots them…reconciling. Adding onto the Santa Barbara side, Kirsten Nelson (War of the Worlds) plays the Chief of Police and Kurt Fuller (Midnight in Paris) plays Woody, the city coroner.
The show also brings in a bevy of guest stars for each episode, some of whom recur from previous seasons. Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) plays Marlow, the felon and love interest of Lassiter's, now out on parole and both continue to extend their relationship in "Cirque Du Soul." With the fifth episode "100 Clues," the show was able to bring in several actors from the 1985 film Clue and do a pseudo tribute to the movie that was based on the board game. Parminder Nagra, who introduced herself to audiences in Bend It Like Beckham but cut her American teeth on ER appeared as Rachael, a single mother and love interest for Gus in a nice subarc.
Slight Spoiler here, so brace yourself accordingly.
They all play second fiddle to the main event in Psych, which takes an Eli Cash presupposition and tries to go full bore with it, and it is what if Shawn is not a psychic? Now the show has inferred more than it is actually about Shawn's observation and recollection more than actual psychic powers so in that regard, the viewer knows more about it than even those closest to Shawn (specifically Juliet, who finds out about the secret). But the show does little with the event past trying to figure out how Juliet deals with it, as she is the one who finds out about it. One would think that something as impactful as this could potentially be would be handled with some more decisiveness by the creative team, and perhaps they are still trying to figure out what to do with it, particularly as Season Eight is about to air. But if what they did in Season Seven is any indication, the halfhearted nature in which the post-reveal was done is not entirely encouraging.
Psych still has laughs, gags, good guest appearances and boy, does the main group of stars solve murders in Santa Barbara like nobody's business. But one would hope that when one of the stars undertakes a new pseudo-transformation that it would be handled a little bit better, particularly after so many years where the audience is familiar with most of said character's psychological nooks and crannies. This is not to say that Season Seven of Psych is bad, just that it could have done better with what they decided to do.
For lucky seven, Psych has 14 episodes spread over three discs, all of which presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for the public to consume. In past years the show has had as many as 16 episodes per season, but the show had a musical episode which was part of the season's production order, but did not premiere until after these discs were released. That said, the quality on the discs is good, with colors looking vivid without saturation issues. There is no edge enhancement that is prevalent and the transfer is as clean as can be. Pleasant viewing this was.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track for each episode is ultimately solid listening material and without complaint. There is not a lot of channel panning through the soundstage, but directional sounds in the rear channels are present occasionally and make for a surprise level of immersion, and dialogue is consistent through the front of the theater. While the show lacks any real low-end emphasis, considering it is a television show there is not a lot of dynamic action to drop the jaw. It is what it is.
Psych has a tendency to appeal to its fan base and in its sixth season packed the DVD extras on, so perhaps that action is what make them scale back things a bit on the Season Seven DVDs. Gone is virtually any hint of cast participation, with five ‘podcasts' which serve as episode commentaries. The core of these podcasts by Executive Producers Steve Franks, Chris Henze and Kelly Kulchak. Occasionally co-EP Andy Berman comes by, but the ‘guest' is generally either the writer or director of the episode being discussed. The episodes are long on jocularity and short on a lot of desired information about the production, and on one podcast Fuller literally phones in his appearance. Frankly, these podcasts are disappointing and can be avoided. Deleted scenes appear on 12 of the episodes and combined, there are a bunch of them (42, 41:32), but they are redundant for the most part. Two of the show's "Psychouts" or end credit gags are next (1:16) and an underwhelming gag reel (3:32) rounds out the package. While there is an extended episode for the show's fifth episode "100 Clues" (53:11), one would presume the extras hide with the musical episode and may be seen at some point in the future.
For the most part Season Seven of Psych continues to do what it is known for and does it well. In a way that is to the slight detriment of the show when they try to do something bold such as what occurs halfway through the season. The producers mention more than once that the lack of a midseason break may have hampered their efforts (and there is plenty of opportunity for them to improve the groundwork they have laid out), but it seems to me if one was going to perhaps flip the Petri dish that is the Santa Barbara police department and Psychic detective agency on its ear, it would have more conviction behind it. Technically, the show remains very good, though the lack of extras is frustrating. Definitely worth more to watch and forget than anything else.