Psych was humming along in its seventh season but the writing seemed to be on the wall for the comedy when it came to Season Eight. Season Seven's episodes were delayed in airing and the eighth season originally had an eight episode run that was extended to ten. The show's creative team seemed to sense they were leaving and the season reflected this, but several weeks after the first episode aired the network made it official, but at least the show went out with a nice and tidy package.
The gang returns for one more bite at the apple, with Shawn (James Roday, The Dukes of Hazzard) and Gus (Dule Hill, The West Wing) still going strong. However, Shawn's girlfriend Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson, Pleasantville) who works with the police department, gets an offer to work in San Francisco and weighs the choice on whether to take it or not. Juliet has the blessing of Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson, Mission: Impossible III), who is now the Chief of Police and moves there. So Shawn starts to wonder about it, consulting with Gus, and even Shawn's father (Corbin Bernsen, Major League) to determine if he should follow Juliet to the city by the bay.
Because the show knew that it was going to be in its last run, some of the lesser players (though ones certainly part of the mythology) reappear. Marlow Viccellio (Kristy Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is Lassiter's baby mama and her recurring role goes out on a good note, and longer standing characters like the former chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson, War of the Worlds). Heck, even Kurt Fuller (Midnight In Paris) who plays Woody the Coroner, gets an episode to show off Fuller's faculties as an actor.
To the credit of Psych, they were able to incorporate guest stars in its last season that either had a chance to appear in a previous episode and return for one last round, or new ones appear that bring smiles to the faces of viewers. The show's first episode of the season, "Lock, Stock, Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire," was a pleasant mix of the Harry Potter films and the London crime films of Guy Ritchie, and includes an appearance from Vinnie Jones (of Lock, Stock fame) to boot as Shawn and Gus go to London. In another episode that the opening credits stress happened in 2006, "Remake, A.K.A. Cloudy…With a Chance of Improvement," past guests Alan Ruck, Ralph Macchio and Ray Wise (among others) reprise general roles that they had in prior seasons. Pierre Desperaux (Cary Elwes) appears in "Lock, Stock" one last time also.
The series finale in "The Break-Up" focuses on the relationship that Shawn and Gus have had lo these many years and while the season shows them not completely ready to give it up, Shawn's decision to go to San Francisco forces Gus to assess things. It is funny, it is sweet, and checks off as many boxes that Psych fans could have hoped for, including a random, out of nowhere guest star and a clever nod to another longtime star on a USA Network comedy, and is one of the more pleasing finales to a comedy in recent memory.
Ultimately, that Psych managed to wrap things up in the way they did was a testament to the easy going, light hearted nature of it. There were some slight signs that it overstayed its welcome perhaps, but it went out in the best possible way and gave everyone involved a chance to say goodbye as well. One had the sense while watching Psych was that it was an enjoyable place to work and this sense of fun came through during it, and to do so while entertaining folks in the process for as long as they were able to is a credit to those involved with it. Catch ya on the flip side, Psych.
Ten episodes spread over three discs when it comes to the final season of Psych, all presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, all looking fine. Film grain is evident during viewing at times, and colors look natural and accurate without excessive saturation. The source material is pristine and there were no moments of artifacts or blocking that I could discern that detracted from the image, and there was no edge enhancement or noticeable tweaking done to the image in the mastering process, it looks as good as one would expect.
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for all episodes with the results being pleasing. Dialogue is consistent and requires little compensation, and while directional effects and channel panning are scant, there are fleeting moments of low-end engagement (such as a food truck hitting a police car) that surprise, albeit pleasantly. Considering that Psych is a comedy its moments are displayed pretty much as anticipated.
The final season of Psych has enough extras to satiate devotees. Creator/show runner Steve Franks, executive producers Chris Henze and Kelly Kulchak return for "podcasts" that serve as episode specific commentaries, but one can glean early on that these are somewhat lackluster and are only entertaining when guests appear on them. Some of the guests are dry and the tracks reflect this (such as the ones with writers Todd Harthan and Carlos Jacott). There is some recall of what unfolded on the episode being watched, but otherwise these are a bunch of folks involved in a particular installment watching this and sharing some inside jokes with some occasional information sprinkled in. Andy Berman (one of the executive producers) does bring the funny on his appearances, and Hill and Roday appear as well, talk about the show, and point out some trivia to boot. The podcasts appear on eight of the ten episodes of the season.
Deleted scenes also appear on six of the show's ten episodes (8:18) and there is a music video on "Was It Something I Said?" where Hill turns in a James Brown impression of sorts and is kind of funny (3:19). The bulk of the extras are on the third disc, starting with the musical episode of Psych (1:27:11) which in and of itself is fine, albeit after seeing a swath of shows do the same thing, feels a tad tiring. There is an extended scene for the episode (1:36) and a behind the scenes look at same (5:02) where we see Franks work with the cast and interview them between takes. There is also a podcast with Franks, Henze, Kulchak, Roday, Lawson & Adam Cohen, who was responsible for the music in the episode. From there, the other extras are not bad. "I Know, You Know, That I'm No Good With Goodbyes" (13:05) includes interviews with the cast and crew on why the production is so fun to work on, and why it has lasted as long as it has. The favorite moments and guest stars are shared by the stars, along with a quick look at "A Nightmare on State Street," the zombie episode in Season Eight. A gag reel (5:24) provides the usual chuckles for the show and montages of the various dancing, ‘suck it's, lip smacks and title mash-ups round things out (6:57).
For fans of Psych, casual or harder core, one could find little fault in how Shawn, Gus and company went out in their eighth and final season, as the notoriously fan-friendly show tried to include every possible goodbye that could be mustered (Gustered?). Technically, the show remained solid to consume, and from a bonus material perspective delivered as much as it could (though the quality of content may be another matter). Definitely worth checking out if you strayed away from it, with an eye towards buying, just so you could say goodbye.