"I'm going to tell you what I do. I don't want you to freak out because it's so cool, okay? I'm a psychic. A great and powerful psychic, whose powers inspire fear and awe in those who first experience them. I am a crime solving machine and I have closed over fifty cases - many without pants." - Shawn Spencer
The fourth season of Psych had the program still going strong and firing on all cylinders. Shawn, the fake psychic, and his partner Gus solve more improbably crimes while exchanging witty banter filled with pop culture references. Part crime show, part sitcom, it's a fun program that's been able to stay fresh, which is pretty impressive given the nature of the show.
Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a psychic who works for the police force. At least, that's what the cops think. He really doesn't have any supernatural abilities, he's just very observant. Trained from a young age by his police officer father, Shawn notices things that the rest of us don't and is able to piece together seemingly disparate clues in ways that make it seem like he has psychic powers.
Together with his best friend Gus (Dulé Hill, West Wing) Shawn has started a psychic detective agency, Psych. Yes, it's a pun on the now dated slang word that meant "fooled you" something that Shawn finds amusing and Gus finds surprising that no one has called them on it yet.
This season finds Shawn and Gus still working for the Santa Barbara Police Department along side officers Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) aka "Lassie" and his partner Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson). There's a good mixture of silly episodes played for laughs and more serious installments. In the former category are episodes like Let's Get Hairy where a man, Stewart (Joshua Malina from West Wing) hires Shawn and Gus to prove that he's a werewolf. Their Halloween episode for this season, the dialog was all done in the style of an old monster movie from the 30's or 40's. It's hilarious and never goes too far, paying respect to those old films without making fun of them.
Another stand-out episode, this one more serious, is Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark. This time it's Shawn who is in trouble when he gets shot and locking in a trunk when he tries to stop a crime before it is committed. Told through flashbacks the structure of the story is interesting and it also makes the episode suspenseful.
The cases that are unraveled are fun but generally not that gripping or mysterious. They are more of a reason to see Shawn and Gus do their thing. As with the previous seasons main attraction to the show is the fast-paced humorous dialog filled with obscure references. It's sort of like Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the movies, and it works quite well. When Shawn asks a client to describe a person (Lassiter as it happens to be) he replies "Imagine Robert Goulet dressed liked Mr. Bean playing the Scarecrow in a Summer Stock production of the Wizard of Oz dedicated to Tony Randall." Though my kids were scratching their heads my wife and I were laughing. Another great section is this hilarious (and accurate) slam on another show from a competing network that they slipped in when Shawn was explaining what he does:
Shawn: You've seen The Mentalist, right?
Shawn: It's like that.
Gus: Except that guy's a fake.
Shawn: Right. If I was a fake psychic, it would be eerily similar.
Gus: Exactly the same.
Shawn: A virtual carbon copy.
The 16 episodes that comprise season four come on 4 DVD. The case matches the cases for the previous seasons, which is nice. (I hate when they change styles half way through.)
The program comes with a DD 5.1 surround audio track that fits the show well. There are a couple of loud and impressive audio scenes through the show, but mainly it's dialog based and that comes through loud and clear.
The anamorphic 1.78:1 image looks pretty good overall. The colors are bright and the lines are tight. The level of detail is fine. There is a bit of mosquito noise through the show, especially in areas where one color is predominant. While it was evident, it never became distracting.
Like the previous seasons, this set has a good amount of bonus material. There are deleted scenes to just about every episode and audio, video, and podcast commentary tracks to many as well. In addition there's a gag reel that's pretty amusing and some funny montages.
Season four of Psych contains 16 fun, hilarious, and sometimes intriguing episodes. With some great parodies and a few thought provoking mysteries not to mention the rapid-fire amusing banter between the leads, this program is a winner. Highly Recommended.