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Perception (2012)

two episodes in and i'm not convinced. it's not *bad* by any means, but neither does it particularly grab me.

Part of it is that i've watched too much of The Mentalist and this show feels like the inferior younger brother; it's the same formulaic elements that can lead to a successful show, but it doesn't live up to what The Mentalist achieves in its quality of storytelling, character design, and relationship building.

Part of it is that the set up for the main protagonist has two distinct sides that feels contradictory in a way that makes no sense. He's a conspiracy theory nut and he has such a high degree of social anxiety that he sometimes has to deal with it by playing classical music on his portable cassette deck and conduct out in public, yet when he's teaching a bunch of college kids he looks perfectly relaxed and confident not just about the subject matter but about how he conveys the information in a way that can relate to the students and make them laugh?

The mystery and reveal around the first episode was humdrum boring. The second episode was much more interesting and unique in its approach, but was also annoyingly predictable given the information revealed to the audience. i guess that's the tough balance that a mystery show has to make: on the one hand, the mystery has to be deep enough that it requires the main protag whether it's this guy or if it's Patrick Jane or Sherlock Holmes to solve it because no one else can. On the other hand, the answers need to feel like they're not coming out of the blue, so the clues need to be laid out to the audience in a way that's convincing that the clues were there but something that the audience and the more "normal" characters could easily overlook.

Of course, the problem is that once that formula is recognized, it becomes predictable, turning into the "Scooby-Doo" syndrome of "that character that only had one speaking line early on must have been the one that did it." A decent show finds ways to make that sort of meta disappear by capturing the watcher in the spirit of the episode, make it so that that sort of discovery can give the audience a feeling of elation or vidincation that their guess was correct as opposed to internally rolling their eyes and saying, "well duh".

This show doesn't have that. I may not be saying "well duuh" *exactly*, but neither do i find myself getting engrossed in any of the story or the larger plot arc because it feels like such recycled material. But again, it's not *bad*, and since the season opener of Leverage was pretty disappointing because they're going down a path that makes their episodes incomprehensible and the show was only okay in the first place, i may stick it out and see if it gets better.

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March 2017