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Monday, July 16, 2012

TV Pilot Hell - Perception (2012)

Cartoon by Christopher McElfresh
Whoa, boy! The worst thing about what I'm about to say is that it probably will not mean anything. So, just consider this the rantings of an angry pop-culture geek over a stupid, pointless, copy/paste show that was laughable from start to finish. There are a lot of shows that are essentially amalgamations of other popular shows designed to cash in on those titles' successes. The problem with this lame wannabes is that they never, EVER seem to hold up. Judging by the pilot, Perception just may be the single worst offender in this category I've seen since Rizzoli and Isles.

Perception follows a neurology professor named Daniel Pierce who suffers from schizophrenia and often holds two-sided conversations with hallucinations, oh yeah, and he solves crimes! You see, Pierce is a human lie detector. He can instantaneously tell if someone is not telling the truth because of the inflection in their voice. So he is given a babysitter in the form of a sexy female agent (boy, does THAT sound familiar?) and they team up to track down the person responsible for a murder a pharmaceutical company.

The plot of this episode is pretty paint-by-numbers so I'm not going to dig too deep into it, but the overall plot of the show... I HAVE to talk about this. When the case begins, the doctor sees a hallucination who tells him things about his case. He constantly shows up when the plot needs him to point something out to the doctor (the audience) then disappears once the case is solved. Sort of like unlocking an achievement. It's a really, REALLY stupid plot device and it makes what was already a bad show even worse.

That one stupid plot element aside, this show as a whole is pretty dumb. It falls into the “Quirky or weird male crime solving genius babysat by a sexy female agent” sub-plot that's been around for years but has been at its worse lately with lame shows like Castle and the Mentalist. This show, however, is all about extremes. The male lead is EXTREMELY nuts and EXTREMELY annoying. While characters like Gregory House M.D. use one-liners, passive aggression and meanness to hide an actual character with emotion and conflict, this character's hidden trait is spelled out for us from the get-go and is about as predictable as one could imagine. This is the type of character concept that is played out in daytime soap operas, what makes any idiotic studio executive think it will hold water in prime time?

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