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First Thoughts: TNT's Perception

Perception poster

Written by : published Sunday 29th July 2012

First Thoughts: TNT's Perception main image

A few weeks ago, TNT premiered the new series Perception. The freshman series stars Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscientist and college professor is thrust back into solving complex criminal cases using his unique outlook to help the federal government. 

Acting on behalf of the government is Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) who used to be a student under Pierce. She used to work with Pierce a few years prior on cases but eventually got a promotion and left, leaving Pierce to focus on his studies and job teaching college students. But Pierce, despite his gifted mind is also tortured as well as he may or may not be schizophrenic, such as seeing Natalie (Kelly Rowan).  And for a guy who helps the FBI solve cases, not everyone is a fan.  For example, Kate’s partner Roger Probert (Jonathan Scarfe) is doubtful of Dr. Pierce’s gifts even with the convictions he is assisting with, and then there is Pierce’s assistant Max who is generally concerned for the good doctor’s well being; the more cases he works and the more out of his daily routine Daniel ventures from the more different personalities from his schizophrenia come to being, causing Pierce to begin questioning his own sanity during a case: is the person he looking at is a potential witness or someone who his brain is making up to help him solve the case? With such an interesting premise, how does the show fare?

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how I feel about this show during the end of the pilot, and even 3 episodes into Perception, I’m not sure now. 

From the start, it is easy to tell that Perception is a show that is all about character. I feel that with a few more bits of whacky humor it would fit much better on USA Network’s line-up. Instead it is on TNT as a possible replacement for The Closer next season if it survives past season one, Perception tries to be a bit of both, very serious but quirky for a crime show.

The problem I guess is that for me, the show feels like it is trying too hard to be quirky case of the week or something with more to it.  There are sincere hints of ideas that could work well as arcs that last through the entire season, but instead what happens is a good idea is touched on but then seemingly abandoned or ‘fixed’ (aka given a resolution) by the episode’s end.  And while that’s fine, it feels like the show yearns for something more than the standard quirky USA Network-like show.  I’d love to see a major story arc consume the show amidst the case of the weeks much akin to Suits or Royal Pains, but alas, Perception as of yet isn’t that show.

Dr. Pierce and Max prepare for class 

And that’s fine. That isn’t a problem.  Fact is, Perception for what it is, works. And the parts that makes me feel it isn’t what it could be, is pushed aside due to the fact that the cast is top-notch led by Cook, Rowan but more importantly McCormack. I’ve been a fan of McCormack since Free  Enterprise, and the fact the man is a consummate geek but also great actor makes Perception for all it’s small faults a show that is worthy of any casual television viewer’s eyes. (The fact the man enjoys the heck of Barenaked Ladies doesn’t hurt either, which is my favorite band along with fellow TV King reviewer Jerome Wetzel).

Overall, Perception is a solid show that is a nice way to kill an hour and for any small faults the show has with it’s tone or want to be something more than it is, is sold completely by the cast.

About the author goodbadgeeky

goodbadgeeky

Nick ‘Nitro’ Arganbright has an extreme love for a good story, whether it be in film, tv, video games, comic books, music or more and it shows in each article and podcast he produced. The titular podcast he produces is called The Good The Bad & The Geeky with co-hosts Jon Bettin and Nathan ‘DJ Meat’ Haley. The podcast has helped him make a few contacts within in the industry which he hopes to use to entertain and inform readers of his reviews on Examiner.com and The TV King, offering an average joe opinion that is often overlooked in major print and online publications. If you’d like to e-mail him, please do so at [email protected] or you can tweet him on twitter at @goodbadgeeky.

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