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PSYCH "Remake" Not Improvement

Psych poster

Written by : published Sunday 26th January 2014

USA's Psych feels like its taking a victory lap as the series wraps up. I say this because, rather than delivering typical episodes, the writers are getting more creative more often and doing some zany things, from musicals to a European excursion. This week's latest installment, "Remake A.K.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement" is actually a redo of a season one episode, working off what is a very similar script and storyline, albeit with a different killer.

The original episode (which I re-watched this week) was the twelfth one that aired, "Cloudy... With a Chance of Murder," way back in February of 2007. It is a relatively normal entry in which Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) help a bumbling defense attorney named Adam Hornstock (Michael Weston, House M.D.) clear his client of having murdered her lover, a newscaster. In the original version, the victim's jealous assistant (Keegan Connor Tracy, Once Upon a Time), is the culprit.

This time around, the defense attorney is still played by Weston, but now the suspects are a plethora of recognizable faces, rather than the relative unknowns used last time. The guest cast includes Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty, Eight is Enough), Janet Varney (Burning Love), Katharine Isabelle (Being Human), Carlos Jacott (Big Love), Lindsay Sloane (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), Alan Ruck (Spin City, Ferris Bueller's Day Off), Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, and a previous Psych guest star twice over), and Dana Ashbrook (also Twin Peaks and Psych). This roster lends the whiff of a stunt episode to the mix.

It isn't surprising Psych would finally get around to a tribute to itself. It has, after all, paid homage to many other shows and movies in the past. With its offbeat sense of humor, it makes total sense to go in this direction, especially if the end is nigh.

That being said, "Remake A.J.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement" adds little to the series portfolio, and it would be hard to argue it's even a bit better than the first, no matter what the title suggests. I believe part of this is because it picks a very run-of-the-mill entry to play off of, and the other part is that it doesn't do much to change things. The one thing the new one has over the old is that in the original, it's very clear the team hasn't figure out what the show is yet, exactly, whereas here, there's a welcome level of comfort and confidence.

In fact, the character dynamics are much closer to the current relationships that the original chemistry, despite the insistence of text on screen that this takes place years ago. While Jules (Maggie Lawson) says she isn't amused by Shawn, we know it's not true. Lawson doesn't do enough to convince us of that, which, as funny as it is when Shawn insists they will be together, something that can be added to the story in hindsight, is too bad. Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) also goes too soft on the boys.

A couple of things that are nice additions is that Henry (Corbin Bernsen) talks to a baby at the beginning, rather than a child, and Woody (Kurt Fuller), now an important part of the ensemble, is a witness in the case. But even in this, they waste Woody, not even setting him up to be a pal or have his current job.

Overall, "Remake A.K.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement" is a disappointment. Not because it's not entertaining; it's about as much so as a mediocre, typical Psych episode. Instead, it's the missed opportunities like the jokes that weren't done (such as using an old theme song) that keep it from being memorable. It's a good idea, not executed as well as it could have been, though it does have some good references.

Psych airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on USA.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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