Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sepinwall on TV: 'Lie to Me' review

In today's column, I review Fox's "Lie to Me," which I thought was relatively well-executed, but which I'd be fine with never seeing again.

I'll have a separate open thread-type post set to go tonight at 10 for those who want to discuss the episode after it airs.

16 comments:

J said...

I won't watch this show until they rename it Look! He's Blinking! Bleeeeenkeeeeeng!

Feeling bad for Tim Roth.

M.A.Peel said...

Alan, you mentioned "Life" in your article. Can you remind us when it is coming back?

Steve B said...

My biggest pet peeve are armchair psychiatrists. People who watch some tv show, and try to apply its lessons to real life. I work with a lot of people who do this. They've been looking forward to this show. I can't wait to hear them become experts in lies.

David said...

Personally, I'm over the specialized thriller, a la Numbers, The Mentalist, Lie to Me, etc. The gimmick does not a series make, in my book.

Bobman said...

My biggest pet peeve are armchair psychiatrists. People who watch some tv show, and try to apply its lessons to real life. I work with a lot of people who do this. They've been looking forward to this show. I can't wait to hear them become experts in lies.

HA! I catch myself wanting to be like this all the time. It's the same kind of thing that lawyers and cops complain about with juries now : everyone has watched too much CSI and the like and expect magical forensic evidence.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Feeling bad for Tim Roth.

Why? Based on the public appetite for this kind of show and the fact that it's airing after "American Idol," this thing is probably going to be a huge hit and will make Roth lots and lots of money.

Anonymous said...

I'm with David. Enough of these shows already. People like to rag on reality tv as the end of civilization, but even if the shows are trashy at least the ideas behind them are often fairly original. CBS may be doing well, but its shows are all completely indistinguishable. And the fact that they're doing well and, unlike reality tv, no one seems to be calling them out on how they're hurting tv as a whole, means we'll be subjected to them for eternity.

And, really, for all the talk about how The Mentalist is a big hit...I don't know a single person who watches it or who would ever go out of their way to tune in. I sort of assume its audience is all over 60 and just can't figure out how to work that gosh darn remote. It just seems like you can throw any procederual on CBS and it will do well. I guarantee if The Evidence or Justice had aired on CBS they'd have become equally big hits.

As for Lie to Me, I've seen the pilot and agree that it's well made, but I don't need to see it ever again. One thing that bothered me was that Lightman runs his own institution and in many scenes is working completely independently to interview suspects and solve cases without law enforcement anywhere in sight. At the very least the writers take time to explain how Lightman deduces all of his information, which is a step up from The Mentalist where the main character just seems to be omnipotent without any attempt to explain how he's figured things out.

J said...

Feeling bad for Tim Roth.

Why? Based on the public appetite for this kind of show and the fact that it's airing after "American Idol," this thing is probably going to be a huge hit and will make Roth lots and lots of money.


Because now, instead of being Tim Roth, interesting actor/director, he'll be That Guy from That Lame Show.

I didn't say I felt bad for Tim Roth's bank account.

pgillan said...

I like to think of myself as a discerning viewer of "quality" telivision, but I also watch more than my fair share of CBS procedurals. Even while I'm watching NCIS, I think to myself "why am I watching NCIS?" I don't know anyone else who watches it, but I also don't go around talking about it- it's a trifle. CSI, Criminal Minds, Numbers (sorry, Numb3rs), they are mildy diverting, with pleasant enough characters that have only the lightest dusting of personality. In fact, I don't think I could tell you the names of most of the characters on those show- they don't matter. Neither do previous episodes. And most importantly, it doesn't matter if I fall asleep while I watch it.

I don't get the same feeling from shows on other networks (whith the exception of Law & Order). CBS figured out the formula, and Fox, specifically, seems to want to try to provide more actual entertainment. A House, a Prison Break or a Fringe may be the same type of show at its core, but they spend a lot more time trying to engage me, which I'm not always in the mood for. Lie to Me looks like it will be another one of these shows.

SoCal said...

I am not over 60, and the only crime procedural I enjoy is "The Mentalist." Simon Baker is very likable in the role and the supporting cast is entertaining as well.

The CSI's and Criminal Minds and NCIS's i could do without, but the fact that Bruno Heller (of "Rome" fame) created the show as well gave me more of a reason to check it out and i have stuck around.

Kensington said...

Wow, that's Kelli Williams in the picture? I don't recognize her anymore. Is that just aging or has she had face-altering work?

I'm not criticizing her appearance, mind you; whoever she is, she's lovely, but she simply doesn't match my mental image of Kelli Williams anymore.

Pamela Jaye said...

The cast looks ugly - except for Kelli (except for "except for Kelli" this was my reaction to the cast pix for Ally McBeal and House, btw)

i'm still recording Medium and dumping it to DVD. someday i may watch it. I like the husband. not for the way he looks, I just appreciate his patience with the whole thing. also, it seems like a new gimmick every week.

I don't watch any other crime dramas - unless they can pull in a guest star that I wouldn't miss (say MJ Fox, Marlee Matlin, Scott - I've seen reruns with Ellen Pompeo - she was on one of those shows *twice* - oh and Chelsea Field. I'd watch for her, as long as no severed heads were involved... I missed the NCIS at least twice. I didn't feel motivated to go after it)

The brother recently recorded a movie with Kelly. Maybe I'll record it and hold on till they cancel it. There's room on the DVR...

Pamela Jaye said...

btw and off topic as usual, this week's ER ep is called Love is a Battlefield. I actually stopped and asked myself whether Grey's had used that title and why I wondered if it had. Gee, I'm slow. (this may also explain why whenever I see the Grey's ep title Dream a Little Dream of Me, I start singing it: most of the song titles they use, I've never heard the songs - and that was the exception. nope, there were a lot in the first two seasons and just this year they used Chunk of My Lung... um...)

captcha word - opressem

Jennifer said...

Eh, I thought it was fun. I didn't zone out during the middle of the episode the way I did with The Mentalist, whatshisface's prettiness aside. The "learning how to check lies" thing is fun and possibly useful (heh). I'll give it another shot.

Anonymous said...

I sort of assume its audience is all over 60 and just can't figure out how to work that gosh darn remote.

Yeah, pushing a button is so gosh darn complicated no one born in the '40s could handle it.

jane said...

How can all you people be so blaise about this show. Lie to Me was actually interesting. I found the characters believable and a lot more fun to be with for an hour than the folks on the mentalist. Tim Roth has a snappy wit and can be abrasive in a fun way. You guys don't know what you're talking about.

I've been actually practicing this stuff on my friends and on my husband (when I see him) and you'd be surprised at how much you pick up on when you;re actually looking for it.