Friendly Rating: Older elementary age and up will find this interesting.
Safety Rating: One bloody crime scene photo and violent re-enactment, some sexual innuendo
Quality Rating: It’s actually pretty good and sometimes thought-provoking
New series premieres on TNT tonight at 10 p.m.
I was prepared to hate Perception. I mean, come on, another eccentric crime solver? In this case, Professor Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) is a genius professor of neuroscience, often abrasive and dealing with paranoid schizophrenia. And who hallucinates while trying to help the FBI – in the form of Kate Moretti (Rachel Leigh Cook) – solve complex puzzles.
And, yeah, there’s plenty that’s clichéed here. The brilliant, but tortured genius. The beautiful young female cop/agent. The way she leaps from a second-story fire escape to nail a suspect. The crime, itself, in the premiere. But somehow, in the viewing, it actually works fairly well.
Safety-wise, that might be something of a problem, since the show does tread delicately around some mature content and has a few grisly scenes, including a really icky crime scene photo and the re-enactment of the crime, itself. Although you don’t see the weapon hitting the victim, the perp wielding it gets pretty intense. There is some sexual innuendo – one of Pierce’s students starts to undress in his office but doesn’t get further than her shirt off. So you may want to watch with your kids or wait ’til they’re in bed.
Part of what makes the show interesting is Pierce’s discussions on what is reality or normalcy – and how that reflects what he experiences. Because while his hallucinations are a problem and can even cause him to react very badly in some situations, they also help him solve the crimes. How they’re going to sustain that dialogue over the course of a series, I have to wonder, but it could provoke some interesting discussion about the nature of reality and how our flaws can be our greatest strengths.
One of the show’s greatest weaknesses, sadly, is the Moretti character. I don’t know if it’s that Cook still looks like a high school freshman or if she, as an actor, just doesn’t have sufficient gravitas to pull it off. It might work better if the other characters yanked Moretti’s chain about it. But for the moment, it just isn’t working.
Still, there are a lot of worse shows on TV at the moment, and given what I’ve seen of the fall pilots, even worse coming.