Well, it looks like it’s true. Reported by, well, everyone who reports these things, my favorite TV show is leaving Netflix on October 1. So, I have the next two days to stream as much of the show as possible before I have to go search for the complete series on DVD…
I was there for the pilot episode, intrigued by the commercials and a fan of Dulè Hill from his time on my SECOND favorite show of all time, The West Wing. So, I decided to give this show about Shawn, a fake psychic detective (James Roday) and his best friend Gus (Hill) a shot. All the pop culture references and the comedic timing between everyone on the cast (Anne Dudek notwithstanding – she was fine in the pilot, but I’m glad she was replaced by Maggie Lawson) made me an instant fan of the show, and I stuck around through all 8 seasons.
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, Shawn was taught to be hyper-observant by his cop father (played by Corbin Bernsen) and uses those skills to pretend to be a psychic to help the Santa Barbara Police Department solve crimes.
It’s a frequent rewatch of mine, which will unfortunately end on Saturday. For the time being, anyway, as I fully expect Netflix to bring the show back sometime soon.
Last night, I went through the episode list for Psych on IMDb, to try and narrow down my favorites. On the first pass, I identified 42 episodes out of 120 as “favorites.” I’m not sure I have the time to do a Top 42 list, and I doubt anyone but the biggest Psych fans would read the whole thing.
So, instead of a “favorite episodes” list – which might as well include the whole series, here’s a look at my favorite guest stars on the show, which were almost always pitch perfect and enhanced the fun in every episode.
Pierre Despereaux, 4 episodes (Season 4, Episode 1 – Extradition: British Columbia; Season 5, Episode 10 – Extradition 2: The Actual Extradition Part; Season 6, Episode 10 – Indiana Shawn and the and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger; Season 8, Episode 1 – Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster’s Goblet of Fire)
Man, some of those episode titles are long… Cary Elwes, who should be known to most people as Westley from The Princess Bride, played an international art thief that Shawn and Gus encountered when they took a trip to Canada to open the fourth season. Despite making attempts to bring Despereaux in, Shawn is intrigued by the criminal and Despereaux finds it easy to manipulate Shawn when he needs to play out a con. Elwes’ three return appearances always gave the show a special feel and made the episodes a must-watch.
Rachel Leigh Cook
Abigail Lytar, 6 episodes between Season 3, Episode 2 – Murder? … Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller? and Season 4, Episode 16 – Mr. Yin Presents.
Psych is really just a love letter to the best cultural references of the 1980s and 1990s, so when Rachel Leigh Cook, who starred in this commercial:
came on the show as Shawn’s “what could have been” high school dream girl during the high school reunion episode, it made perfect sense. She didn’t come back until the season 3 finale, when Shawn decides to ask her out, but her semi-regular appearances throughout Season 4 were always fun. Some people hated her character because it delayed the relationship between Shawn and Detective Juliet O’Hara (played by Maggie Lawson, who dated Roday while they filmed Psych), but Abigail was what Shawn needed to help him mature so he would be ready for that relationship. Cook’s highlight, for me, was probably in Bollywood Homicide (Season 4, Episode 6), when Shawn and Gus investigate an Indian man’s theory that he was cursed to never know true love. That episode featured a bunch of other great guest stars, including Sendhil Ramamurthy and Jay Chandrasekhar. Unfortunately, Abigail was written off after she decided she couldn’t handle being kidnapped by a crazed serial killer. It’s unfortunate, because she really was all that.
Oh, hey, speaking of…
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Dennis Gogolack, Season 5, Episode 3 – Not Even Close… Encounters
Every time I see this episode, I wish Prinze had stuck around to do more episodes of Psych, as his UFO-obsessed former fat kid nerd would have made a great addition to the back half of the show. Shawn and Gus turn to Dennis when a lawyer claims his colleague was abducted by aliens. Dennis has been hiding his geekier side (he’s a casual geek now) from his hot wife (played by Becky O’Donoue) who also turns out to be a closet nerd. Prinze’s interactions with Roday and Hill were priceless, especially when they sat around Dennis’ hidden man cave wearing costumes.
Father Peter Westley (Season 4, Episode 4 – The Devil Is In The Details … And the Upstairs Bedroom; Season 5, Episode 12 – Dual Spires) and Judge Horace Leland (Season 8, Episode 3 – Remake AKA Cloudy… With A Chance of Improvement)
Wise is a great actor with fun appearances in a lot of great shows, and his appearances in Psych are no different. Discounting his role in the season 8 episode listed above (which really isn’t one of my favorites), Wise’s two other appearances are classic Psych. The first is a take-off on the Exorcist, as Wise’s character believes that a girl has been possessed and Shawn and Gus are brought in to help figure things out. The second is probably one of the best Psych episodes ever. Dual Spires is a tribute to Roday’s favorite show, Twin Peaks, and includes many of the actors from the show as Shawn and Gus try to solve a bizarre mystery in a small town that’s barely on any maps, but they found because they were invited to a Cinnamon Festival. It’s just a ridiculously fun episode and (I think) one of the best hours of television aired in 2010. I’ll credit Roday (who helped write the episode) with the renaissance for Twin Peaks that led to the new series getting worked on.
The Cast of “Clue”
Season 7, Episode 5 – 100 Clues
To celebrate the 100th episode of Psych, the show reunited Martin Mull, Leslie Ann Warren and Christopher Lloyd, the stars of the 1980s comedy cult classic Clue, for a tribute to the movie. Clue is one of my favorite movies ever, so this obviously just made me deliriously happy. Shawn and Gus attend a mysterious party at a mansion and end up needing to solve a murder. That’s really no surprise. I only wish they managed to get Lee Ving, who played Mr. Boddy in Clue, to appear. Oh, and one other guy, but he already made a guest appearance…
Nigel St. Nigel, Season 2, Episode 1 – American Duos
While Psych had some great guest stars in the first season, kicking off Season 2 with Tim Curry playing a Simon Cowell analog on a singing competition show that Shawn and Gus love probably helped to get the show noticed. Curry goes through the episode insulting everyone and looking like the cat that ate the canary when he wears a robe he stole from Shawn’s dad while under their protection. I already loved the show, but this cemented it and showed that Psych wouldn’t have a sophomore slump or dip in quality for Season 2.
I could really go on and on with great Psych cameos and guest stars, and I know I missed a few here and there that Psych-os will take exception to. I love them, too, and maybe we’ll revisit them when Netflix brings the show back. Seriously, let them know you want Psych back on Netflix.
But until then, take the next day and a half to watch as much Psych as possible. I’ll leave you with some fun Psych compilations: