One of the hot shows of the previous television season, THE MENTALIST finds itself swimming in the broadcast sea amongst a whole lot of other police procedurals. And as I keep saying, new entrants into this particularly overcrowded genre, needs some kind of gimmick to set it apart from the competition. In the case of THE MENTALIST, the show’s gimmick is its central character, who uses his uncanny set of observational skills to solve crimes. THE MENTALIST stars Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former "celebrity psychic" who used his talents of observation to feign paranormal abilities for personal gain, that is, until he attracted the attention of a serial killer dubbed Red John, who murdered his wife and daughter.
Now, trying to redeem himself, Jane works as an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation, where he assists in more difficult investigations. Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) leads the CBI team to which Jane is attached, and while she is a no-nonsense agent, she does give her consultant a bit more latitude than she would another agent. Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) is the CBI team member who offers Jane the most direct assistance and often looks the other way, when the consultant fails to follow the rulebook. Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) are the remaining team members, who display a mutual attraction to one another, but fail to act on them.
THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($60) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the following twenty-three episodes that were aired during year one: Pilot, Red Hair And Silver Tape, Red Tide, Ladies In Red, Redwood, Red-Handed, Seeing Red, The Thin Red Line, Flame Red, Red Brick And Ivy, Red John's Friends, Red Rum, Paint It Red, Crimson Casanova, Scarlett Fever, Bloodshot, Carnelian Inc., Russet Potatoes, A Dozen Red Roses, Red Sauce, Miss Red, Blood Brothers and Red John's Footsteps.
Warner Home Video has made all twenty-three episodes from THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The episodes look very good for standard definition, but I would be curious to see what THE MENTALIST would look like on Blu-ray. For SD, the episodes appear consistently crisp and nicely defined. Colors are attractive and come across at a better than natural level of saturation. Blacks are accurate, while the whites appear clean. Contrast is good for a television level production. Can’t complain about shadow detail, which is also just fine. The episodes generally appear free from blemishes and the level of grain is fairly minimal. Digital compression artifacts are not a problem.
All of the episodes that constitute THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. The soundtracks are effective, but unremarkable due to the fact that talky television dramas are mixed so you can hear dialogue above everything else. Therefore, the sound design focuses much of the sound front and center. There are occasional channel separations, but the outlying channels don’t see too much activity beyond ambient sounds and musical fill. Overall the fidelity is good; the music sounds fine and sound effects are reasonably convincing. Dialogue is easy to understand, as it should be. Portuguese language tracks are also provided. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Portuguese.
The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as some extras. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Evidence Of A Hit Series and Cracking The Crystal Ball: Mentalist Vs. Psychic. Some Unaired Scenes close out the extras.
THE MENTALIST is an entertaining police procedural with a good gimmick. While it is easy to recommend the series on DVD, I am still interested in seeing it on Blu-ray.
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