The season one DVDs of The Mentalist, out of all of the DVDs I received this past Christmas, are the ones I am most glad I own. And that is saying something because I also received DVD sets for Bones and Psych.
I started watching The Mentalist fairly early in its debut season. I had heard of two new CBS shows: Eleventh Hour and The Mentalist. I wanted something new to watch and I liked Rufus Sewell in everything I’d ever seen him in so I chose Eleventh Hour. After suffering through three episodes, however, the stories just didn’t hold me. The characters were uninteresting. Still wanting something new to watch, I decided to try that other new CBS show I’d heard about, the one airing after NCIS.
I was hooked from the first episode and within about a month The Mentalist became a higher priority for me than was NCIS. Unfortunately, the fact that Warner Bros. didn’t (and still doesn’t) allow CBS to put The Mentalist online meant that I saw each of the season 1 episodes only once. This, I think, prevented me from becoming totally captivated by the show. Still, I had enjoyed it enough that I knew I wanted the DVDs.
Which brings us to a couple of days after Christmas. Having gotten the DVDs from my mom, she and I decided to start watching them and we invited my sister to join us. She had never seen any of the episodes before, while my mom had been a fan since the beginning.
From the first episode we were all hooked. I think watching the episodes a second time gave me a much greater appreciation of them than I’d ever had before. The three of us watched 2, 3, 4 episodes a night every night until we finished the season. Now, I am totally enthralled by The Mentalist and it is my number one show, knocking Bones out of first for the first time since I began watching it a year and a half ago. (It should be noted that I realized I still love Bones just as much. It’s just that my enjoyment of The Mentalist has really skyrocketed.)
If you decide to watch The Mentalist, do me a favor and give it at least two or three episodes before you make up your mind. Though I said I was hooked from the pilot, there were some things about the characters that I didn’t really get or truly appreciate until several episodes in. This is definitely a show where your appreciation and understanding of it grows as you get to know the characters a little better.
Like NCIS, The Mentalist is a character-centric show in that it focuses on the interactions between the characters, not their personal lives. Like NCIS, you get little glimpses into their personal lives, but that is rarely the focus. At the same time, however, the interactions between the main cast are very much the bigger story than the case of the week. Anyone who enjoys the camaraderie and humor between the NCIS team can probably come to find the same thing between the cast of The Mentalist. And if it’s drama you’re looking for, each of the Red John episodes have provided one of the best hours (ok, 43 minutes) of television I’ve ever watched.
The Mentalist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS.