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A genuinely funny mystery program, with a unique take on the tried and true format.

DVD Review: Psych: The Complete Sixth Season

When Psych debuted in 2006, it was such an oddball series that I never thought we would be talking about a sixth season for the show. But the comedy/detective/mystery hybrid caught on in a big way, and here we are. Psych: The Complete Sixth Season is a four-DVD set from Universal, and contains all 16 episodes from the 2011-2012 season, plus bonus features.

James Roday stars as Scott Spencer, a crime consultant to the Santa Barbara Police Department. “Psych” refers to his supposed psychic ability as well as being the name of his psychic detective agency. In reality, Spencer is a fake, but by using keen observational skills along with good old intuition, he manages to get away with it. Whether truly psychic or not, he is a valuable asset to the police department. The show also stars Dule Hill as Burton “Gus” Guster, Shawn’s best friend and partner, as well as Corbin Bernsen as father Henry Spencer. The main characters are rounded out with Santa Barbara police detectives Carlton Lassister (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), who are under the direction of Police Chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson).

Each Psych program generally begins with a flashback to Shawn’s youth, and one of his father’s many “life lessons” for him. The lessons foreshadow the episode, and are usually incorporated into it later on. Psych hosted quite a number of guest stars this season, including Wayne Brady, Lolita Davidovich, Brad Dourif, Corey Feldman, Danny Glover, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cheech Marin, Malcolm McDowell, Jason Priestley, John Rhys-Davies, Molly Ringwald, French Stewart, and William Shatner, among many others.

The camp element that Shatner brings to every role works perfectly in the Psych universe. His appearance as Frank O’Hara in the “In for a Penny…” episode is priceless. Frank is Juliet’s estranged father, and Shawn hopes to reunite the two for her birthday. What he does not reckon with is the fact that Frank is a con-man with an agenda of his own.

“Let’s Doo-Wop It Again” features Cheech Marin as the founder of an at-risk youth program who is nearly killed during a benefit. The episode also features the return of “Urkel” – Jaleel White, as Gus’ friend and former bandmate Tony. Shawn, Gus, Tony, and Drake (Mekhi Phifer) perform an a cappella song at the benefit. Afterwards Shawn is sidelined after an emergency appendectomy, but Gus finds a way to keep him involved. An interesting development occurs when Lassiter meets Marlowe Viccellio (Kristy Swanson), a mysterious woman who helps him investigate the case.

A key turning point in the hushed relationship between Shawn and Juliet comes in “Neil Simon’s Lover’s Retreat.” In this one, the two embark on a romantic getaway and are robbed by a couple (Jason Priestly and Jennifer Finnigan) they had previously been friendly with. Shawn is especially upset with the loss of his old-school Nintendo DS, which everyone just chalks up to his innate quirkiness. When the case is solved, Gus learns the reason his friend had been so disturbed. Shawn was planning to propose to Juliet with a ring he had hidden inside the Nintendo.

The season ends with “Santabarbaratown,” a take-off on the classic film Chinatown (1974). The discovery of the body of a 70-year old man also reveals that of Veronica Towne, whose case had gone cold after 20 years. Veronica’s case originally belonged to Henry, and he comes out of retirement to team with Shawn and Gus on it. The mystery deepens as the man’s son (and Veronica‘s ex) becomes the prime suspect. The episode unearths some surprising facts for Henry, and forces him into making a significant decision regarding his future. At the end, Henry is shot in the chest by a former friend, played by Max Gail, leaving everyone wondering what season seven will hold.

The bonus features of the set include two extended episodes; deleted and extended scenes; a gag reel; commentaries; and three featurettes: “Underground With Psych“, “Psychouts”, and “Montages”

Psych is a genuinely funny mystery program, with a unique take on the tried and true format. Psych: The Complete Sixth Season will be released on October 16, 2012.

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