Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Psych Out, Collar In (White Collar Premiere Review)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 28, 2009

This past Friday, White Collar debuted on USA, temporarily replacing Psych. And thus ends my favorite back-to-back programming on television. With Monk ending this year, it looks like we’ll only have one light-hearted mystery at a time on USA.

Monk and Psych are an interesting breed. They’re hour-long crime dramas with a heavy dose of humor. The storytelling, the acting, the filming. It makes solving mysteries fun. Where else on television is that the case? With so many programs focused on the gritty details, these two shows let you just enjoy the ride. (I’ll have more on Monk later)

So where does White Collar fit in? Since it’s following Monk and replacing Psych, it must be in that light-hearted aire…right? Wrong. Don’t expect a cute, quirky crime solving with this new addition. Like the FBI agents it follows, this show is by the book.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Viewers have likely gotten spoiled by the funny detectives on Friday night. A good way to wind down the week. But while White Collar lacks in the situational comedy, it’s very casual and charming, dropping in humorous lines left and right. In that way, it’s similar to Castle or Burn Notice.

Again, though, you can’t pigeon hole this program. It’s not as bright and friendly as USA’s spy drama…and it’s less procedural than ABC’s writer/detective. White Collar — since I’ve failed to explain yet — is about a convict who gets out of jail four years early, under the condition that he must help the FBI find other white collar criminals. Every episode will have a new puzzle to solve.

You might be yawning now. What’s so great about that? Well, what if we threw in a buddy picture. The convict is teamed with the guy who caught him in the first place…and while they antagonize each other, there’s clearly a lot of mutual respect. Even in the pilot they were friendly. The FBI agent (Peter Burke, played by Tim DeKay) is not your typical cutout, rigid and humorless. He’s got some life. And the convict (Neal Caffrey, played by Matthew Bomer) has more than just schemes up his sleeve. He has some genuine emotions that are driving him. His backstory will be interesting to learn. And I love his style. A fedora!

I’m a sucker for crime dramas. As long as they’re decently written (i.e. not CSI: Miami) and have compelling stories (i.e. not Ghost Whisperer), I enjoy watching them if I have nothing else to do. I think White Collar will go beyond that. There’s clearly more humor than most of these shows, and no long line of supporting cast members you have to deal with. I definitely recommend checking it out after Monk.

Grade: B+

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2 Responses to “Psych Out, Collar In (White Collar Premiere Review)”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    Awesome. I’m looking forward to checking out the premiere, hopefully this weekend.

  2. CJ Cregg said

    I really liked this show. More than I expected to. It was clever, driven by relationships, and had some humor. You’re right, Mr. Feeny, that it’s not cute and light, but it is funny. Lots of one-liners that are clever. It also featured the National Archives, one of my fave places. I’m not usually fan of the FBI/Crime dramas, but this one is compelling.

    I’ll give it a B+

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