USA is sometimes seen as the network equivalent of a punchline. I don’t blame viewers for treating it as a joke, especially considering its penchant for pun-tastic show titles like Fairly Legal (about a sort of lawyer), Common Law (about police partners who go to couples therapy), and the impossible-to-google Suits (about lawyers who wear suits while also dealing with lawsuits, get it?). This is all laughable, but unfortunately it means that the network’s better programs often go overlooked.
USA falls into the trap of many ignored networks. Because of its mediocre reputation, people — critics and viewers both — tend to hastily qualify their recommendations. “Suits is good … for a USA show.” It’s a way to guiltily enjoy a show without fully committing to your enjoyment: remove it from the bigger television world and place it into a smaller one. But the truth is, USA has been on a steady grind of producing quality for years now. Here is a look at the shows that you should be watching.
Psych is USA’s biggest win, its most massively popular show right now. It’s centered on crime consultant Shawn Spencer (James Roday), who has honed his detective and observational skills enough to convince people that he’s a psychic. Think: the lighter version of The Mentalist (the show doesn’t skimp on making jokes comparing the two). Psych was a hit from day one — it had the highest-rated basic cable premiere — and has gone on to become USA’s longest-running original series currently on air.
The case-of-the-week style allows viewers to enjoy an episode here and there out of context, while the longer arcs (like the Yin/Yang series) engage longtime fans. Psych is silly on the surface but surprisingly clever upon digging a little deeper. There is a sweet romance at the center, a great friendship between Shawn and Gus (Dule Hill) that occasionally leads to singing, and gimmick episodes that help the show stand out from the other crime-related dramas on television.
Psych is currently in its eighth and final season — the finale is one of our must-see March events — and it’s definitely going to be missed by both fans and the network.