Aside from being on CBS and aside from being procedurals, both “The Good Wife” and “The Mentalist” each share one more unique trait; each originally premiered in the same Tuesday night timeslot. Now as “Good Wife” readies for it sophomore run on Sunday nights and “Mentalist” adjusts to its third timeslot in five seasons, CBS looks to have a strong power combination on its hands, as long as it doesn’t get spiked by football.
Tonight, “The Good Wife” enters its fourth season coming off its first exclusion from the Best Drama category at the Emmys. While the cast was well represented, the show was the best chance from any broadcast network to enter a field dominated by cable. Yet critics made it clear, “Wife” wasn’t snubbed because of a dip in quality, it was just the emergence of two new powerhouses.
As the new season gets underway, the drama has again upped its guest cast to megawatt levels with the inclusion of Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing and Kristin Chenoweth among many others, not to mention the casting of British star Marc Warren as the often-mentioned but (until now) never seen husband of fan favorite Kalinda, played by Emmy winning breakout star Archie Panjabi. You can also check out Panjabi in action to the left of this article by watching the recently released opening sequence from tonight’s premiere.
“Wife” remains one of TV’s most well-written and well-acted dramas and despite having lower ratings than it once had is really a crown jewel of the network. Yet “Wife’s” problem is its time period as it was time-shifted a number of times last season due to CBS’ football license. As a result of the late games going long, often times CBS’ line-up would be delayed by anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, wreaking havoc on DVR’s across the country.
This year however CBS has a well thought out solution that doesn’t involve its viewers being social media savvy. In the weeks when CBS has a football double-header, its Sunday night lineup will start 30 minutes later. With that built into their schedule it will make it easier for DVR’s to record the full shows without anything getting cut off. It also doesn’t impact the ratings as the networks now add in time-shifted data.
While this is a familiar situation for “The Good Wife,” it’s new territory for “The Mentalist,” which leaves the comfort and safety of Thursday nights, for the new battleground of Sundays. “Mentalist’s” move comes as the result of the network needing a launching pad for new hit series “Elementary.” In the end it came down to the drama moving to Fridays or Sundays and the network went with the weekend.
As “Mentalist” enters its fifth season tonight, it does so with its own series mythology upped to even more intense levels (if that was even possible). Following its third season finale where lead character Patrick Jane (played by the equally charismatic Simon Baker) believed he’d finally killed the elusive Red John, the man responsible for murdering his wife and daughter, the show ended it most recent run by having Jane finally come across one of the psychopath’s disciples.
Portrayed by the alluring Emmanuelle Chriqui, the character of Lorelei seduces Jane at the request of Red John and begins season five in police custody where she continues to get her hooks into the CBI’s (California Bureau of Intelligence) most valuable consultant. With the stakes now so significantly raised for its characters and the show’s mythology at a boiling point, CBS is gambling that its loyal audience will follow them to a new night.
Then again, this is a network known for risks, albeit calculated ones, which sets the stage for a storyline just as intriguing as anything either of these high quality shows continually offer.
“The Good Wife” & “The Mentalist” return tonight starting at 9 p.m. on CBS.
Remember, don’t forget to subscribe to this column for all of the latest news coming out of the new TV season and in the meantime you can go to CBS.com for more information about both series.
What’s your take New York? Are you excited for these shows to return? Hit the comments and let us know!
For previews of the 2012 Fall TV season you can click on the below:
“The New Normal”
“The Mob Doctor”
“Ben and Kate”
“The Mindy Project”
“Made In Jersey”
“666 Park Avenue”
“Sons Of Anarchy”
“The X Factor”
“Dancing With The Stars”
“Once Upon A Time”
2012 Fall Preview Week Coverage:
–Most Promising Comedies
–Most Promising Dramas
–Least Promising Series
–Celebrities To Watch
-Ratings Winners & Losers