Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lie to Me—It's Like House With Perp Walks

The trouble with police procedurals is that there are so many of them that it's hard to stand out. Some resort to gimmicks to stand out. Fox's new show Lie to Me is a case in point. It centers around a police/FBI consultant played by Tim Roth who specializes in "deception analysis" who uses body language and facial expressions to tell when a witness is lying and his team. Tim Roth plays a cynical House-like character who likes to use his skills to shove peoples lies on their face. He's quite brilliant and always right. His team functions mainly as researchers and as a sounding board—a lot like House's team of doctors.

I don't think that this is a coincidence, House is one Fox's most successful scripted shows and it makes sense that they'd look for shows that duplicate it formula in some way. But does Lie to Me work the same House does? I'm not sure. House is very much an acquired taste. It took me a long time to get into it. And judging by the long time that House took to catch on with viewers I'm not alone.

But House did catch on and clearly Fox hopes that this show will catch on as well. And therein lies my problem with this show. Part of House's appeal for me is Dr. House's misanthropic personality. Dr. Cal Lightman by comparison is a fully functional human being with a precocious daughter and happy home life. His only real personality problem is that he doesn't seem able to turn off his knack for reading people's lies. While this makes abrasive and annoying at times, it doesn't make him particularly interesting.

1 comment:

JMB said...

Thats all very true about House but being both a House and Lie to me lover i will say this: House focuses on house ( as the tittle of the show suggests) and all his personal and personality issues. However Lie to Lie is not titled "Lightman" and the although Dr. Lightman is the main character it not about him and his issues its about him and his team using there abilities and knowledge in a very interesting field to solve crimes (in a very interesting and entertaining way). So the focus of the shows plots are different. i will agree however that Dr. Lightman and House do share some qualities in that they both arent too fond of people, think everyone lies, and get a thrill out of using there perception and detection abilities to annoy and embarrass people. anyways both shows are amazing and i wish them continued success