In 2009, Eric McCormack returned to series television in Trust Me, a show that co-starred Tom Cavanagh. It lasted just 13 episodes but tonight, McCormack returns to the cable channel in a new TV show, Perception. Will it outlast Trust Me or will it be cancelled after one season as well?
In this new television series, he plays an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia, Doctor Daniel Pierce. Daniel’s recruited by the FBI to use his knowledge of human behavior to help solve crimes, often with unusual results. The show also stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith, Kelly Rowan, and LeVar Burton.
Perception premieres tonight on TNT. Is it worth your time? Here’s what the critics are saying:
USA Today: “This reduction of a serious, debilitating illness to a personality quirk would be as unwatchable as it is insulting were it not for one thing: an appealingly disheveled star turn from Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack as Daniel. He’s not enough to save the show, but the mix of humor and pathos he brings to the role does at least make watching Perception a bit less of a chore.”
Boston Globe: “I am inclined to root for McCormack. He was a huge part of one of TV’s most cleverly subversive sitcoms, Will & Grace, which turned sexual orientation into something funny instead of fraught… I want him to find TV success after Will & Grace, just as Julia Louis-Dreyfus has after Seinfeld, rather than find himself in a professional corner in the shadow of his early cultural impact (see: Jason Alexander). But no matter how much McCormack throws himself into his Perception role, balancing dramatic A Beautiful Mind-like heft with Monk-like humor, he’s still driving a faulty vehicle. No amount of good will from Will & Grace can change that.”
LA Times: “If only the strokes weren’t so broad and easily anticipated, if only the paranoid schizophrenia weren’t so actually horrible and devastating, rather than quirky and revelatory. Co-creators Mike Sussman and Kenneth Biller are on to something with their exploration of the endless and fascinating facets of perception. But too often it seems like they have chosen to afflict their character in this manner simply because all the other dysfunctions have already been taken.”
NY Daily News: “Thanks largely to McCormack, but also to Cook and others, Perception is fun to watch. In the end, though, it may go one laser light too far. When a case seems to hit a dead end, the producers break out a new behavioral quirk, or a new hallucination, or a new imaginary friend who cracks it. Maybe at a certain point it won’t feel like all this is a little too gimmicky, or that the rules are being made up as we go along. Out of the box, it kind of does.”
NY Times: “Mr. McCormack puts Pierce’s vulnerability and fear in the foreground, and avoids the huckster’s smirk that can sometimes mar his performances; he’s winning, and he has an easy rapport with Ms. Cook. For more critical viewers, though, that may not outweigh the show’s forced eccentricities, or the way in which ideas and motifs from Monk, House, The Mentalist, Numbers and other series clank around in plain sight.”
Boston Herald: “If you were to take this series seriously — and you won’t — you’d find it fits with the genre that exalts those with mental disabilities as savants (starting with Forrest Gump). Daniel’s schizophrenia — which he refuses to treat — isn’t an affliction, it’s a super-power. ‘Rationality is overrated, particularly if you’re a Cubs fan,’ he says. Maybe. But Perception is a head trip not worth the journey.”