New Summer Shows: "The Listener"

Updated August 7,2009 NBC canceled “The Listener” at the end of July and posted the remaining episodes of the first season on both their web site and Hulu.com. As “The Listener” is a Canadian production there is still a chance for a second season if the local station chooses to continue with the show.

“The Listener” centers on Toby Logan, a 25-year-old paramedic who has a big secret — he’s a telepath. Until now, Toby kept his ability hidden, exploring its possibilities only with his longtime mentor and confidant, Dr. Ray Mercer. As he makes the rounds with his energetic paramedic partner “Oz” Bey, “The Listener” follows Toby as he tries to help people in crisis, and in the process unravel the truth about his past. While his professional life is in check, Toby’s personal life could use its own rescue. And with the help of Detective Charlie Marks and his E.R. doctor/ex-girlfriend Olivia Fawcett, Toby realizes his gift can help others.

Source: NBC’s “The Listener” Page

The Listener has a cliche plot with rather stereotypical characters and casting but it’s watchable. The most obvious stereotype is that the “hero” (Toby) is a skinny, reserved, serious, white guy while his best friend/sideckick (Oz) is not skinny, not white, not reserved and definitely played for comic moments more than anything else. One guess what Oz’s first question was when he found out about Toby’s gifts in the second episode. When Toby is trying to help people he has to deal with Charlie who, because she doesn’t yet know about his gifts, usually considers him a suspect or at least somehow involved with the crime. Of course because of Toby being able to solve the cases she gets into trouble with her boss. There’s also the cliche that the police tend to look silly because Toby is able to solve their cases for them.

Because I’ve enjoyed the first few episodes I’ll probably watch the rest of the season. I want to see how Toby ends up revealing his gift to the detective and his ex-girlfriend. In addition I’m curious about his past – from what we’ve seen so far it looks like his mother was on the run from someone and had gifts too. On the other hand I’m not exactly expecting a second season so I won’t be disappointed if there isn’t one.

The Listener airs Thursdays at 10pm on NBC. Four episodes have aired so far and the fifth will air tonight. All of the previous episodes can be found on Hulu’s page for “The Listener” or on the NBC web site.

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