Fall TV Preview

Lie To Me On the Bubble: Keep Or Cut?

Come mid-May (if not at times sooner), the networks will be making some tough calls as to which shows will return for the 2011-12 TV season, and which will say sayonara. In addition to our ongoing “Renew Our Show!” Bracket Tournament, TVLine is singling out select “bubble” shows to survey their prospects. The latest one to face some hard truths: Fox’s Lie To Me.

THE SHOW: Lie To Me (Fox)

THE TIME SLOT: Most recently, Mondays at 9/8c.

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THE CASE FOR KEEPING: Personally, I like television that I can “learn” from, and call me crazy but I like to think that Cal Lightman (played by Tim Roth with accent) teaches me something now and again about “microexpressions” and how to be a “human lie detector.” Also, in a world of procedurals rampant with icky-gooey evidence and shock-value corpses, it’s a relief to see a crime cracked by exposing lies and the lying liars who tell them. And while just the other day I dissed Human Target‘s misguided endeavor to drum up UST (unresolved sexual tension) ‘tween its male/female leads, here, in carefully measured does, it works. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to woo Kelli Williams?) As icing on the cake — and with props to young Hayley McFarlandLie To Me sprinkles in a father-daughter dynamic that smooths the rougher edges of Roth’s character juuuust enough.

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THE CASE FOR CUTTING: The lack of gun play and foot chases typical of procedurals makes Lie To Me an odd bird indeed. With the FBI element excised for Season 3, it can at times feel like a reach for Cal’s team to get pulled into “solving” a crime off the books. And while Roth and Williams are of course excellent, too little time is spent developing secondary team members Loker and Torres (played by Brendan Hines and Monica Raymund). Lastly, should there be a Season 4, I want to meet a recurring adversary. Since every week can’t deliver a top-notch, cocksure foil à la guest stars Jason Dohring or Ashton Holmes, give Cal a thorn-in-the-side in the form of some high-ranking, Wrong Every Step Of The Way lawman.

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Hit the comments section to make your own case for keeping or cutting Lie To Me.