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An appreciation of USA's golden age of Psych, White Collar and Burn Notice

  • "Prestige television practically begs you to have an opinion on it beyond whether it was an enjoyable way to pass the time while you make dinner or before you nod off for the day—its reason for existence demands that you have a take on it as art and as social commentary, and then discuss it endlessly with other people in your life," says Esther Wang. "(Is Daenarys a boss b*tch or an imperialist monarch? Who cares! And maybe she’s both!!!) How exhausting (to me) when all I want when I’m glued to my screen most of the time is to not think and maybe have a laugh or two, or a low-stakes cry, or feel an easy emotional investment in characters that I can then quickly put aside once the credits roll. Life is already full of enough suffering! All of which to say—I f*cking love USA Network, a deep and abiding love that I once felt ashamed of but no longer, because what is embarrassing about a love that is so pure and so true? To be more precise, my unwavering devotion is to a specific era of USA Network’s television offerings—that brief but wonderful golden age that began with Psych, which first aired in 2006, and ended with the debut of Suits in 2011, a five-year period that also gave us the underappreciated gifts of Burn Notice, as well as White Collar. My foray into the world of USA Network began with Psych, on the encouragement of a friend who promised me that I would appreciate both its sharp wit and its exploration of the tender relationship between its two main characters, Shawn and Gus. A smart buddy comedy full of sweet notes, friends who go on adventures and solve mysteries together, learning life lessons along the way, like a sort of updated, more clever Winnie the Pooh—what’s not to love? (On an unrelated note, Psych lived so that Happy Endings could thrive, if only for a glorious moment.)"

    TOPICS: Psych, USA Network, Burn Notice, Suits, White Collar