A Mind Games Community
ABC (ended 2014)

Now that the Winter Olympics are over, it's time for the networks to open up the new-TV floodgates and dump a ton of premieres on you. Good luck with that! Enjoy sifting through all the options with no help whatsoever! Oh, wait, I forgot it's my job to help you decide what's worth watching and what isn't. Oops! Today we'll be looking at ABC's latest series, the character-driven and slightly procedural Mind Games. Will the show usher in a new way of thinking or turn out to be just a fancy party trick? Let us help you answer that question in another edition of Is This New Show Worth Your Time?!


Mind Games, eh? Is this some sort of trick?

Well, sorta. Mind Games is an hour-long drama about two brothers—one a bipolar firecracker, the other a con—who are trying to get a unique consulting agency off the ground. Using the sciences of manipulation and human behavior, their plan is to help their clients by influencing important decisions made by others, without those others knowing it (in the pilot, they attempt to get an insurance company to pay for a boy's life-saving surgery). Think along the lines of Inception or a Jedi mind trick, but with a basis in real science. 


Who manipulated this thing into shape, and who stars in it?

Mind Games is the latest series from Kyle Killen, the man behind Fox's short-lived Lone Star and NBC's mind-bending Awake. Christian Slater (Gleaming the Cube) stars as Ross, who's fresh off a two-year prison stint for fraud and who may or may not be done with life as a con artist. Steve Zahn (Treme but I love him for the indie comedy Safe Men and Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight) play's Ross's brilliant bro, whose bipolar disorder sometimes catapults him into manic episodes. Megalyn EchikunwokeGregory Marcel, Wynn Everett, and Cedric Sanders round out the rest of the agency. 



When do the Mind Games start?

Mind Games premieres Tuesday, February 25 at 10pm on ABC, capping off the network's odd Tuesday-night lineup of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Goldbergs, and Trophy Wife. Its competitors will include Person of Interest on CBS, Chicago Fire on NBC, and Justified on FX. 


Fill in the blank: If I like ____ I'll probably like Mind Games.

Based on the pilot, I'd go with Leverage; Mind Games' premise has a similar little-guys-taking-down-the-big-guys feel, though it remains to be seen whether the entire series will follow that blueprint. Other possible comparisons include underdog dramas, character-driven procedurals, and anything having to do with the subject of psychology. 


What won't I mind about Mind Games?

The study of manipulation, motivation, and influence is fascinating stuff, and Mind Games doesn't mind jumping in pretty heavily at times. But instead of tossing around a bunch of big words and citing academic research, the show always ensures there's a layperson around to be our proxy, and the ideas behind the science are eye-opening. Mind Games really pays attentions to its characters, and it has a lot of room to develop the interpersonal relationships between them—things are nice and tangled by the time the pilot's credits roll. Plus, Steve Zahn is a personal favorite of mine, and his unpredictable Clark is full-on unstable in a way that's both entertaining and worrisome. But what really stands out is the show's perfectly flawed cast of characters, who frequently blur the lines between what's right and what's wrong in order to achieve their goals. That's going to be what makes Mind Games unique: Every inch of the show's moral ground is covered in footprints.



What about Mind Games will make me want to quit playing along?

If you're looking for another one of Killen's intricately involved shows about reality, Mind Games isn't for you. Though the show promises deliver more than just an adventure of the week, there's no telling how much of each episode will focus on the agency's clients and targets, so it could easily sink into standard procedural territory–we'll have to watch more to find out. And those blurred ethical lines I mentioned above? Sometimes it's not easy to watch Ross resort to his conman ways or to follow Clark on his manic breakdowns. But that's probably the point.


So, should I watch it?

I say yes. I don't think Mind Games is groundbreaking, but it's well-written, features a pair of outstanding leads, and is a much better show than its logline would indicate.


Lemme see a trailer!

Okay, here ya go:




Mind Games premieres Tuesday, February 25 at 10pm on ABC.


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/10/2015

Season 1 : Episode 13

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Are you implying that inception or the force are not actual science? What's next? You'll say that Game of Thrones didn't actually happen? that's absurd...
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Kyle Killen is one of the worst people I've ever worked with.
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Really. You, who seems to have just made an account today, worked with him. I doubt that very much.
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Odds of this surviving aren't good. Not because of the actors or the writing per se. But just this time slot is a death curse for ABC. AND Slater's record on tv is usually is one (season) and done. I'll give it a shot, but Tuesday is a crowded night for my tv viewing.
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Lots of shows starring Slater was cancelled. I do not know if this one will survive. It does not seems to have much of an interesting premise. It sort of reminds me of LIE TO ME. I am not sure if I am watching.
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Slater is TV poison. Don't get too invested. Don't see it lasting more than 10 eps.
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"But instead of tossing around a bunch of big words and citing academic research, the show always ensures there's a layperson around to be our Proxy,"

Sounds like Killen is dumbing it down after Awake. Nothing is worse than characters explaining things all the time, instead of letting the viewers do the thinking.
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I want Lie To Me back, not a weaker version of a similar premise. This does indeed come across very similar to Leverage, which also tells me it's going to be good for the occasional laugh and then less than half a season in I'll get bored of the stupidity of the unrealistic stupidity of the characters.

Can't we just have a good show about a genius that has his shit together but pushes the limits of this chosen profession? Or are all show creators so damn scared of alienating the lowest common denominator crowd if they seem too smart? Bah.
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"...are all show creators so damn scared of alienating the lowest common denominator crowd if they seem too smart?"

Yes.
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Um, do I even need to watch the pilot now? The trailer seemed to be the entire episode.
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I thought it was more a movie trailer than a show trailer. And Steve Zahn looks like a young Robin Williams in it.
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I'm really not sure about this one. Could turn into a sappy procedural.
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what worries me it's the fact that there's Slater in it- and no show with Slater in it has lasted more than an handful (two, at best) of episodes.
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You mean 2 seasons, not episodes.
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Seasons? With the killer of shows Slater? please. only breaking in lasted two seasons- and the second one never aired fully.
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You said no show with Slater lasted more than 2 episodes. Breaking In lasted 2 seasons. That's basically what I meant. That may be the only one and it probably lasted that long because of the rest of the cast and not Slater himself, but it still counts.
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HANDS. not episodes.; (my own worst enemies was less than 10, and the forgotten less than 15, if I'm not mistaken). breaking in is the only exception, but let's be honest, he wasn't the main character there.
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Methinks Howard Gordon was responsible for the good episodes of Awake
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Sounds good
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Has potential. Stupid trailer was full of spoilers. Hardly need to watch the pilot, now. But, I love the concept of the show. Implimentation is key. We'll see.
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So it's something very tightly in between Perception and Leverage but with Christian Slater minus the rest of the cast. Ok for one go, but with great reluctance.Then we'll see.
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You had me at Leverage (gah, I miss Parker!) so I'll give at least the pilot a shot.
The trailer, however, oh dear. Who's the lead of the show? I kept waiting Christian Slater's character to say something. I guess Steve Zahn is supposed to come off as being all quirky and endearing, but that 100mph verbal diarrhoea will get very tiring very quickly.
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I know this is really off-topic, but have you seen this new web-series "Caper"? It stars Beth Riesgraf (Parker) in a pretty similar role;
The first three episodes are up already.
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Aww that's awesome.. I'll check it out! Thanks!
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We don't know he's that way for the whole hour. This was a compressed view.
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True. But if trailers are supposed to showcase the best parts of a new show, then I'm worried! Here's hoping we get a more well-rounded look at the team in the pilot...
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Well, it could be they thought him being manic WAS the best part of the show! But, I agree, we need a more well-rounded look.

They referred to him as bipolar, so I expect there's an equal amount of non-manic behavior.
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Only thing that gets cancelled faster than Christian Slater series is a Kyle Killen series. Don't have high hopes for this sticking around but I'll check it out maybe.
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Premise reminds me of "Lie to Me" and "Perception" a bit in its premise and marketing feel. Based on the information in this article, I'll lean towards "maybe" in my vote.
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This is what I was thinking. It's almost the reverse image of Lie to Me. Instead of teaching the audience how to recognize truth and deception, this show teaches the audience how to spin the story. Should call it Politics Primer or Scandal: Behind the Scenes.
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I'll probably watch it, but the trailer should have ended at 2:20.
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Hour long show? Is that hour long show or hour long slot?
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I'm in! I'm pulling for Slater and Zahn and Killen. Deadly time slot though.
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Thank you for referencing Leverage! Hardly anyone knows that show, and it's such a shame because it was fantastic!
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You know, the greatest thing about this article was that Christian Slater was referenced as being from Gleaming the Cube, the most random movie reference ever.
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I don't know, this has me very conflicted. On the one hand Killen is a genius, on the other Slater is poison at this point, Zahn is hit or miss and the premise isn't exactly grabbing me. I'm on the fence.
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ludicrous crap,no thank you (and I liked LIE TO ME)
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Cursed lead and cursed show runner = success? I hope so!
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I'll watch anything with Christian Slater, his track record on TV is sucky and I want this one to succeed.
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Careful with that Leverage comparison. If I don't turn it on and see Parker, I'll be maaaaad....
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I planned on watching this (after Justified and POI). I didn't watch the trailer on this article but the one I did see spoiled the pilot for me. However I don't mind (lol) and still think it will be an interesting (good type of interesting) show.
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Shit, it's on at 10? I don't watch TV on TV much, but being up against POI and Justified kinda stinks.

I'm certainly giving it a try, though. The premise is semi-interesting, I like Zahn a lot and Killen's proven to be quite good. Slater's kinda hit or miss so it'll depend on his character, I guess, whether I like him or not.
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Agreed on the time slot thing. It's such a busy hour for me already.
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Huh...you caught my interest with Leverage. I miss that even though I watch like hours of it on Sundays on ION.
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High hopes for this with Killen at the helm but with POI and Justified as competition it has it's work cut out. I love Awake and the little we got to see of Lone Star so good luck Kyle the cast .
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