Do you believe in karma? I do. I also believe that mine is all about falling for the least popular TV shows/characters/pairings and suffering profoundly as a result.
Which brings me to Perception.
Perception is the story of Professor Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), suffering from hallucinations and delusions caused by schizophrenia, who helps his former student and now the FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) catch the bad guys and put them away. Despite his condition, or mostly likely because of it, Daniel’s mind is sharp, inquisitive, and runs a thousand miles per hour. He can easily notice the things that the majority of people would never pay attention to, which pays off big time when someone needs to be arrested.
The show premiered on July 9, 2012, and…. It wasn’t a hit. I blame it entirely on whoever was responsible for its marketing campaign, or lack thereof. Summer premiers suffer the most because the majority of viewers don’t give a damn about the TV, but they are also largely neglected by the media. Who cares about something that came out while everyone is chilling by the pool or enjoying backpacking?
To be honest, I can’t recall how I got into it exactly, but it was love at first sight. Perception has always been cute and funny (especially for a crime show); it’s had the Castle/The Mentalist/Elementary vibe and, believe it or not, the writing was good.
Unfortunately, it was cancelled. In November of 2014, TNT officially announced that Season 3 would be the last one. (See the marketing problem above).
I wasn’t looking forward to the finale for obvious reasons, but I had certain hopes for it. After all, it’s been building up for something phenomenal for so long!
What we got was a perfect example of ‘How to fuck up the entire show in just one episode’. I can’t even begin to imagine what the writers were thinking when they decided to wrap 3 seasons of awesomeness the way they did. To say that it was disappointing beyond imaginable would be an understatement. I mean, okay, maybe they thought that the show would be renewed for another season and they’d have a chance to make it right eventually. The fact that they didn’t… I don’t even know.
See, even though Perception was a crime drama, no one was watching it for the dead bodies and nasty guys. Most of us were into it because of Daniel and Kate, and the relationship between them that’s been developing slowly but steadily. Kate’s feelings were established right away – she’s had a crush on Daniel ever since she was his student, and by mid Season 3, it became obvious that Daniel had feelings for her as well.
But instead of following this storyline properly, TNT ended the show – the whole show, not just the season!! – with Daniel finally realizing he’s in love with her and Kate marrying her cheater of an ex-husband who she had no chemistry with (and who, let’s face it, wasn’t even the main character in the show; you could remove him entirely and not lose one bit of excitement).
I still think that Perception was cancelled long before its time – it had real potential, and some proper marketing could do miracles to it. Both Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook were amazing in their respective roles. Daniel’s delusions that helped him solve the cases made the show unique and one of a kind. It certainly wasn’t your cookie cutter crime drama our TV screens are bursting with. But, frankly, it’s THE WAY they ended it that’s killing me. As a writer, I usually care more about the story than about the reaction of the viewers – it’s not always just about pleasing the audience. And yet, YOU DON’T RUIN EVERYTHING WITH THE FINALE!
Crime stuff aside, Perception was, for the most part, a story of a man with a serious mental disorder trying to find his way in this world and see that he deserves to be happy regardless of his condition. And what do we get in the end? He’s just as uncertain and messed up as before, and the other guy got his girl. This is just wrong, on so many levels.
What’s worse though is that the underwhelming finale killed Perception’s chances of ever being picked up by another network, not after the largely negative reaction of the audience.
It’s really sad.
Eric McCormack is an amazing human being – he’s nice, and funny, and genuine, and quite possibly one of the best guys I’ve met in my life (the whole list has maybe 5 names on it, so it’s a huge deal), and it’s just baffling that his show had to go through this.