January 19, 2020   6:21pm

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A Must-Watch TV Show! …

A Must-Watch TV Show!

Well, it’s not “MAD MEN,” although I’m happy there’s something worth tuning in for on Sunday evenings … No, as someone who can passionately watch pretty bad TV (like “The Unit” with the macho, sexy “Mission Impossible” type guys — now canceled), I’ve found a new love.  It’s “Lie to Me” (9:00 PM EST Monday evenings).  I mean, did you know that The average person tells three lies in ten minutes of conversation”?  And this show is full of all sorts of “deception detection” that you never knew about before (with flashbacks to those real newsmakers who have been less than honest with us as proof points).  This is actually educational programming!

I figure we’re the beneficiary of this wealth of new information because … well, it’s a little like Tang — for those of you who remember, that product came to us via the U.S. space program when they were creating powdered food substances for the astronauts.  Well, assume that terrorism has started a new industry of people who can tell whether or not you’re lying by observing the smallest of subliminal physical gestures.

 So, here are the basics (according to their own website) —

“Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth, “The Incredible Hulk,” “Reservoir Dogs”) can detect the truth by analyzing a person’s face, body, voice and speech. When someone shrugs his shoulder, rotates his hand or raises his lower lip, Lightman knows he’s lying. By analyzing facial expressions, he can read feelings – from hidden resentment to sexual attraction to jealousy. But as Lightman well knows, his scientific ability is both a blessing and a curse in his personal life, where family and friends deceive each other as readily as criminals and strangers do. Lightman is the world’s leading deception expert, a scientist who studies facial expressions and involuntary body language to discover not only if you are lying but why.”

How great would it be to have that skillset!?

And Lightman doesn’t work alone.  He heads a team of experts at The Lightman Group (of course, he’s an entrepreneur) “who assist federal law enforcement, government agencies and local police with their most difficult cases.” And, yeaaa, a woman, “Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams, “The Practice”) is a gifted psychologist and Lightman’s professional partner who brings balance to the partnership by looking at the bigger picture while Lightman focuses on the details. He needs her guidance and insight into human behavior, whether he knows it or not.”  (Well, we all know what that means — she is, after all, a woman.)  Of course, there are other really astute members of the team as well.

Hmmm.  Deception.  Detection.  Wouldn’t you just know Lie to Me would be on Fox!

Here’s to a whole new generation of better programming,


PS:  Should you be interested in joining me in my weekly passion, here are some not-so-enthusiastic reviews (but we all know not to agree with reviewers) …

Entertainment Weekly Review

Grade: B-

“Lie to Me is derivative yet well crafted, predictable yet ever-so-slightly novel (all those new fun facts!), so it’s no wonder that Fox thinks it’s got itself a potential hit worthy of post–American Idol time-period status. And yet, I wonder: Roth is a familiar ’90s film face (Pulp 
Fiction, Rob Roy) whose career was ripe for a TV series. But is America ready to take this broody Brit — not cuddly like Monk or lovably cranky like House — to its 
 bosom? Personally, I’m 
glad Roth resists the cuddly/cranky. But if this review were a face, Dr. Lightman would say it had a forced smile: hopeful, but dubious, about Lie‘s chances.”


Scientific American article on show
Lightman’s abilities to read faces and solve crimes are based on the real-life work of the field’s pioneer, psychologist Paul Ekman, professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco. “The big difference between us is that he’s pretty cocky, and I’m not,” Ekman says. “Lightman tells people what he sees even when he hasn’t been asked. I wouldn’t want him as my friend.” But if Ekman’s skills are as impressive as his alter ego’s, he has every right to boast. According to Ekman, his research techniques can detect lies in real life situations better than polygraph tests can. On the show, not only can Lightman tell when someone is fibbing, he can determine why.

As Lie to Me’s scientific adviser, Ekman comments on each script. He says he is pleased with the evidence-based story lines, such as when images flash ­on-screen of Saddam Hussein, Bill ­Clinton, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer and other recognizable mugs caught in compromising contortions. For the rest of us, the series provides lessons seamlessly written into each plot on how to tell if someone is prevaricating. “Some of these clues you can learn easily,” Ekman promises. “You’ll see it on the show once and you’ll never miss it again.”

Every week he will blog at www.fox.com/lietome about the science behind each episode, such as how experts read the emotions underlying arched eyebrows and dilated pupils. Close-up shots of expressions, such as that of an accused teen as he breaks eye contact to honestly recall events, give the audience an eerie insight into what experts such as Ekman catch us doing all the time. As Lightman says, “The truth is written on all our faces.”


Metacritic Review:

Score 64: Based on reviews from multiple news agencies, all of which can be found at the link below.


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