You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Listener

Show looks chintzy, isn't particularly well acted and feels plucked from the 1970s.

Cast:
Toby Logan - Craig Olejnik "Oz" Bey - Ennis Esmer Det. Charlie Marks - Lisa Marcos Olivia Fawcett - Mylene Dinh-Robic Dr. Ray Mercer - Colm Feore

There’s nothing wrong with U.S. networks picking up the occasional Canadian import, but to have a chance at working, such a show can’t be as bland and colorless as “The Listener,” which NBC is throwing onto Thursdays with a back-to-back episode launch. Built around a young paramedic with the telepathic ability to hear thoughts, the show looks chintzy, isn’t particularly well acted and feels plucked from the 1970s. One needn’t be psychic to anticipate where this review is heading, but inasmuch as we’ve come this far, please read on.

Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) has wrestled for years with his power, in part with the help of a knowing mentor (“24’s” Colm Feore), who’s sort of his Professor X.

Toby’s ability allows him to play junior detective, in the premiere trying to help an accident victim whose young son has been kidnapped. He does this without sharing his secret with his riding buddy, Oz (Ennis Esmer), or his ex-girlfriend (Mylene Dinh-Robic), a doctor whom Toby has kept at a safe emotional distance.

The final ingredient is an ever-present detective played by Lisa Marcos, who takes the popular trend of cops that resemble Victoria’s Secret models to almost comical extremes. Even Oz refers to her in a subsequent episode as “Detective Delicious,” though Toby seems too intense (or dense) to notice.

How one might use a power like telepathy remains an interesting concept, but “The Listener” can’t intuit a single original thought — including the surprising absence of humor in exploring Toby’s situation. Nor could Olejnik be much more colorless, although to be fair, he’s asked to do little more than stare intently while sound effects do most of the work, as others’ thoughts echo (echo … echo) inside his head.

Canada remains a favorite destination for U.S. filming, but in terms of programs flowing in this direction, they ought to have more going for them than simply being in English, eh? “This isn’t a curse; it’s a gift,” Toby says during the premiere, as if that represents a grand revelation.

Actually, it’s really just more of a bore (bore … bore).

The Listener

NBC, Thurs. June 4, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Toronto by Shaftesbury Films and CTV. Executive producers, Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Michael Amo, Tom Chehak, Clement Virgo; supervising producers, Laura Harbin, Jan Peter Meyboom; producers, Julie Lacey, Avrum Jacobson, Adam Haight, Manny Danelon, Kevin Lafferty; director, Virgo; writer, Amo;

Crew: Camera, David Moxness; production designer, Sandra Kybartas; editor, Jean Coulombe; music, Tom Third; casting, Deirdre Bowen. Running time: 120 MIN.

Cast: Toby Logan - Craig Olejnik "Oz" Bey - Ennis Esmer Det. Charlie Marks - Lisa Marcos Olivia Fawcett - Mylene Dinh-Robic Dr. Ray Mercer - Colm Feore

More TV

  • Tom Jones Opens Up about Harassment

    Tom Jones Opens Up about Harassment and Abuse in the Music Industry

    There’s nothing wrong with U.S. networks picking up the occasional Canadian import, but to have a chance at working, such a show can’t be as bland and colorless as “The Listener,” which NBC is throwing onto Thursdays with a back-to-back episode launch. Built around a young paramedic with the telepathic ability to hear thoughts, the […]

  • Ted Sarandos Harvey Weinstein

    Netflix and Weinstein Company: Closer Than 'Arm's Distance'

    There’s nothing wrong with U.S. networks picking up the occasional Canadian import, but to have a chance at working, such a show can’t be as bland and colorless as “The Listener,” which NBC is throwing onto Thursdays with a back-to-back episode launch. Built around a young paramedic with the telepathic ability to hear thoughts, the […]

  • Salvation CBS

    'Salvation' Renewed for Season 2 at CBS

    There’s nothing wrong with U.S. networks picking up the occasional Canadian import, but to have a chance at working, such a show can’t be as bland and colorless as “The Listener,” which NBC is throwing onto Thursdays with a back-to-back episode launch. Built around a young paramedic with the telepathic ability to hear thoughts, the […]

  • Chelsea Netflix

    Chelsea Handler's Netflix Talk Show to End After Two Seasons

    There’s nothing wrong with U.S. networks picking up the occasional Canadian import, but to have a chance at working, such a show can’t be as bland and colorless as “The Listener,” which NBC is throwing onto Thursdays with a back-to-back episode launch. Built around a young paramedic with the telepathic ability to hear thoughts, the […]

  • CMT 'Artists of the Year' Lauds

    Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, More: Get to Know CMT's Artists of the Year

    There’s nothing wrong with U.S. networks picking up the occasional Canadian import, but to have a chance at working, such a show can’t be as bland and colorless as “The Listener,” which NBC is throwing onto Thursdays with a back-to-back episode launch. Built around a young paramedic with the telepathic ability to hear thoughts, the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content