Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a rare thing.  For more than 50 years TV series have fought back after cancellation to snatch a TV movie or several (see The Incredible Hulk and Veronica Mars) or holiday special (see Columbo, Kojak, The Brady Bunch, and a lot of classic TV) or moved to another network (see Medium and Community) or extra seasons years later (see Twin Peaks and The X-Files) or even a big screen movie (see Serenity) but rarely capture the spark of the original.  Let Psych join Longmire and Leverage as the rare exception.  The second “sequel to a sequel,” Psych 3: This is Gus, arriving this weekend on Peacock, is a marked improvement on the first two movies, showing that James Roday (now reclaiming his real name as James Roday Rodriguez) and Dulé Hill′s hilarious crime fighting duo “still got it.”  Better yet, the entire gameplay of the storytelling is back, thanks to creator, writer, and showrunner Steve Franks giving fans a lighthearted mystery just as witty and silly and fun as an original episode from Psych′s eight-season run.

The movie, the third of six sequels that creator/showrunner Franks has said he plans to make, switches focus from Timothy Omundson′s character Lassiter aka Lassie to Dulé Hill′s Burton Guster.  Gus’s pregnant fiancé Selene (played by new “series regular” Jazmyn Simon) has some secrets Team Psych must uncover, specifically related to why her estranged husband (Allen Maldonado) won’t sign divorce papers.  Meanwhile Lassiter is trying to decide whether or not to give up being police chief, as he’s leaning on Shawn, Gus, and Shawn’s dad (Corbin Bernsen) for help after his stroke.  Maggie Lawson′s Juliet and Kirsten Nelson (Chief Vick) have smaller, personal side stories, as does Kurt Fuller as Woody Strode.  And Franks makes time for some good comedy bits from both Curt Smith as himself and Ray Wise, back as Father Westley.

The second movie was a love letter to fans of the series, but Psych 3 takes fans back to the guts of what made the show work: the banter, hijinks, and slapstick comedy of Shawn and Gus.  The movie takes a few minutes to pick up steam, but quick enough, as Shawn and Gus begin fighting each other in a restaurant bathroom it’s only upward for the show until the end.  The actors haven’t skipped a beat–completely settling into the shoes of these characters that they first developed 15 years ago back in 2006.

Franks includes some spectacularly clever new credits derived from the Marvel Studios movie intro.  And don’t miss the coda at the end.  Curt Smith’s parody of “Last Christmas,” called “Previous Holiday,” is also sure to creep up on a radio station… somewhere.  The only thing fans may miss are the Santa Barbara police station, the old Psych office, and Shawn and his dad’s flashbacks to when Shawn was a kid.  P.S. Good luck finding the hidden pineapple!

Fans of the series–especially those who may have dropped off after the first two movies–won’t want to miss Psych 3: This is Gus.  It’s streaming now on Peacock.