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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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TV review: Watching ‘Mind Games’ is exhausting

The new ABC series "Mind Games" (Tuesday, 9 p.m., Ch. 4) is an attempt to take the procedural drama and add a twist.

Creator/executive producer Kevin Killen, who past projects ("Lone Star," "Awake") quickly failed, is successful at adding the twist. But the show he’s come up with is utterly exhausting to watch.

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"Mind Games" centers on brother Ross (Christian Slater) and Clark (Steve Zahn), who are struggling to launch a new business. A business so new it’s difficult to explain.

Basically, the brothers and their team use psychological techniques to manipulate people to the benefit of their clients. For example, they might manipulate shareholders so a businessman can take over a company. Or, as we see in the first episode, they try to manipulate a health insurance company into approving an experimental treatment that could save the life of a teenage boy.

The brothers are also hugely flawed. Ross just got out of prison, where he spent time after being convicted of securities fraud. (And he was definitely guilty.)

Clark lost his job as a professor because he refused to take his meds and his bipolar disorder is out of control. So Clark yells, lashes out, screams and kicks things.

It’s more than a bit offensive to see bipolar disorder played for laughs. At least to anyone who has a loved one who struggles with it. And while there are moments of pathos for for Clark, there are definitely moments when we’re supposed to laugh.

As a television series, "Mind Games" could work. It is a clever procedural.

But it’s an arduous enterprise to sit down and watch Tuesday’s premiere. There’s a huge amount of talking and yelling and fighting and arguing.

Make sure you have your remote control in hand so you can turn down the volume.

"Mind Games" is like the worst family reunion ever - which isn’t particularly entertaining.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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