The fan-favorite mystery/comedy series Psych is USA Network’s longest-running series, and it continues that run when Psych Season 8 premieres Jan. 8 at 9pm ET/PT.
When I spoke with Psych creator/writer/director/executive producer Steve Franks last month about the special Psych: The Musical, he also talked a little bit about Psych Season 8.
How many episodes make up Psych Season 8? Can you talk about some of the episodes?
Steve Franks: There are only 10 episodes, but some of my favorite stuff that we’ve ever done. … The first one that I did was born out of something I couldn’t do for [Psych the Musical]. The second hour of [the musical] was set in London, and it just became too big, so the first thing I did this year was I directed an episode and cowrote it with Kell Cahoon, who’s one of our great writers, where Shawn and Gus get tangled up in a sort of British gangster/Guy Ritchie movie-type situation [editor's note: the episode even has the Guy Ritchie-esque title of "Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire" and serves as the Psych Season 8 premiere]. And it’s really, really fun. It was a little straightforward, with this going undercover with a bunch of British gangsters, until I added the element that Gus had gone along only to go to a Harry Potter festival. So Gus is in full Harry Potter robe the entire time. It’s a level of ridiculousness that our fans have come to expect, and that’s really fun.
We’re doing something else [this season] that I think is only a tiny bit groundbreaking. We’re actually remaking one of our own episodes from Season 1 ["Cloudy with a Chance of Murder"]. It came out really great. We cast all people who had been on the show in different roles, so it’s almost like “Psych All Stars.” Everybody comes back and they’re playing different roles, and it’s really fun; one of the funniest things we’ve put together.
What about the fan-selected episode announced at Comic-Con?
Franks: We gave [the fans] three options, and the winner was James Roday’s zombie episode ["A Nightmare on State Street"], which turned out so, so fun, and it’s really twisted and dark and hilarious. We also ended up making the runner-up, which is the food truck episode. It’s only natural that after years of these guys just talking about food trucks that they finally get to get behind the wheel of their own food truck.
How much will Maggie Lawson be in Psych Season 8, given she was working on her other series Back in the Game at the time of production?
Franks: We made a deal for her to be in five of the episodes. She is in five of the 10, and there are a couple of ways that we deal with the absence of her. One of the episodes was the easiest one to deal with because you have these episodes where the main characters, Shawn and Gus, go away somewhere else and you have to sort of shoehorn the other characters in. We didn’t have to do any shoehorning [in the season premiere episode]. It starts with them on their way to London, and so Maggie doesn’t appear in that one, and Corbin’s not in that one. So it’s just our main characters, and of course we manage to work the Despereaux character [played by Cary Elwes] in the episode, which is the way to sort of cap off that storyline.
Any inklings on whether Psych Season 8 will be the final season?
Franks: We’ve had inklings it will be the final season since the second year [laughs]. We just go on as long as we can and wait for them to kick us out of the building. When they do finally pull the plug on us, I’m hoping that that’s my chance to legitimately do the Psych feature film. I always imagined this show as kind of a little like Beverly Hills Cop. The original idea was for it to be a feature film, so I would love for it to live on in a series of smaller feature films, until we do an entire summer tentpole giant action-filled extravaganza.
NOTE: On Feb. 5, 2014, it was announced Psych will end after Season 8, in March.
Psych Season 8 premieres Jan. 8 at 9pm ET/PT on USA Network.
Cary Elwes, James Roday and Dulé Hill in Psych Season 8: Alan Zenuk/USA Network