‘The Listener’ premieres Thursday on NBC

By Verne Gay
REASON TO WATCH: Diversion that’s not a reality show.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) is a paramedic in Toronto who can read thoughts. Toby knows he’s special but doesn’t tell many people about this. However, there is someone who does know about his super-talent – Ray Mercer (Colm Feore), a doctor who has treated him since childhood.
A recent event has made Mercer wonder whether Toby’s gift is growing. Toby and a friend rushed to the scene of a car accident that he hadn’t even witnessed; the woman had somehow telepathically communicated her peril from a distance. He saves the lady and learns that this was no ordinary accident, but that her son has been kidnapped, and the poor woman is hiding something. Toby is always one step ahead of the cops, including lubricious lady detective Charlie Marks (Lisa Marcos), who can’t figure out how he knows so much.
BOTTOM LINE: One does not come to summer TV on a major network to have one’s world rocked, and one most certainly does not come to Canadian TV for the same. The Canadians make nice TV — pleasant, intelligent TV, where people, even the bad guys, are civil and fundamentally decent. In a word, “The Listener” is boring. Or, if you prefer alliteration, listless.
Part of the problem is Toby’s talent — old hat to fans of “Heroes” and other shows that have featured telepathic good guys. Still, a nice show.
THE LISTENER: 9 p.m. EDT Thursday on NBC; will regularly air at 10 p.m. Thursdays, starting next week

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