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NBC's The Listener -- not on my watch

Craig Olejnik has lots on his mind as the star of NBC's The Listener.

Premiering: Thursday, June 4th at 8 p.m. (central) on NBC, with another episode at 9 p.m.
Starring: Craig Olejnik, Ennis Esmer, Colm Feore, Mylene Dinh-Robic, Lisa Marcos
Produced by: Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Michael Amo, Tom Chehak, Clement Virgo

It's sometimes OK for a TV show to be preposterous. Just don't be listless, too. NBC's The Listener is both.

Premiering Thursday with belatedly scheduled back-to-back episodes, Listener inevitably begins with a slice of narrative from its wan lead character, paramedic Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik).

"Ever wonder what people are thinking?" he asks all of us out here in TV land. "I don't. I know."

Not that you'll care. Toby's "gift," which also allows him to envision fiery car wrecks and the like, apparently comes and goes in fits and spurts. And no one's the wiser except an older dude named Dr. Ray Mercer (Colm Feore), who's Toby's mentor, confidant and probably deep, dark manipulator of some sort.

In Thursday's scene-setter, Toby and his paramedic pal, "Oz" Bey (Ennis Esmer), are trading lame banter before coming upon an overturned car in what looks to be the middle of Manhattan but actually is cost-efficient Toronto. Amazingly, no one else pays any mind to this, even though it's daytime on a major thoroughfare. Extras apparently aren't in The Listener's budget. Neither is plausibility.

Anyway, Toby soon deduces that the woman they rescue also had a young boy with her. But now he's missing, giving Toby further reason to get his head in this game.

Meanwhile, we also meet his snippy would-be girlfriend, Dr. Olivia Fawcett (Mylene Dinh-Robic), and a no-nonsense woman cop named Charlie Marks (Lisa Marcos). She's prone to badgering Toby and also fond of tight, low-cut tops. But even her intermittent scenic beauty can't make The Listener watchable. There's no spark at all here amid a plodding plot populated by characters who succeed only in boring the hell out of anyone daring to watch.

Thursday's second episode of The Listener wasn't available for review. Thanks at least for that, NBC.