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Mental

What’s the point in reviewing something everyone has read already, seen already, decided upon already?

It’s still fun!

But today I am going to review something a bit new… the pilot episode of Mental, a new medical show from Fox (home of that other medical show: House) that just premiered because lets face it, the summer rerun season is here and isn’t yet another medical show what every television network needs? (especially the network that is home of House.)

No? Well ok… I’m sure this medical show will have a totally new twist, a cast of characters so new and unique, a premise so smart and edgy that we, the audience, won’t be able to resist. And I am sure it will have nothing in common with Fox's other medical show; House.

Or not.

We join Dr. Gallagher (Chris Vance) who is a British hotshot maverick of a doctor who seems to like showing off his body and who has just started his new job running the psych unit of a large hospital in LA after only running a clinic in Vermont. (The Vermont angle is repeated so many times I figured the state paid for product placement.) Fish out of water meets hunky doctor who likes to break the rules… oh and has a bit of lust for his boss who might dress like the JC Penny’s version of Dr. Cuddy (from House) with the chest size to pull it off, but really is no substitute.

The similarities don't end with a flirtation to the boss and the desire to ride a bike (not a motorcycle like House but still a bicycle in LA) Dr. Gallagher seems to have more than a few things in common with Dr. House complete with wide eyed lackeys (doctors who play detective) who don’t understand his methods but admire his results and a tendency to do things his own way… such as get totally naked with a patient in order to win the much sought after element of trust.

Trust indeed.

Before the credits even roll I am drawing House parallels left and right with a few Lie to Me parallels thrown in for good measure and being secretly glad that the lovely Jacqueline McKenzie has made it back to the screen, as Dr. Gallagher's buttoned down foil, after The 4400 went kaput. (The 4400 by the way is an excellent sci fi show and should not be missed… check out the miniseries, you won’t regret it.)



Ahem, back to Mental. The show is okay… Dr. Gallagher butts heads with McKenzie's Veronica over whether routine or reality is a better form of therapy as expected. The show also has its moments of connection (throw cute kids into the mix and there you go) and a few moments of queasiness (the leering med student for example).

Can I go off on a tangent? What is it with people (doctors) on TV breaking and entering without any sort of repercussions. Doctors Without Borders has nothing on the crop of Doctors Without Permission. Do the ends justify the means? (Wait, this show is on Fox, home of 24 and Jack Bauer's Torture Always Works and the end so totally justifies the means that you better not even bother to ask... never mind, I withdraw the question.)


Gah, whatever. The show wants to celebrate both rational treatment and out of the box thinking, we are encouraged to feel bad for a dead cat (and dead spouse) collector, and we get glimpses of what the mental patients see and experience. As shticks go, this is well, sort of new. We get not so subtle ploys for emotional intrigue (someone has cancer, someone else has a sibling with a mental disorder Shocker!) but on the whole the show leaves little impact on the viewer after the end credits roll.

I may or may watch more episodes… chances are that had it started its run during the regular season it would have never seen the light of day but because of the summer schedule, it might have a chance. (But really, why not just watch House reruns and use the summer to catch up on your Netflix queue... or watch Glee!)

Despite the handsome doctor



(former Whistler from Prisonbreak... another Fox show where the ends always justify the means) and the always engaging Jacqueline McKenzie...



...I almost hope the show will fail so that they could be cast in something more worthy of their talents and my time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think people should take the show at face value and stop comparing it to other shows.

House wasn't a pioneer in story writing, it's just more popular. Thus, you should give this show a chance to find it's feet before condemning it.