Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mental (TV) Pilot

I was looking forward to seeing this new Fox TV show from the time I first heard of it. I am a bit of an amateur psychologist and I enjoy studying the philosophies of the different psychological disciplines. Ego, id, borderline personality disorder, collective unconscious, Freud, Jung, etc. I imagine eventually all of these concepts will be included in the show. Just in case you are uninitiated I'll give you a rough idea of what Mental is all about. An L.A. area mental hospital has just lost its director and the hospital decides to go a little off the beaten path for a replacement. The new director Jack Gallagher is a bit of a wild card and unorthodox but completely dedicated to helping the patients under his facility's care. He takes a hands-on approach which is unusual for a head of a hospital who would normally delegate responsibilities and play more of a manager type role. Some of the employees are perturbed for one reason or another and that is the source of some of the conflict of the pilot. I would like to mention that the lead is played by Chris Vance who also played James Whistler on Prison Break (another Fox show, Imagine that.) I thought he did a noticeably outstanding job in that series, and that was one of the reasons I had watching the pilot penciled in on my schedule. In the first 5 minutes or so I got the feeling that the actors and also the entire production weren't exactly comfortable yet. The opening scenes were most likely the first shots the production team had filmed together and they didn't have that "flow" that a crew gets after having worked together for a while. That's not to say that the opening scenes weren't good story-wise, especially the obligatory "off-the-wall" arrival of the new director of the mental hospital. The pilot had its ups and downs but it all came together after the first 15 minutes or so. The show has a bit of a "police procedural" vibe to it, with the residents going outside the facility to investigate the lives of patients who are having trouble. I think Mental is a good show and might have the potential to be a great show as long as they keep it from going over the top and keep the different patient's cases true to life and interesting.  If I had to predict whether or not this show will get canceled I would probably say that they are at least going to air all the episodes. I believe I can say that with some certainty but it's too early to tell whether or not it will have a second season. I'd say there's about a 40% chance of that happening. That's not bad though for a new show.

Honestly: 7.25 out of 10 (preliminarily, might change after watching more episodes)

Genre: Hospital Drama, Investigative Medicine

In the Same Ballpark: The Mentalist, Psych

Somewhat Related: CSI, Prison Break

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