FOX’s latest offering, the House wannabe Mental, isn’t bad.  That’s not to say it’s the most imaginative show that the network has offered, and it’s shot in Colombia so some of the lighting and outside shots are a little different than what we see in a typical LA shoot, but I didn’t think the show was bad.

Chris Vance is a likeable guy, who comes on as Jack Gallagher, the new head of the Psych Ward at the hospital. His “Cuddy” is played by Annabella Sciorra, and they have a quiet chemistry, because Vance is just cool as a cucumber with everyone he encounters.  Lots of other familiar faces are running around – the gardener DJ from The OC (Nicholas Gonzalez), Gia from General Hospital (Marisa Ramirez), Diana from The 4400 (Jacqueline McKenzie), Agent Gedge from 24 (Warren Kole), and a “Hey it’s that guy” whose been on Eli Stone, CSI: Miami, Boston Legal, etc. (Derek Webster). 

They mesh right away as a team – of course McKenzie and Webster’s characters butt heads with the new guy, since they both feel they deserved the job over him.  And the “try to figure out what psychiatric thing is wrong with these patients” week in and week out is what House does, but with a slightly better team of writers.  It’s a good show to fill up the summer, but I think it would get creamed during a regular season schedule.  Enjoy it now while you can.  Spoiler Alert, Chris Vance gets all kinds of naked in the first episode, so don’t miss out on that!

MENTAL: Dr. Jack Gallagher (Chris Vance, L) discusses a method for treating his patient Vincent (guest star Silas Weir Mitchell, R) in the series premiere of MENTAL airing Tuesday, May 26 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

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