TV Review: Fox debuts medical show 'Mental'


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If you're bereft without new episodes of "House" this summer and willing to settle for a pale imitation, there's always Fox's "Mental" (9 p.m. Tuesday, WPGH).

The dynamic between rebel British psychiatrist Dr. Jack Gallagher (Chris Vance, "Prison Break") and no-nonsense hospital administrator Nora Skoff (Annabella Sciorra) is similar to the House-Cuddy relationship, although Nora is more open to new ideas.

Gallagher arrives for his first day of work at the hospital and immediately strips out of his clothes in an effort to calm an agitated patient who's seeing alien tails and tongues on patients in the waiting area. (Interestingly, the hospital exterior looks a lot like the exterior shots used of Seattle Grace on "Grey's Anatomy.")

Executive produced by Deborah Joy LeVine ("Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "The Division") and her brother Dan, all 13 episodes of "Mental" were shot in Bogota, Colombia, by Fox TV Studios before the Fox network agreed to air the show. Filming in South America is an attempt to create a less expensive production model that unfortunately shows on-screen. "Mental" suffers from a visually drab look; the abundance of Colombian extras is merely an amusing side effect.

The medical cases, all mental illnesses, are sometimes interesting (a hysterical pregnancy in an upcoming episode takes an unexpected turn) but the combination of tired characters -- especially the tightly-wound Dr. Veronica Hayden-Jones (Jacqueline McKenzie, "The 4400") -- and relationships makes "Mental" a dull summer entry.

-- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV editor

'Mental'

When: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox.

Starring: Annabella Sciorra.



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