The 2008-9 television season has had plenty to recommend. Viewers were introduced to the quirky genius of Dr. Walter Bishop on “Fringe”, the comedic acting chops of Bobby Cannavale on ABC’s “Cupid”, and compelling new series such as “Private Practice” and “Southland”. More recently, FOX launched “Mental” (think Dr. Gregory House as a psychiatrist, only younger, and sans the Yank accent):
Chris Vance plays the lead, and Annabella Sciorra is cast in the “Dr. Lisa Cuddy” role in this take on unconventional mental health treatment. In the series debut (or premier if you prefer), the supporting cast proved only adequate, though the episode guests were strong. Beyond the predictable staff conflict, the clinical methodology advanced by “Dr. Jack Gallagher” will drive this vehicle. If it lands on a strong night after this summer trial, it could have staying power.
It is intriguing that material such as “Mental”, “Criminal Minds”, “Lie To Me”, the HBO hit “In Treatment”, and CBS’s tepid “The Mentalist” has found its way to our screens. Perhaps now that the CSI brand and “NCIS” have enthralled viewers with the forensic details of how the bad guys and girls are caught, audiences are hooked on motive and pyschosis. Or maybe eight years of a Bush II presidency turned us all into amateur shrinks.