Tuesday, May 26, 2009

'Mental' can't stack up to 'In Treatment' - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review Fox's "Mental," which has the unfortunate timing to be debuting the night after the finale to the brilliant second season of "In Treatment":
There are times when it's hard to watch a lot of HBO without turning into a snob about traditional network TV. Watch enough of "The Wire," and the "CSI"s and "Law & Order"s feel terribly flimsy in comparison. "The Sopranos" has created an uphill battle for other shows about organized crime that's nearly impossible to climb. And having just finished watching the second season of HBO's incredible therapy drama "In Treatment," I had a hard time doing anything but laughing at Fox's new "Mental."
Hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend. Will get into the summer groove within a day or so, hopefully.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least they got Tina Fey.

Brent said...

but he still gets a juvenile pleasure out of flaunting the rules of his hospital, and of riling up the administratorSmall correction: I believe you mean "flouting the rules."

Anonymous said...

Does the main character, by any chance, do anything where he's RISKING A PATIENT'S LIFE!!?

I don't understand this whole Telecolombia arrangement. Why would they film a show in Colombia, but set it in L.A. with English speaking actors? I understand when US shows film in other countries to save money, but why would a foreign country make a show that's so clearly aimed for a US market?

D4P said...

"And having just finished watching the second season of HBO's incredible therapy drama "In Treatment," I had a hard time doing anything but laughing at Fox's new "Mental.Funny: I had a hard time doing anything about laughing at HBO's "In Treatment" after having finished watching the first season of HBO's semi-incredible therapy drama "Tell Me You Love Me".

Art Fleming said...

This is gonna be like Trust Me where i find the setting interesting and the show sucks and i will need way to long to stop watching.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why would they film a show in Colombia, but set it in L.A. with English speaking actors? I understand when US shows film in other countries to save money, but why would a foreign country make a show that's so clearly aimed for a US market?

It's aimed at (and has been sold into) many international markets. As you say, filming it in Bogota is dirt-cheap; setting it in the US makes it an easy sell both to America, and to other countries that import lots of American shows, and casting a Brit in the lead (and letting him play British) gives it just enough international flavor to make it even easier.

Loretta said...

Did you by any chance see that Showtime series from about five years back, called Huff? Had Hank Azaria, Blythe Danner, Oliver Platt.

At the time, I really liked it, but now I think if I went back to look at it, I'd consistently compare it (unfavorably) to In Treatment. This is probably unfair as the focus of that show was definitely much more on the personal life of the therapist, but this post reminded me of it.

It's funny how some series sort of ruin you for other series (agreed on any of the Law & Orders or other crime procedurals compared to The Wire).

Anonymous said...

Brent's right, you do mean "flouting."

Very, very much like House, which I've all but stopped watching. So don't know as I'm going to continue with Mental, either.

Carrie said...

I would like to ask for an end to any type of show that can be described in a pitch as "House in a _____." Seriously. Have any of these shows even worked, besides House?

I tried to watch this last night but I was so bored I reorganized the files on my computer instead of fully paying attention.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Funny: I had a hard time doing anything about laughing at HBO's "In Treatment" after having finished watching the first season of HBO's semi-incredible therapy drama "Tell Me You Love Me".

Where were you when we were discussing that show? It could have used another supporter around these here parts.

Pamela Jaye said...

late to the party. just noticed and dvr'd the show.
are those exteriors from the same VA hospital Grey's Anatomy uses?
(i don't want it to take me as long to notice as it did with Diagnosis X using the Scrubs hospital (5 eps, if you are counting))

Ariadne said...

We were going to have a drinking game during Mental, one drink for every House rip-off, but there wasn't enough alcohol in the house.

Worse than just ripping off House, it's ripped off everything that I am now bored with on House -- fake maverick doctor, the unorthodox methods when real ones would work better; the boss who hires him and excuses him everything because she's slept with him (and probably will again since it's a House/Cuddy redux); the straight-laced co-worker, the shady African-American, the boring junior doctors who treat his methods with contempt.

I've stopped watching House because it's become so contrived. I'll give Mental another chance, hoping for some originality.

Too bad In Treatment is on HBO and not available to me.

Pamela Jaye said...

It was *scary* how "Cuddy" A.S. was... I think I may possibly have liked 3 lbs better - Mark Feuerstein was in that, so at least I could watch him.

(didn't read the review - I almost didn't see the show itself! busy lately. new job where I can't surf the web half the day - upside: closer to home, get to learn things, vague possibility my brain won't rot as it did for the last 4.5 years)