There are things to like and things to dislike about this one. As far as characters go, none of them are very compelling. In the first episode they attempt the shock and awe approach by having the new head guy strip in front of everyone in order to connect with a patient. They’re uninteresting enough that I couldn’t tell you their names, not even the head guy. So I’ll give them other names- head doctor, the cheater, hospital chief, gay chick, and crabby guy.
Head Doctor- the most interesting thing about his storyline is his twin sister who is schizo and wandering the streets, but seeing as we don’t actually know anything about their relationship beyond that, it doesn’t hold much. He’s sort of the Jesus of psychology since every decision he makes is perfect and he cures people of their mental illnesses in 72 hours no matter what is wrong with them. His relationship with that blond girl is so underdeveloped that we don’t really care what happens there. (He’s British and good looking, so he has that going for him at least)
The Cheater- her entire storyline is she’s doubtful of his methods and she’s cheating on her husband. We see her husband a bit, he seems nice enough though completely unambitious, so we feel sort of indifferent about that relationship as well.
Hospital Chief- she’s sort of the Cuddy of the show and in the past had a relationship with head doctor, though this was before the show so all we see is the occasional possibility that she may still be pining for him. She’s not around much other than to give her approval and stuff. Cuddy does the same on House and yet we actually know what her deal is.
Gay Chick- I give her this nickname only because it is literally the only thing I remember about her. Her dad kicked her out when she was fifteen because she came out to him. I guess her family was a bunch of religious nuts or something, but they don’t tell us much other than it makes her sad. She butts heads with head doctor because he keeps making her do research but whatever, no big.
Crabby Guy- he didn’t show up in this most recent episode at all, but basically he disagrees with everything head doctor does and complains about him whenever possible.
Oh, and there’s a sleazy guy on staff as well, but I don’t even remember enough about him other than that he keeps hitting on Gay Chick as though maybe he will be the guy to change her mind about the whole lesbian thing. Dude, you’re not hot enough for that.
I think I may have missed someone, but I figure if they aren’t even interesting enough for me to remember them then they don’t deserve a mention.
The interesting thing about the show is that they bring in unique cases–a woman who is pregnant in all but actual fact (she even has the pregnant stomach!), a girl who was really born a boy and never knew, a kid who pictures himself in video games…But the solutions are too easy and resolved so quickly that you can’t help but think, well why are there any crazy people left in the world if you can fix all of their problems in 72 hours or less! What Mental lacks is the thing that shows like House, Grey’s, and from what I remember of ER since it’s been a while, all have: a way to connect the doctor’s cases to the doctors so that we can learn about and care for the characters themselves.
Also, who thought naming the show Mental when there’s already a show called the Mentalist (airing at the same time I believe) already out there?