Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Pedigree: The show is based on the novel of the same name by celebrity neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, who executive produces with David E. Kelley and Bill D’Elia (Ally McBeal, The Practice, etc.). The pilot was written by Kelley and directed by D’Elia.
The Cast & How You Know Them: Monday Mornings stars Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica, Perception), Jennifer Finnigan (The Bold and the Beautiful, Better with You), Keong Sim (Glee), Sarayu Rao (Sons of Tucson), Alfred Molina (Law & Order: LA), Ving Rhames (Kojak), Bill Irwin (CSI), and Emily Swallow (Southland).
The Premise: Monday Mornings follows the professional and personal lives of a group of surgeons at Chelsea General hospital, and revolves around the Monday morning meetings at which they must discuss their mistakes, including patients who have died.
What Works: Most of this came across as a solid, if not ground-breaking, medical drama. The characters are flawed, which is good, but more sympathetic than they are in the book – also good. They’re good at their jobs but not perfect, and they have personal issues but mostly don’t seem to be complete disasters, which is refreshing. It’s good when you can buy the leads on a medical show as basically competent, functioning adults. Ving Rhames and Keong Sim were particular standouts among an overall solid cast.
What Doesn’t: The pilot uses a fair number of standard medical drama cliches; whether the show will be able to rise above them remains to be seen. The show seems to be setting up an adulterous relationship that the audience is supposed to find sympathetic, which is always hard (and often distasteful) to pull off. And I found some of the music cues to be very distracting, which, again, is something that might or might not be worked out in future episodes.
Our Favorite Line: “I think you people all want me to die. Is that it?” “We actually don’t, ma’am. In fact, we’ve implemented a new policy where we now want our patients to get well.”
You Might Like This if you like medical dramas about flawed but very smart characters. It reminded me of early Grey’s Anatomy, with a slightly more adult feel to it, as most of the characters are established surgeons rather than interns or residents.
If You’re Interested: You can watch the pilot on TNT’s site or this Friday at 11:30pm or Saturday at 11am. In Canada, you can see it on the Bravo site. Then tune in next Monday night at 10/9c for a new episode.
(Photo courtesy of TNT.)