CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”
TV Review: Manipulative, Messy ‘Miami Medical’
CHICAGO – Television drama is usually a formulaic proposition but rarely has a show been more blatantly derivative of other programs currently on the air than CBS’s new hospital drama, “Miami Medical,” a bizarre, ineffective hybrid of “CSI: Miami” and “Trauma”. Buried in the ratings nether regions of Friday nights, this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced show might just barely deliver for viewers exhausted after a long week of work, but they’ll have forgotten it by Saturday morning.
Television Rating: 2.0/5.0
Let’s see. “Three Rivers” failed on CBS. If “Trauma” was on any other network than the failing NBC, it would have been cancelled by now. So why should “Miami Medical” be the exception? Well, it is better than the narcoleptic “Three Rivers” and CBS certainly has a more golden touch than the peacock network, but fans of the now-gone “Numb3rs,” which this show replaces on Friday nights, should be angry at this mediocre alternative.
Tuck Brody (Mike Vogel) and Dr. Matthew Proctor (Jeremy Northam) treats a trauma patient on “Miami Medical,” a new drama series premiering, Friday, April 2, (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network.
Photo credit: Adam Taylor/Warner Bros.
It’s not five minutes into the premiere of “Miami Medical” before the show commits the cardinal sin in this critic’s eyes - blatant emotional manipulation. Hey, look it’s a woman who’s nine months pregnant on a medical show! How do you think this is going to go? Of course, young daddy, mommy, and in utero baby are in a horrible car accident and become the focus of the first story at “Miami Medical”.
Photo credit: Monty Brinton/Warner Bros.
Of course, one manipulative plotline isn’t enough for a Friday night medical drama in 2010 and the writers cram in another story about a burn victim trying to stay alive long enough to say goodbye to his fiancee. Neither medical plotline works at ALL, both coming off as generic and cliched to anyone who has seen even a single season of a vastly superior medical drama like “ER” or even “Grey’s Anatomy”.
More successful is the young ensemble of doctors first led by the great Andre Braugher (who has a breakdown in the opening scene as he clearly needed to get back to the set of “Men of a Certain Age” on TNT) and later by the very charismatic Jeremy Northam as Dr. Matthew Proctor. Northam is a fascinating face to see on the small screen as he’s an actor who’s always had more than enough presence to carry the big one and he lends gravity to a piece seriously bereft of dramatic weight.
The young ensemble of doctors certainly aren’t bad and include Mike Vogel (“She’s Out of My League”), Lana Parrilla (“Swingtown”), Elisabeth Harnois (“Point Pleasant”), and Omar Gooding (“Barbershop”). The great Robin Weigert (“Deadwood”) pops up in a role far too small for her talent but maybe she didn’t want to be too closely associated with the show.
As with most inferior television, the problem with “Miami Medical” is the writing. When it’s not wallowing in cliches, it’s simply dull and there’s nothing worse than watching boring characters under the glare of Bruckheimer-vision. You know that sheen that the uber-producer has brought to the “CSI” franchise. It works for those shows but feels like a bad fit with the human drama of a trauma situation. On “CSI,” the flashy style amplifies the show’s setting and incredibly strong pace. On “Miami Medical,” it merely amplifies the show’s flaws.
“Three Rivers” was mercifully canceled and “Trauma” could be by the time you read this review. “Miami Medical” will hopefully follow the trend of the shows that it so blatantly copies.