Monday, April 5, 2010

Pilot Review: Miami Medical

Miami Medical (CBS)
Premiered April 2 at 10pm

Does the world of television really need another medical drama? More importantly, does CBS, which debuted “Three Rivers” last October, a medical show that aired a grand total of eight episodes. This one is more like NBC’s similarly unsuccessful “Trauma,” which was seemingly cancelled at the end of last year and then mysteriously resurrected. Like that show, this pilot starts with a big bang, a catastrophic event that means mass casualties and plenty of stress on the operating table. That’s not all though, because there’s a new guy who pops up from out of nowhere and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the team. The team, of course, can’t quite function without the aid of their leader, who is out of commission after only one scene when he undergoes a mental breakdown in front of his subordinates. All of the parts are typecast, with Lana Parilla as a wise and surprisingly hardened physician (see “Boomtown” as her reference) and Andre Braugher, guesting only momentarily, as an experienced and brilliant mentor dealing with other troubles. Braugher’s appearance is a breath of fresh air after his unworthy role on “Men of a Certain Age,” but he can only do so much for thee show in the part usually played by Hector Elizondo. One of the other senior doctors is played by Mike Vogel, an actor whose sole major film credit is a starring spot in the film “Cloverfield.” Discussions about ambidextrous masturbation hardly seem necessary, and stick out as extra efforts to make the show seem cool and much more individualized than it really is. Exchanges of dialogue like “is it okay if I kiss her” followed by “if you don’t, I will” just serve to make this show more groan-worthy than anywhere near monumentally dramatic. The power struggle that isn’t really much of a power struggle at all just isn’t able to be interesting, and the charismatic Brit newcomer played by Jeremy Northam easily blows the entire cast away with a single accented utterance of any line of dialogue. Plainly, neither the meds nor the medics here have much of anything to offer.

How will it work as a series? Maybe the cases will be intriguing, but if the team behind them isn’t, then how can this show hope to sustain itself? The team dynamic isn’t remotely engaging, and the show strives too much to be hokey instead of wringing true dramatic moments from the trauma and pain its guest characters endure. Trying to make it into a soap opera only works if it’s actually a soap opera, and this show is a medical drama, or at least it’s supposed to be.
How long will it last? Ratings for the pilot were very strong, which is definitely good news. Taking over the time slot from “Numb3rs” is a tough act to follow, and inheriting it as the show presumably gets cancelled would be a major boon for the show. I honestly don’t think that this show has what it takes to make it though, and I imagine the numbers will drop considerably once other original programming returns soon. A second season could be in the cards, but I doubt it.

Pilot grade: D

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