Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pilot Review: Do No Harm

Do No Harm (NBC)
Premiered January 31 at 10pm

The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde concept is inarguably an interesting one. Turning it into a compelling and half-believable television show, on the other hand, is a separate matter. This interpretation is highly over-the-top and ineffective, though it’s not as if it had much potential. Steven Pasquale was terrific in his long-running role as Sean on “Rescue Me,” playing one of the firehouse’s least intelligent members. Yet here, he’s tasked with too roles, one as the angelic Dr. Jason Cole and the other as the cartoonishly evil Ian Price. Pasquale would hardly be my pick to play these parts, and it’s obvious that the show is trying to overcompensate for Pasquale by showing an exaggerated shift from day to night that turns Jason into a monster. The medical cases in this episode were painfully obviously in terms of their attempts to mimic Jason’s life, using face blindness as a metaphor for literally seeing someone else in the mirror and then presenting an opportunity for Ian to mete out physical punishment on an abusive husband. People are going to start noticing that Jason is behaving erratically at night, and asking Ian to stay away from his life seems to have inspired exactly the opposite impulse in him, prompting the episode’s dumbest line: “Monkeys have been known to eat their young.” Alana De La Garza and Phylicia Rashad are wasted in personality-free supporting roles, and there’s no positive anchor for this show. Like Jason’s five-year plan, let’s call it a failed experiment.

How will it work as a series? In the first hour alone, Ian managed to sleep with a handful of women at the same time and alienate the one woman Jason actually cares about with nothing more than an unfriendly laugh. Imagine how much destruction Ian can reach if this show actually airs more than a few episodes, and I’m sure it will only get more far-fetched as time goes on.
How long will it last? Not long at all. Touted as one of the worst series premieres in history, which is especially unfortunate given that the series finale of “30 Rock” earlier that night on NBC should have given it a boost. I would be surprised if this show manages to air three episodes.

Pilot grade: F

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