Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pilot Review: The Night Shift

The Night Shift (NBC)
Premiered May 27 at 10pm

The second of what technically constitutes next season’s pilot offerings comes from NBC, which is premiering a handful of new shows this week. This is a series that attempts to spotlight a hospital from a completely new perspective and ends up coming off as completely ordinary and expected. Its title explains what it is, and in case you weren’t sure, there’s Jill Flint, who made an exodus from her role as Jill Casey on “Royal Pains” a couple of years ago, as Dr. Jordan Alexander, the “yes man” who just happens to have a past relationship with the bad boy star doctor of the hospital, the rebellious T.C. Callahan. This is meant to be another “Grey’s Anatomy,” one that emphasizes pranks and romantic drama between all of its young employees. There are two other very notable TV faces in the cast, both in less than spectacular roles. Ken Leung, who was Miles on “Lost,” is a doctor with a generally good heart and not much personality. Freddy Rodriguez, best known as Rico on “Six Feet Under,” is Michael Ragosa, the director who sees all of the patients for nothing more than their monetary value. This show feels entirely familiar, replacing the gimmick of other cities or classes or specialties with a time of day: the night shift. It turns out that not all that much is different, and though this show wants to be cool and cutting-edge, it just isn’t.

How will it work as a series? Now that Jordan is interim chief of the night shift, there will be plenty of opportunity for T.C.’s behavior to rub everyone the wrong way. I’m sure the temporary peace he has achieved with Ragosa won’t last either. It should be entertaining if far from creative and fresh.
How long will it last? The premiere actually did pretty well, and NBC doesn’t yet have its “Under the Dome” or its “Mistresses,” so maybe this is the summer series that will carry NBC to semi-success over the quieter months. It’s too soon to tell, but I think this one could end up being renewed.

Pilot grade: D

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