Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pilot Review: Complications

Complications (USA)
Premiered June 18 at 9pm

Jason O’Mara doesn’t have a great TV track record in terms of longevity, but I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong. He strongly commits to whatever demanding role he’s taken on, whether it’s a modern-day cop mysteriously sent back in time on “Life on Mars,” the de facto sheriff in prehistoric times on “Terra Nova,” or the loyal brother of the actual sheriff in developing Las Vegas on “Vegas.” Those shows lasted just one season each, and O’Mara, who also stopped by “The Good Wife” for a bizarre recurring arc since then, is now back on TV in a role that isn’t related to law enforcement and actually involves the express breaking of it on a regular basis. This is the kind of show that feels highly specific in its premise but not in a terribly organized way. O’Mara’s Dr. John Ellison is a dedicated doctor who, after losing his daughter to cancer, is prone to fits of rage and who just happens to end up in a bad part of town where he becomes inexorably linked to the fate of a young boy and the numerous criminals trying to both kill and protect him. It just isn’t a solid enough premise to merit a show, and the characters, like Lauren Stamile’s stoic supervisor, Beth Riesgraf’s personality-free wife and particularly Jessica Szohr’s edgy nurse, don’t help much. USA has been trying this format recently, focusing on a medical professional of some sort without supernatural abilities but with some secret part of their life that enables them to be far more skilled but also far more stressed than the average doctor. This show doesn’t make a great case for continuing the trend.

How will it work as a series? Presumably, there’s more to John’s life than just this one responsibility, but it is clear that it’s going to be lorded over him for a good time to come and going to present considerable problems for him in terms of keeping his work-life balance healthy. I don’t plan to stick around to find out – two hours was more than enough time to spend on this show.
How long will it last? Its ratings were much more on par with “Satisfaction,” which got renewed, than “Rush,” which got cancelled, which bodes well for its chances. USA is skewing towards more serious fare like this, and so maybe they’ll opt to renew it. I wouldn’t bet on it though – my prediction is cancellation.

Pilot grade: C-

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