Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pilot Review: Chicago Med

Chicago Med (NBC)
Premiered November 17 at 9pm

There are more and more TV franchises that seem to be popping up these days, and some of them aren’t even from the first franchise a particular TV mogul has created. After launching the first “Law and Order” series in 1990 and continuing to see one of its offshoots, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” begin its seventeenth season this fall, creator Dick Wolf has moved on to a new city and a new concept. “Chicago Fire” was first in 2012, “Chicago P.D.” the year after, and now comes “Chicago Med,” the latest show ripe for a megacrossover event on NBC. I gave the first pilot a C and the second a C-, and this show pretty much fits that same standard. For me, a medical show is probably least interesting out of those three setups, and what I mainly do when a watch a new show like this is wait to recognize actors from other roles and see how they figure into a new series I probably won’t ever watch again. It didn’t take long for me to recognize Colin Donnell from “The Affair,” who I now realize also played Tommy on “Arrow,” as the new surgery fellow. I’m always fond of Oliver Platt, but I think that his talents are better used elsewhere, and it makes perfect sense that S. Epatha Merkerson, who got her big start on the original “Law and Order,” would have a major role here. The show is about as engaging as CBS’ freshman offering “Code Black,” and I don’t have any interest in watching either.

How will it work as a series? There are some obvious adjustments for everyone to make with the new arrivals and the dynamic of the hospital, but it seems to be just like any other medical show, full of soapy romances, high-stakes emergencies, and all that drama. Episode one already featured a cast member from “Chicago Fire,” and I think the show’s greater universe will occupy a lot of its attention, as will its host city, which lent Rahm Emanuel for the opening scene.
How long will it last? Like Wolf’s first franchise, it looks like this one will have three very successful series running at the same time. The ratings for the pilot were very strong, and NBC is eager to embrace its successes, so I expect this to be commissioned along with its two partner series for another season very soon.

Pilot grade: C

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