Warning: SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Trying to get back into the medical field game, NBC has rolled out The Night Shift, about a group of doctors and other staff during the night shift of the San Antonio Medical Center. The series doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, in actuality; it parallels a lot from NBC’s last great medical hit, ER.
The pilot especially echoes the ER pilot. The first scene involves the main doctor, T.C. (Eion Macken) being woken up because he was going to be late for work. ER did this in a similar sense with Mark Greene. Also, much like the former NBC series, this hospital is vastly underfunded and in danger of being shut down (sure, most hospitals are as well, so we’ll call that a wash). And finally, we have the tough as nails hospital administrator who really has a heart of gold (in The Night Shift we have Michael Ragosa played by Freddy Rodriguez, while we had Kerry Weaver and Robert Romano on ER).
Had enough of the similarities? Let’s move on.
One thing that separates this series a bit more is that most of these doctors are former veterans. That allows the doctors to have a bit more of a MacGyver type approach to surgeries and helping people that can keep the show interesting, although we don’t see much of that in the pilot.
We are also introduced to Drew (Brendan Fehr) who is revealed to be gay at the end of the episode. He is also a former vet, and seems to be still worried about how others will treat him if he came out – especially the other military men and the doctors. This could be one of the more compelling personal stories of the series that could draw in some viewers.
The cast is rounded out with Jill Flint as Jordan Alexander, the new head of the night shift and also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of T.C. and Daniella Alonso, T.C.’s current flame and psychiatrist Dr. Landry Miller. There are a few other doctors and interns that are introduced, but really have no storyline yet, and let’s hope The Night Shift does a good job to make us care about them.
There is humor in The Night Shift and promos show a lot of weird cases that will be coming up in the seven remaining episodes. Sure, the pilot got pretty cliché through the hour. We see the same drunk driver accident you’ve seen done hundreds of times and the poor girl that gets her MRI even though she doesn’t have insurance. However, pilots have tons of other things going on that they stick with those routine cases to try and get you involved more with the characters. And I think they half succeeded there with T.C. and Drew.
With NBC’s vast troubles in the past few years, if the ratings are even halfway decent, you might see The Night Shift back on the schedule as early as late fall for a bigger run.
Final Grade: 7.5/10