Sunday, June 15, 2014


There was a period in the late 1980s when I was working for a radio station in Minocqua, Wisconsin where I reviewed a movie and critiqued it as a weekly feature on my show. It's been nearly 25 years since I have wielded my critic's pen, but after watching a few episodes of a summer replacement series on NBC I have dusted off that pen.

I have always been a sucker for good hospital dramas, The Night Shift isn't one of them. A drama about an emergency room, this one in Texas, should always have plenty of story lines. But this one is trying to accomplish too much. It's trying to be E.R., Grey's Anatomy, M*A*S*H*, Scrubs and a host of others combined.

Particularly annoying to me is the use of time that pops on the screen before a commercial and returning from commercials. If the show is called The Night Shift that should be enough to give the viewer a reference as to when things are generally happening. M*A*S*H* used the time thing once, but that was an episode taking place in real time so to speak and it was very effective. The use of time in this show is just pointless.

The show also needs to dial down the testosterone just a tad. Good stories and well crafted characters are what defines a good hospital drama. The character T.C. seems clueless that he's suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from his time as a battlefield surgeon in Afghanistan. He's always in the right and the ends always justify the means. My favorite TV T.C. was Theodore Calvin who flew a chopper in the Vietnam War and later as an Island Hopper pilot in Magnum P.I. His character was more layered than this T.C.

E.R. was on several years before George Clooney rescued a little girl caught in a flooded storm water drain. The timing was perfect and it was a defining moment that made the drama must see TV. By the way E.R.was also on NBC, but we knew it was different right out of the box.