Tuesday, May 27, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Night Shift' - T.C. Battles the Hospital Administration While Trying to Save a Young Boy's Life in 'Pilot'

NBC's The Night Shift - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

T.C. encounters a life-threatening situation on his way to work; Jordan works to convince her boss that she's capable of running the night shift; and an accident victim's injuries demand all of T.C.'s expertise.

For whatever reason, The Night Shift is intent on making T.C. Callahan its leading man. Eoin Macken definitely has the stage presence to lead a TV show but this character is simply not a good fit for him. He struggles with his American accent. But more importantly, the character is self-destructive simply for the sake of being self-destructive. We are just suppose to go along with everything that T.C. does knowing that there's no why he will ever have to deal with any kind of consequences. And because he saves the kid and he hands in the paperwork to Jordan and he helps others realize who they are, he's a leading man hero who we should sympathize and admire. But the show doesn't feel confidently in making T.C. a self-destructive man or a medical hero. It is possible to balance both sides of that coin - House, for example, did that well for several years. The Night Shift ultimately doesn't know what they're doing with that character and that limits the whole show's ambition.

And then came the barrage of character developments at the tail end of the premiere. Michael Ragosa is a suit who cares about cost-cutting methods... but he's gonna be sympathetic because he's slowly loosing his eye sight. I really could have done without that added twist. Landry is a very confident and competent psychiatrist who also happens to be really beautiful. That must mean she's also T.C.'s current girlfriend. Ugh, I was really digging the Landry-Jordan female friendship. But the show then decided it couldn't have two females be friends because they just had to both be "pining" after the same guy. That's a lame plot trope that belongs back in the early era of TV. And last but not least, there's the reveal that Drew is actually gay. That reveal was just tacked on to make him seem more interesting than he was throughout the premiere. But it's actually a story that I think could be told interestingly. What does it mean to be gay and in the military service in 2014? That's an interesting question but one I'm not too confident The Night Shift will answer in a compelling way.

The only character who didn't have a "surprising" character reveal at the end of this pilot was Topher. So that means he's one of the few characters I actually liked. Don't get me wrong, he's still a pretty bland character who would be utterly forgettable if played by someone other than Ken Leung. But Leung gives him an endearing quirkiness that's both subtle and watchable. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Pilot" was written by Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judan and directed by Pierre Morel.
  • The only medical moment that I thought was special and emotionally driven was when Landry was talking to the kid driver of the car and how his reflexes were what led to both of them still being alive.
  • Yeah, I don't care about Paul and Krista the interns at all. At least the nurses got to be funny.
  • I'm also glad the recurring bit about items pulled out of people's rectums ended after the first act. That's really only funny for a second.
  • Realistically, the sooner that T.C. tries something against the rules and it backfires on him the better. Gotta destroy that superiority complex.
  • Every single promotional picture for The Night Shift is unintentionally hilarious. There's this one, and this one and certainly this one.