Posts tagged with “Jada Pinkett Smith”

REVIEW: ‘HawthoRNe’

HawthoRNe
Stars: 2.5 out of 5

Stars: Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Vartan and Vanessa Lengies

The Big Idea: Pinkett Smith is Christina Hawthorne (or HawthoRNe, as the annoying capitalization in the show title insists, making me seriously wonder if they named the character that just to be able to use ALL CAPS on the R and the N … but I digress), the compassionate Chief Nursing Officer at Richmond Trinity Hospital who’s raising her teenage daughter by herself since the death of her husband a year earlier. Hawthorne’s more interested in helping people and getting things done than being a stickler for rules, which, of course, leads to many a head-butting with administrators, including her friend and chief of surgery, Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan).

To Watch or Not to Watch: I would have guessed that I wouldn’t like the show just because I’m not a fan of Pinkett Smith. But she’s always been good at playing tough characters, and does that again here, though she mixes it with a healthy dose of vulnerability and compassion that makes her and her character likable.

There’s also the usual hospital chaos to keep the drama ratcheted up to a respectable level (a friend of Hawthorne and her late husband’s – played by 24‘s D.B. “Wayne Palmer” Woodside – tries to commit suicide by making a wicked swan dive off the hospital roof in the premiere’s opening moments), some quirky characters (including an awkward male nurse who’s trying to fit in as the new guy on staff) and the resident hunk (George Clooney‘s stint on ER taught everyone in TV land that you can’t even think about making a medical drama without one) in Alias vet Vartan, who does have a spark with Pinkett Smith.

The problem: The cast and the set-up are likable enough, but the whole show feels very by-the-book. There’s some mystery surrounding the death of Hawthorne’s husband – we find out in the premiere he died of cancer, but the specific circumstances of his death will be a question the show will milk throughout future episodes – but otherwise, medical drama fans have been here, seen this before.

TV Screener Tidbit: One reason to at least keep Hawthorne on your DVR radar: a string of upcoming guest stars that includes Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Cloris Leachman and Chuck star Sarah Lancaster.

UPDATE: Directly from a Tweet by actor James Morrison, who 24 fans know as the heroic Bill Buchanan, he’ll be a recurring guest star on Hawthorne. Beginning with the June 30 episode, Morrison plays hospital CEO John Morrissey.

HawthoRNe premieres Tuesday, June 16, at 9PM ET on TNT

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