Posts tagged with “medical drama”

REVIEW: ‘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

REVIEW: ‘Royal Pains’

Royal Pains
3.5 out of 5

Stars: Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Reshma Shetty and Jill Flint

The Big Idea: After the death of a wealthy patron gets Dr. Hank Lawson (Feuerstein) booted from the Manhattan hospital where he works and his insensitive fiancé dumps him, Lawson’s bro Evan (Costanzo, from Joey) convinces him a weekend in the babe-laden Hamptons is just the thing to cure what ails him. While vacaying in the beach playground to the rich and famous, Hank saves a woman’s life at a swanky soiree, prompting the town to claim him as their “concierge doc.”

To Watch or Not to Watch: Absolutely, if for no other reason than because Feuerstein, who’s done more than his fair share of time in lame sitcoms (Good Morning, Miami and Caroline in the City) and good guest-starring gigs (The West Wing and Once and Again), has finally landed in a series worthy of his leading man charms. And he is charming … the 75-minute premiere is a bit bogged down with the obligatory setting up of the series’ premise, but Feuerstein saves it by making you care about Lawson’s chance to redeem his career, maybe spark a new romance with a local hospital administrator who, like him, cares more about patients than money, and, hey, because he is now living in that beach playground to the rich and famous, have some fun in the sun.

The show, a perfect addition to USA’s addictive character-driven dramedy line-up and a fitting companion to Burn Notice‘s third season (which premieres tonight at 9PM ET), also promises to get even better, particularly as Hank interacts with the locals. The best part of the premiere is when he goes all MacGyver to perform impromptu surgery on Tucker, a wealthy haemophiliac teen whose parents are MIA. Hank and the kid bond, and the good doc promises him that he’ll check in on him once he returns from the hospital; Feuerstein has confirmed that’s part of the show’s continuing storyline.

TV Screener Tidbit: Like USA’s other series, Royal Pains will also feature plenty of guest stars, including Campbell Scott and Christine Ebersole in the premiere, and Andrew McCarthy, who’ll play the father of Hank’s teen pal Tucker.

TV Screener Tidbit #2: In addition to his TV and film work, viral video fans may remember Feuerstein from “Lazy Monday,” the “West Coast answer” to Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell‘s classic “Lazy Sunday,” the Chronicles of Narnia rap, clip.

Royal Pains premieres June 4, at 10PM ET on USA Network

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