TV review: 'Saving Hope' arrives in need of medical attention
For Charlie Harris, played by Michael Shanks, life changes after he is in a car accident on the way to marrying fellow surgeon Alex Reid, portrayed by Erica Durance, in "Saving Hope."
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NBC's Canadian import "Saving Hope" (9 tonight, WPXI) seems as though it has been designed for that small minority of "Grey's Anatomy" viewers who actually liked the Ghost Denny story line, although so far the hospital-confined ghosts on "Saving Hope" are not having sex with any humans.
The series begins when engaged surgeons Alex Reid (Erica Durance, "Smallville") and Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks, "Stargate SG-1") are in a car accident on their way to get married. He winds up in a coma at the hospital and narrates the series from a plane that's somewhere between life and death and physically inside the halls of Toronto's Hope Zion Hospital.
The premiere starts with the car accident and flashes back 12 hours earlier in a fashion that's become frustratingly ubiquitous in prime-time television dramas.
Viewers learn that Alex and Charlie would argue about medical procedures in front of other staff members as a form of foreplay.
Other characters introduced include a psychiatric doctor and a newly arrived star surgeon, Joel Goran (Australian Daniel Gillies, "The Vampire Diaries"), who has a past with Alex.
Multiple medical cases breeze into the hospital in the pilot, and they don't all end well. One case is frustratingly odd: A young girl comes in after she accidentally poisons herself with a "love potion" made from a toxic daffodil bulb. She mentions she also gave the potion to a boy she likes -- and the doctors don't seem to take any action to get the boy into the hospital for observation. He shows up later, but "Saving Hope" gives no indication the doctors attempted to find him.
As far as medical stories go, there's not much in "Saving Hope" viewers haven't seen before (and better) elsewhere, including on "Grey's Anatomy."
The coma doctor story in "Saving Hope" is less crazy-making, but it's also less involving since the series begins with a tragic turn of events before we really get to know the characters.
"I am having an out-of-body experience in a tuxedo," Charlie says in his omnipresent narration (he's forever stuck in the tux he was wearing when the accident occurred). He assures Alex, "Don't you give up on me. I'm still here."
But will viewers still be tuning in to "Saving Hope" once they realize this story also resembles "A Gifted Man," the recently canceled CBS series about an arrogant doctor who is the only one who can see his dead doctor wife?
A version of this review first appeared in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv.
First Published June 7, 2012 12:00 am