Tag: dr house

The Good Doctor (ABC) pilot preview: Meet House’s spiritual prodigal son

Written and produced by David Shore (House, Sneaky Pete, Law & Order). Based on Park Jae-bum’s South Korean series Goot Dakteo. Excutive produced by Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii 5-0), Erin Gunn (Battle Creek, Houdini and Doyle), Lindsay GoffmanSebastian Dong Hun Lee (Dramaworld) & David Kim. Directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Baywatch, The Goldbergs, Sneaky Pete). For Sony Pictures Television, Shore Z & 3 AD. 62 pages. 3rd Network Draft. 1/13/17.

Description: Shaun Murphy, a young autistic surgeon with Savant syndrome, is recruited into the pediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital in Santa Fe. Although he has the mentality of a 10 year old, he has the amazing ability of 3D visualisation of the human anatomy and the memory of everything he reads. But can a person who doesn’t have the ability to relate to people actually save their lives and be considered as a “good doctor”? Shaun has six months to prove it…

With Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel, August Rush, Arthur & the Invisibles, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Antonia Thomas (Misfits, Lovesick), Nicholas Gonzalez (Pretty Little Liars, Sleepy Hollow, Melrose Place 2009, Resurrection Blvd.), Hill Harper (CSI New York, Limitless, Homeland, Covert Affairs), Richard Schiff (The West Wing, The Affair), Beau Garrett (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), Irene Keng (Harry’s Law), Chuku Modu (Snatch)…

 

   

You’ll like if you already like: House, Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black…

Likely timeslot: Monday at 10, Wednesday at 10 or Sunday at 9.

 

I have to be perfectly honest, I considered The Good Doctor as a weak contender and a low priority for a spot in ABC’s schedule next year for four main reasons: 1/ Because of this uninspired and so generic title (we already have The Good Fight & The Good Place by the way) 2/ Because it’s the adaptation of a Korean hit (I have nothing against Korean series but they’re not appealing to me at all) 3/ Because of the concept, that seems standard and tired (he’s a genius but he’s really bad with people) 4/ Because I tend to think ABC doesn’t need any new medical drama as long as Grey’s Anatomy is alive and well (and it is). But that was before Freddie Highmore got cast in the lead role and before I read the script, that really took me by surprise and moved me more than I could have imagined. Now, I feel like there could be a hit hiding in there. On paper, it looks like one. What will it take to become one? As always: a good timeslot, an efficient promotion and a bit of luck.

I was expecting a “medical dramedy soap” but it turned out The Good Doctor is a real medical drama. It has soap elements, it’s true, though ABC seems to have tone them down in their version compared to the Korean one. They changed the end for example, that probably looked inapropriate. Shaun and one of his female colleagues were getting very close, already. Too soon! They’ll get there at some point of course, but they have time (especially if they’re looking for 22-episode seasons). But to give us a Grey’s Anatomy feel anyway, there’s a scene where two characters are making out in the room where the residents are supposed to take a nap, not fuck. Allergics to Shondaland, fear not: it’s not the kind of show where everybody is sleeping around. It has comedic elements too but nothing that will make you laugh out loud. They’re not agressively looking for big funny moments. It’s more subtle than that. A few lines, some situations. A fine balance to make it not too heavy. Because heavy it is, most of the time.

If you’re looking for a “real” medical drama, The Good Doctor is for you. Writer David Shore knows his subject, his 8 seasons of House certainly helped, though he’s a former lawyer, not a former doctor. And it shows. Medicine is raw in the show. The first case involves a little boy who gets hit by a huge glass-covered commercial sign that falls on him at the airport. Shaun happens to be there and does his best to save him while the crowd is watching him. Remember he’s autistic. It’s a double challenge for him. He has no tools and no help. It’s an action-packed and intense teaser that will leave you breathless and begging for more. Medicine is nerdy too in the show. Of course, Shaun is kind of a nerd because of his condition and “savant syndrom” (which is a real thing in case you’re wondering). But Shore has also decided to add something that is not in the original show apparently, what he calls “pop-up medecine”. It’s a card that appears on the screen which is an image from Shaun’s memory. It’s here to provide us information about his current medical though-processes. I’m not totally sold on the idea, I’m not sure it’s necessary, but why not? As long as it doesn’t scare people off… After all, it worked on House with the human body’s 3D internal views.

But let’s get to the best part: the characters. That’s how you recognize a good series. What can be more important than that? They don’t all get the same amount of screentime and they don’t all get to show their potential but they really work as a group and they all have their “moment”. Shaun, as the central character, is in most of the scenes, almost everything revolves around him and his arrival in the hopistal -which doesn’t make everyone happy in the board- but it’s still an ensemble show. There are poignant flashbacks about our awkward but so touching hero during his childhood with his family that are deeply emotional and could leave you in tears. I’m pretty sure Freddie Highmore can do that. He is really talented, as he proved constantly in Bates Motel. To sum up: his father was violent, his mother abandoned him and his brother is no longer with him. Shaun makes a beautiful speech towards the end of the pilot that is heartbreaking. Plus, he forged a special relationship with the president of the hospital, Dr Ira Glassman, the one who helped him get the job, that goes way way back. It’s some kind of mentor for him and those two together should make great television. Remember House and Wilson. Or Cristina and Burke. Or Meredith and Richard. He also has a special connection with Claire Browne, another brilliant young doctor, and there’s a lot of potential there too. Shaun quickly finds his nemesis, Dr. Neil Melendez, the boss of the surgical residents at the hospital. This part comes off as a little forced though, but you will want more anyway.

There’s an urgency and an intensity in The Good Doctor that makes it an efficient and appealing medical drama. It doesn’t really revolutionize the genre but it keeps it fresh and straight-forward. What makes it distinctive is its unlikely hero and all the emotions that he makes you feel just by being him. Can ABC resist to a show they can heavily advertise as “the next great medical drama brought to you by the creator of House“? I don’t think so.

UPDATE “Sneaky Pete” (CBS/Amazon) pilot preview: Walter White & Mr. Dr. House made a skinny baby

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Story written by David Shore & Bryan Cranston. Teleplay written by David Shore (Dr House, Battle Creek, Family Law). Produced by James Degus & Erin Gunn (Battle Creek). For Sony Pictures Television, Moon Shot Entertainment & Shore Z. 60 pages.

Description: Marius, a thirty-something con man, upon leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of a cellmate. “Sneaky Pete” then hides out from his debtors while working for his new “family’s” bail bond business. There he uses his considerable charm and criminal prowess to take down bad guys far worse than himself, partnering with a female “cousin” who has her suspicions about his real motives…

With Giovanni Ribisi (Friends, Earl, Ted, Dads), Marin Ireland (Homeland, Masters of Sex, The Divide), Margo Martindale (The Americans, The Millers, Justified), Peter Gerety (The Wire, Homicide, Prime Suspect), Shane McRae (The Following, Still Alice), Lile Barer (Parenthood)…

UPDATE: After CBS passed on it last May, Sony Pictures Television closed a deal with streaming platform Amazon to broadcast Sneaky Pete pilot episode (after a few reshoots) as part of its semiannual pilot season event. If it gets good grades from viewers, Amazon will order a full season for 2016. Pilot will be available on the platform August 7th.

 

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What happened with Battle Creek at CBS is still a mystery to me. Sure, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Stalker, Madam Secretary & CSI:Cyber were safer bets and most of them found some kind of success, but Battle Creek was way more special -a dark-humored old school gritty buddy cop show-  and needed to be taken care of properly. “By the creators of Breaking Bad & Dr House, with Las Vegas’ Josh Duhamel” must have been a strong enough slogan to sell it to the masses. Instead, the network decided not to promote it much and sent it into the worst timeslot they had: sundays at 10 after very old-skewing The Good Wife. No new show could have survived this. The fact that it’s produced by Sony Pictures and not CBS Television Studios didn’t help, that’s for sure. It was not a priority. So, as much as I liked Sneaky Pete pilot script, I am more afraid than excited by what future may hold for it…

Like Battle Creek, this show imagined by David Shore & Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston doesn’t try to be all shiny and beautiful. It’s not as dark and dirty, but it’s not your smooth cop show with sexy people investigating and/or dying. Look at the cast! Giovanni Ribisi is a great actor, perfectly at ease in both drama and comedy, and no doubt a right fit for the role of Marius/Pete, but he is no Josh Duhamel, or Shemar Moore, or Jonny Lee Miller. He’s little, skinny, not cute or even charming. He looks like a red neck, as Marin Ireland, her fake cousin and partner in the show, is not your classical female lead. They could totally have played weird and incestuous brother & sister in an X-Files episode back in the days, with beloved Margo Martindale playing their creepy mother. It certainly is a departure from what CBS offers. Most of the action takes place in Connecticut, between an old farm and a sea of fields. But fortunately, towards the end, they infiltrate a charity event with rich people all around. Oh and did I tell you? It’s not a cop show! Well, not really. They investigate and have to catch bad guys, but they are not cops (but a real one, another cousin, help them from time to time).

I let grandpa Otto (Peter Gerety) explains to you what the family business is about: “When someone gets arrested, a judge sets bail. A certain amount of money that they have to post with the court to get out until trial. Most people don’t have the money. That’s where we come in. We charge a fee and put the money up for them. When they show up for trial, we get the money back and keep our fee of course.“. Grandma Audrey (Martindale) adds: “And if they don’t show up, we have to find them or we lose our money“. So Sneaky Pete will partly be about those weekly cases when they’re looking for them. The pilot’s one is kind of funny and action-packed and sets up an efficient template that could work for years. Add to that the weird chemistry between Pete and Julia. They are clearly attracted to each other but officially, they’re cousins. That’s gross. The family scenes totally work, and I’m pretty sure Martindale’s character will be dope, as always. The fact that Pete is not who he claims to be, wanted by guys whom he owes money to, helps raising the stakes of the show and making it more serialized than it seems to be at first sight. David Shore knows how to handle appealing bad guys, Bryan Cranston played one himself for years, and it shows in the script.

Sneaky Pete is the first CBS drama pilot I read this year, so it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s a front runner in the pilot race but it certainly is a keeper and an easier sell than Battle Creek was tonally. I hope CBS won’t screw it up this time, won’t be sneaky with it, and find a way to give it a not so skinny chance to succeed.

 

WATCH THE TRAILER