Tag: the good doctor

In The Dark (The CW) pilot preview: Blind Veronica Mars

Written and executive produced by Corinne Kingsbury (The Newsroom, Back in the Game). Also produced by Ben Stiller (Zoolander, Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Jackie Cohn (Another Period) & Nicky Weinstock. Directed by Michael Showalter (The Big Sick, Love, Search Party, Wet Hot American Summer). For The CW, CBS Television Studios & Red Hour Films. 59 pages. Draft 1/22/18.

Description: Murphy, a flawed and irreverent young woman who just happens to be blind, is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing best friend. When the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at Breaking Blind- the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents… 

With Perry Mattfeld (Shameless US), Austin Nichols (One Tree Hill, The Walking Dead, Bates Motel, Ray Donovan), Brooke Markham (Cassandra French’s Finishing School), Keston John (Blood & Oil), Derek Webster (Damages, Harry’s Law, NCIS New Orleans), Kathleen York (The Client List, Desperate Housewives, The West Wing)…

 

  

You’ll like if you already like: Veronica Mars, iZombie, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye

Likely timeslot: wherever there’s a slot available, it doesn’t matter much anyway

 

This is a **rolling my eyes** logline, probably the “best” one since… Jane The Virgin! Yes, never forget that before becoming a critical darling, the Gina Rodriguez-led show was considered as the dumbest thing ever based on the pitch during pilot season. Maybe In The Dark will follow the same path… I see you laughing! I’m batshit serious. The thing is, it’s a good script. Not a great one, a good one. And this alone is a good sign. Starting from where it starts, I mean… Plus, it’s coming at a time when one of the biggest hit of the past few years is about an autistic doctor. You know where I’m going. Not saying here that In The Dark will become as huge as The Good Doctor but it makes sense for The CW to try something like that, centered on a blind detective. She’s not exactly a detective, to be honest. But she’s about to become one of some sort. And a beautiful mess. Enough to shake a little bit the detective genre’s tired formula? Also, it comes from Ben Stiller as an executice producer and one of the hottest indie director out there right now Michael Showalter: other positive signs going for it.

How did they come with such an idea, you ask. There’s a story! It originated from the network and its social good program, CW Good, which last year began partnering with the Guide Dogs of America organization to sponsor litters of puppies to be trained as guide dogs. That’s when they thought of a series involving a guide-dog program. So writer Corinne Kingsbury was asked to write a script and tadaaa! Again, it’s a good one and the pilot order makes total sense. The only real problem I see, it’s that it should have been a procedural with a serialized arc to ensure it some longevity. It’s not something I write a lot. It’s probably the first time I’m writing this in fact. But I can’t see where the show will go once the ongoing mystery about the heroine’s best friend is solved. I mean, I know what they will do: start a new one. But remember when Veronica Mars did that… It struggled a lot and it was cancelled after three years. The situation was a bit different since the show was part-procedural too but I see it as an advantage In The Dark doesn’t even have from the start. By the way, I didn’t choose Veronica Mars as an example by chance. A few things reminded me of the Rob Thomas show. It’s even suspicious he’s not involved in this! The story of course, but also the heroine, though she’s way more trashy, and the overall tone that could be described as very witty and cynical, just like Murphy is. And I mean all this as a good thing. It’s a great show to be compared to, isn’t it?

So Murphy. Gosh, I love her already. She’s a disaffected, hard-drinking, promiscuous mess who pushes away anyone who cares for her. Or in other terms: she’s a cold alcoholic bitch bitter than liquor. We don’t meet so many characters like her, especially on The CW. And when it happens, it’s rarely the central one. I can think of a few, but it’s quite daring. Risky also. But I’m not gonna lie: towards the end of the pilot, she becomes self-aware and decides to change a few things in her behavior. It doesn’t mean it will be easy but she promises to try, for herself and for those around her. It might become a feel-good show after all! Anyway. She’s not easy to like but she’s too funny to hate. I’m very curious to see Perry Mattfield’s performance. I don’t know her, she gratuated from acting school just two years ago but she sounds like the new CW discovery everybody will be raving about, like Gina Rodriguez & Rachel Bloom before.

She’s not the only funny character. They all are, especially her parents. And the bond between the three of them, even though it’s damaged at the time, is quite strong and emotional. Some scenes could make us cry! All the people around her love her so much that it’s heart-warming to witness. The same way as The Good Doctor. Oh and for those wondering, the dog is not that important in the pilot, but it adds a little flavour to it and it certainly doesn’t hurt at all. With the mystery comes a cop, of course. He’s called Dean and he has a daughter who happens to be blind too. How convenient! It’s phony, it’s true, but somehow they make it work. Of course, it opens up the possiblity of a love story between Murphy and Dean. Well… It’s almost inevitable, I guess. The mystery helps sending a message about racism, showing the police doesn’t care about black victims, especially when they come from a poor neighborhood. Can’t say it’s dealt with subtlety but at least there’s dignity and a substantive issue behind the fun entertainment that this pilot is.

A blind girl and her guide dog. This is, like, the worst crime solving team EVER“, says Murphy’s roommate Jess at some point. And she’s right! And that’s why In The Dark is an intriguing show in the making, that could surprise and quickly become a tasty pleasure if The CW gives it a chance. I wouldn’t watch it blindly, but it may be worth opening our eyes to it. It has a lot of heart behind a layer of riveting cynicism.

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.