Saving Hope is a Keeper

PlayItGrand June 14, 2012 No Comments »

NBC’s new medical drama Saving Hope has a lot going for it. A great cast, each of whom have their own fan following, an interesting twist on the standard medical drama plot, and a whole lot of potential in the heart-filled stories they can tell.

According to a media release reprinted by Canada’s TV, eh?, the pilot episode had some pretty fantastic numbers.

Just what the doctor ordered! The series premiere of CTV’s new original series SAVING HOPE debuted #1 last night with 1.52 million viewers on CTV. The series now ranks as the highest rated series premiere for an original Canadian series for the 2011/2012 season* and is the highest premiere of any summer series this season, U.S. or Canadian. SAVING HOPE also finished #1 last night with A18-34, A18-49 and the key female demos nationally and ranked #1 in key market of Toronto with 2+, A18-49 and A25-54.

Saving Hope has the benefit of having cast members that fans are willing and happy to follow from one project to another. Erica Durance is well known for her role in the hit series Smallville, Michael Shanks is from the much loved Stargate franchise, and Daniel Gillies is known for his part in The Vampire Diaries. In short each actor has a sci-fi or fantasy background, and we all know that sci-fi fans are as loyal as they come. When we love something, we aren’t afraid to shout it out, and we are fierce in our devotion to the shows and stars we love. The fans that have followed these three actors to Saving Hope have no doubt helped influence these record breaking premier ratings.

To be perfectly honest, I would not have tuned in to this show if it wasn’t for the participation of my favorite leading man, Michael Shanks. Medical dramas have never had any draw for me, unless you count Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. The need to support Michael and have him back on my TV once a week was well worth the compromise. He is definitely perfect for the role. They could not have chosen a better voice to narrate, or a better man to be stuck in a tux for the duration. That said, now that I’ve seen what this particular medical drama is like, I think it is a good show regardless of Michael’s participation. It has a lot of potential to tell some truly inspiring stories. Stories about people whose job it is to give people hope, even when they have none themselves.

Thus far the characters are engaging. Of course I already have my favorite. Chief Surgeon Charlie Harris is brilliant. I had a MacGyver moment when Charlie used a plastic tampon applicator to correct a woman’s collapsed lung! Come on, how awesome is that? I only wish we had gotten to see him in action for a longer period of time before he slipped into a coma. Hopefully flashbacks are in our future. As a disembodied entity roaming the hospital, observing the goings on and bumping into patients that have died, Charlie is perfect. He didn’t really panic when he realized what was happening to him. There was some shouting, trying to be heard, but otherwise Charlie seems to be on a pretty even keel. I enjoy listening to his point of view and his wry sense of humor. I even have a favorite line from Charlie: “I’m having an out of body experience in a tuxedo.” We’ll see how long this calm attitude lasts as events progress.

Charlie’s fiancee Doctor Alex Reid (Erica Durance), on the other hand, could easily be called an emotional wreck after the accident, and I don’t think anyone can blame her. One minute she is on her way to her wedding, and the next she’s taking her unconscious fiance back to the hospital. Once there and everything possible was done to help Charlie, she could have refused to leave his side. Instead I was surprised how well she pulled herself together because she knows there’s nothing more she can do for Charlie. She went back to work to help a preganant young woman deliver her premature baby. I sympathize with Alex and I admire her. It’s easy to see that a good portion of the show will rest on her as she tries to save her own hope and her fiance.

It is unclear to me exactly where Doctor Joel Goran (Daniel Gillies) fits in at the moment. He and Alex seem to have history, but she would prefer that he just leave her alone.  He takes on Charlie’s patients and then refuses to go ahead with the decisions that Charlie had made for their treatment. He tries to be supportive to Alex and ends up starting an argument. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy at all, but he does come across as a bit arrogant and it looks like his character is designed to make rapids out of relatively calm waters.

There was only one thing I did not like about this show so far. I found the very JJ Abrams-style lens flares to be very distracting. It’s one thing when they are in the background. I don’t like it, but I can learn to live with it. What I can’t stand is when the lens flare is in the foreground, like flashing over someone’s face in blue. They are everywhere all the time. I don’t know about you, and maybe it’s an architectural difference between hospitals in the US versus Canadian hospitals (the show is filmed in Toronto) but I have never seen a hospital that has that much bright light everywhere. I suppose it could be meant to symbolize hope, with the whole light versus darkness motif, but it’s still going to get very old very fast.

I am very glad that I tuned in to Saving Hope. Not only do I get to watch my favorite actor on a weekly basis again, a treat that I have sorely missed for the past five years, but I get to watch a show that has a lot of heart put into it. Now we just have to wait and see if the pilot episode’s ratings will hold and if the show has the staying power to become a true success. Personally I see a good chance for it. Just don’t kill Charlie, ok guys? Thanks!

So far I give Saving Hope a four SpaceGypsy Wagons!

Make sure you tune in to this Thursday’s episode, ‘Contact’ at 9/8c on NBC!

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