Find Out Just How Hard It Is for the Chicago Med Cast to Say “Pharmaceutical …

18 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Chicago Med’: TV Review.

You can’t really fault NBC and Dick Wolf for cranking out another Chicago product (after Fire and P.D.). First, there was Chicago Fire’s season two crossover with Chicago P.D. that introduced The Good Wife’s Dylan Baker and The Mentalist alum Amanda Righetti as two doctors on the scene saving lives in the wake of a deadly hospital bombing.This new medical drama comes from producer Dick Wolf (the “Law & Order” franchise) and is a companion series to the network’s “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Fire.” It follows the staff at a trauma center in the Windy City, and the cast includes Oliver Platt (“The Big C”), S.The longest-running medical dramas of the last 20 years — “ER” and “Grey’s Anatomy” — set the bar in different ways for all contemporary doctor shows: high-tech, testosterone-driven plots with hunky docs (George Clooney, Patrick Dempsey) and relationship-driven melodrama. “Chicago Med,” the third Windy City-based NBC drama from franchise wizard Dick Wolf (“Law & Order”), has one of these elements — the handsome lead. Then, the powers that be on Fire returned to Chicago Medical in April for a backdoor pilot that swamped in a whole new group of faces, namely Law & Order veteran S.

Instead, what we’re left with is an aged spinoff and the stultifying mediocrity of Wolf’s new Chicago franchise, which now distends to give us Chicago Med (Tuesday, 9 p.m. He’s Colin Donnell, who plays Scotty Lockhart on Showtime’s “The Affair.” Here he anchors what is a familiar, by-the-numbers procedural, where grave medical conditions bring out the best in people — and the emergency room pandemonium rolls off everyone’s back. Epatha Merkerson, theater actor Oliver Platt and Walking Dead vet Laurie Holden, as doctors working to stop a madman carrying a deadly airborne disease.

Now, seven months later, Chicago Med finally premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC with even more changes on-screen and off, including new showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov. “The first episode is really more of a pilot,” Schneider tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s really shines a light on this hospital which is a new hospital, a new ER and all these characters, most of whom we’ve never seen before.” The duo spoke with THR about the various behind-the-scenes alterations and what viewers can expect from the latest installment in the growing Windy City franchise. Tuesday, Nov. 17, on NBC. “The Muppets,” 8 p.m. (ABC): Chelsea Handler makes things interesting for Scooter when he books her; a double date reveals that Becky may have a suspicious past. “The Flash,” 8 p.m. (The CW): Barry races to rescue Caitlin when Grodd kidnaps her; Cisco plans a date with the new barista at Jitters; Patty thinks Barry is hiding something. “American Experience,” 9 p.m. (KCTS): “American Comandante” — U.S. citizen William Morgan rises to power in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution. “Scream Queens,” 9 p.m. (Fox): Denise tells a terrifying ghost story; Hester’s announcement pushes Chanel to the brink; a familiar face returns; the killer claims another victim. “Limitless,” 10 p.m. (CBS): In exchange for his personal headquarters at the agency, Brian offers to catch the FBI’s 10 most wanted criminals in two weeks; a rift grows between Brian and his father. It’s like everybody involved sighed deeply at the prospect of yet another hospital drama and then shuffled slowly to the set, where they were given a script pasted together with lines from hundreds of other hospital dramas and then filmed the whole thing while all involved kept one eye on the clock.

After the original backdoor pilot, which was written by executive producers Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, CSI vet Andrew Dettmann came on board the series in June as showrunner. It’s one thing to come out of the gates and try (and fail) to be aggressively exciting – hello, Code Black – but to offer up such a tired copy of countless tired copies before it is alarmingly like announcing the death of the genre going forward (we can only hope – though future series creators will look at Chicago Med and think, “We can do better than that in our sleep.”) Ah, sleep. However, he abruptly parted ways in August a week after helping present the show to the press at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. And of course, everything goes horribly awry. “Chicago Med” (9 p.m., NBC): Producer Dick Wolf’s Windy City drama franchise spawns a third show tonight. Merkerson’s character has the first words in the show, as she opens Chicago’s newest emergency room and introduces the city’s real-life mayor, Rahm Emanuel (who might want to consider reducing his cameo count).

After appearing in the backdoor pilot, Holden announced her exit in August due to “family reasons.” The show also added several new series regulars (Colin Donnell, Torrey DeVitto, Brian Tee and Rachel DiPillo) over the summer. “Really finding the characters, giving them backstories and voices, points of view – we had to know that before we could write anything,” Frolov says. “In scenes, you always want conflict so you want different points of view so giving people different backgrounds … that was a way in which we developed it.” Further complicating matters were the characters that had already appeared in multiple episodes of Fire (Yaya DaCosta) or P.D. (Nick Gehlfuss). “We did clear some things with Matt and Derek and Michael just to make sure we weren’t doing something that wouldn’t track with what had been done earlier,” Schneider says. The two say they also looked back at audition tapes and talked with the actors to flesh out the characters. “The character of Will, he was established, but again, he didn’t have the background that he has now so he’s different. At this point, some of you may be saying, “Wait, didn’t ER, another NBC medical show set in Chicago, build a big episode around a train derailment?” Why yes, as a matter of fact, it did. Do you get a dull pain when you see storylines revolving around the cocky new doctor, the deer-in-the-headlights medical student, the hospital lawyer who actually says, “So much easier to run a hospital without doctors”? Does your head lull forward when sassy nurses talk or a jaded older doctor walks in the room or a patient thought totally fine suddenly has a seizure or otherwise falls into a life and death moment?

Its just a completely different group of people.” Also unlike the less lucky casts of Chicago Fire and P.D., both of whom have had to endure outdoor shoots during the rough Chicago winters, Med “takes place pretty much exclusively inside the hospital,” Schneider says. If you’re looking for bright spots then there’s Colin Donnell as a trauma surgeon who will give you Jon Hamm feels and who pretty much single handedly stops the narcoleptic stupor from coming on. Instead, each episode will contain three or four storylines centered on medical mysteries far more complex with “social or political or financial implications,” Schneider says. “Medicine is constantly evolving and the cost of medicine and paying for medicine is constantly evolving so those are issues that we deal with. Epatha Merkerson and Oliver Platt being underserved as a hospital administrator and psychiatrist respectively – though it probably doesn’t help that both have roles where they are required to feel beaten down to some extent, which translates to the screen as tired, which completely fits the motif here.

Biomedicine is raising ethical issues, and the ability of doctors to keep people alive or to resuscitate them when they’re dying – those cases make you ask questions.” Adds Frolov: “You want the case to have a story to it. The rest of the cast is peppered with multicultural young actors, from Yaya DaCosta (who played Whitney Houston in Lifetime’s biopic) to hunky Brian Tee.

It has to have twists and turns and surprises.” The writers say they’ve even learned a few things while working on episodes, thanks in no small part to the show’s team of researchers and technical advisors. “Ultimately every episode there’s something about the practice of medicine that people will say, ‘Gee, I didn’t know that,'” Schneider says. The only glimmer of romance among all these beautiful people comes when Rhodes tries to humor a fourth-year medical student (Rachel De Pillo) after she fails to find a vein. In addition to teaching viewers new things about medicine, the cases will, naturally, teach fans new things about the characters. “There are also personal stories that are developing throughout the season,” Schneider explains. “When we’re weaving the stories, we’re weaving it through a personal story with one of the characters,” Frolov says. “Those medical stories are bringing forth emotions and history about our characters too. As for the dialogue, let’s just say that by the time a panicking mother is told “The best thing you can do right now is …” odds are you’ll be able to fill in “just be there for your daughter” before the show does. Medical shows, to be fair, are one of TV’s oldest formats, and series that bring something new to them, such as ER and Grey’s Anatomy, are understandably few and far between.

By the midway point of the pilot (which, by the way, features a derailed train from an elevated platform, causing mass trauma and peopling the fictional hospital with bad acting), I began hoping that the boredom in front of me was just a set-up for the second half of the show, where an entirely new hospital would arrive, put Chicago Med on ventilated life support and infuse the whole show with takeover energy. But my goodness, could we not have one line, character or twist that doesn’t feel reused, or one story that doesn’t end up precisely where we think it will? Instead, that person you thought might die actually died; the lost cause rallied back to life; that poor kid needing the transplant got it in the waning minutes and everyone wore their feelings on their faces as the camera predictably cut to them and the predictable music played everybody home — to bed, I assume.

In the end, what you’re getting from Med is TV at its least demanding and most dispensable: It’s not awful, but that’s only because no one involved is expending the energy needed to reach the ranks of the truly terrible.

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