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The Night Shift - Pilot - Advance Preview

As a night shift worker and a massive Grey’s Anatomy fan, I was intrigued to see how NBC’s new show “The Night Shift” would compare. Read on for a brief overview of the show, or skip to my thoughts about how it all comes together below.

The Night Shift is a new medical drama featuring the lives and trials of the doctors who work nights at San Antonio Memorial Hospital. In a time of economic crisis the shift is now being managed by Michael Ragosa, the antagonist of the show here to get in everybody’s way by being a ball-buster more interested in saving money than treating patients. Played by Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, Ugly Betty) the character is portrayed reasonably well, but unfortunately not in a particularly redeeming love-to-hate him way.

Butting heads with Ragosa is the shows main male protagonist and ‘hero’ TC Callahan, a war veteran who has just joined the hospital and has little regard for the rules. It is amusing that they cast Eoin Macken, an actor who is reasonably similar in looks to Patrick Dempsey (who plays male protagonist Dr Shephard in Grey’s Anatomy). The casting was probably due to his acting chops, but I imagine it was also a move to attract some Grey’s fans to come and check out this new show.

Our lead female protagonist is Jordan Alexander (played by Jill Flint), a sort of ‘go-between’ character who tries to keep the peace between Ragosa and Callahan. She joins the night shift coming off of working days and is made interim chief so that she can help the night team increase its efficiency. She has the difficult job of balancing friendships with the staff (particularly TC) and helping Ragosa to make the department more cost-effective.

Amongst the other supporting cast (who arguably make more of a lasting impression than those mentioned above) are long term night shift worker Topher (played by Lost’s Ken Leung), second year with-a-secret Drew (Brendan Fehr), new interns Krista and Paul (Jeananne Goossen and Robert Bailey Jr., respectively) and a too-frightened-to-do-anything, recently-widowed doctor Althea (Brigid Brannagh).

Unfortunately, The Night Shift does little to particularly hook the audience and comes out something of a jumbled, overly cliched mess. The storylines have been done repeatedly before in other shows, the medical cases don’t flow cohesively with the rest of the show and there are very few characters who particularly stand out. The probable romance between Callahan and Jordan also seems fairly predictable, unless they flesh their history out a bit more.

None of the leads are particularly likeable, and the friction between Ragosa and Callahan feels overplayed and borders on ridiculous when blows are exchanged. The real gems of the cast are the supporting characters; intern Paul is a good source of comedic relief, Leung’s Topher manages to redeem some sloppy writing with strong acting, and there is potential for a decent storyline with Drew’s secret which is revealed at the end of the pilot and Althea’s struggle to get back into medicine.

This show holds some promise if the writing is tightened up and the medical cases are brought into the show more coherently as opposed to being a good excuse for a bit of gore or light humour. As it stands I would not particularly recommend the show if you’ve got too much to watch already, but if you are willing to wait a few episodes to see if there is any improvement and you enjoy medical dramas then you may just enjoy this.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below and I can try to answer any questions.
Joshua Joshua first got involved with SpoilerTV during the days of Lost and the online "Find 815" ARG, and has since been actively involved in the community as a forum moderator and episode reviewer for the main site. His favourite shows are Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Chuck and Game of Thrones, but he often has around 15-20 different shows on the go.

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