Last night, I watched “Saving Hope” on NBC which starred several relatively good television actors like Michael Shanks, who I loved in his roles Stargate roles as Dr. Daniel Jackson on “Stargate SG-1,” “Stagate Atlantis,” and “Stargate Universe” as well as his short-lived role as Hawkman on Smallville with co-star of “Saving Hope,” Erica Durance who plays his fiance Dr. Alex Reid, there seems to be no hope to the survival of “Saving Hope.”
It might be that Shanks has been typecast as Dr. Daniel Jackson, but his performance as Dr. Charlie Harris last night in “Saving Hope” left a lot to be desired with a shallow characterization and a “go nowhere except to the grave of badly written scripts” performance which was so trite you could almost see every line and scene unfolding as if in slow motion! Even the way he was put in to a coma was less that theatrical and verged on the almost comical…I mean, really? He gets in a car accident where both he and Durance get up, walk away, and proceed to assist another victim involved and then he suddenly succumbs to a head injury evidenced by only a small gash on his forehead which turns in to a severe brain injury and immediately after saving the woman with the collapsed lung from suffocating, falls in to a coma? If I remember right, it was his fiance, Dr. Alex Reid, who was sitting backwards looking at him as the car was hit, without any kind of restraint, yet she is fine and did not getkilled or, at the very least, suffer the head trauma he supposedly did?
In addition to the poorly written scripts which someone in a beginning playwright class could have come up with, the characters of this usually more in depth trio is, well quite frankly, demeaning! Erica Durance, who played the role of Lois Lane in Smallville brought a funny, edgy twist to the normally “mousey” journalist and became one of the sustaining characters in the much beloved television version of Superman. She allowed Lois’ personification of journalism to grow and step outside the box as the writer took Smallville on many a supernatural journey, but last night on “Saving Hope,” she was relegated to a (more or less) one dimension physician who hardly fits the role as the “go to surgeon” in charge. Props must be given to her, however, when she finally gets some teeth in to the role toward the end of the pilot when she talks to Charlie as he lies on the bed comatose about the fact he is her “go to guy.”
Finally, Daniel Gillies who plays Elijah on the Vampire Diaries plays the role of newcomer surgeon Joel Goran who must step in and take over all of Dr. Charlie Harris’ cases following the accident including one where an Iraqi veteran wants to have his arm completely amputated due to survivor’s guilt when, in actuality, there is hope of saving it with a modified surgery and chemotherapy. Although there are times in the pilot where it seems this character will bust out in to the normally controlling figure audiences see on the Vampire Diaries, they are left with a sniveling shell of a man as he faces Durance which might be a case to make her appear either the stronger character or or simply the one in charge. Whatever the reason, the chemistry is horrendous!
In the words of the good doctor at the beginning of the pilot, “…there is only hope,” the audience (including myself) was left with only a small glimmer of it at the end of this premiere episode. It kind of fell in line with the feelings of the team attending to Harris at Zion Hope Hospital – only by the grace of the heavens (and far better scripting) will this medical drama not remain comatose!