Plunk four pretty nursing students, from widely divergent backgrounds, into a teaching setting staffed by hunky doctors, and you have the latest series built around roommates, Aaron Spelling’s “University Hospital.”
The exception to this elevation, of course, occurs when the professional women-in-training hit the local club scene. Surveying the crowd, the most man-hungry of the nurses (Hudson Leick, with the aggressively arching eyebrows) asks, “Can you smell it?””What?” another bites. “The hormones,” grins Leick.
True to the show’s varied dramatic tones, one nurse has a lusty (off-camera) roll in the sack, while another has a frightening near-rape by a charming doctor (Paul Satterfield), who gets sex by threatening student nurses with the ends of their young careers.
As for the trainees in a Pacific Northwest hospital, two are blondes with secret pasts: Hillary Danner’s sweet, determined Jamie and Leick’s tough, manipulative Tracy.
Then there’s brunette Alexandra Wilson’s totally serious student, with nursing in her blood. And, of course, auburn-haired Rebecca Cross’s endearing, wide-eyed lamb from the sticks, who’s a touch dazed as roommate Tracy unrolls a pack of condoms.
On their own for the first time, competing with one another, juggling their jobs and their personal lives, the quartet chafes under a no-nonsense supervising R.N., played by overly arch Tonya Pinkins, the Tony-winning siren from “Jelly’s Last Jam,” whose smugness here is a bit much.
However, Pinkins enjoys far and away the funniest scene: startling a classroom of submissive students by screening a vintage black-and-white educational nursing film and then upbraiding it for its pure nursing propaganda.
Show was directed by James L. Conway, who, with co-exec producer Joel J. Feigenbaum, created and wrote the premiere. This is a Spelling series that has the opportunity to actually say something once those hormones are out of the way.