TV Review: ‘The Night Shift’

The Night Shift NBC TV Review

Seemingly working off a checklist of medical-show cliches — the Afghanistan vet; the number-crunching administrator; the gurneys racing down hallways; the “MASH”-like work-hard, play-harder mentality — “The Night Shift” feels aimed at those who might have found “Chicago Fire” too intellectually demanding. NBC is introducing the show amid a barrage of scripted summer fare, and stranger things have worked (especially with the more lenient requirements of the postseason), but for all the creative pulse that’s on display here, the network could just as easily have rerun a discarded series from the 1990s and labeled it “New to You.”

Just trying to describe the show can’t help but sound like quoting some generic “TV Development for Dummies” guidebook. The Afghan vet, TC Callahan (Eoin Macken), is introduced rigging an astonishing medical fix (naturally) under the equivalent of battlefield conditions, while clashing with the hospital administrator (Freddy Rodriguez), who actually talks about running the facility like a business.

Leading the good fight, meanwhile, is TC’s pal Topher (“Lost’s” Ken Leung), who nobly champions his staff as well as the rights of patients. And if that all seems relevant and timely in light of the Affordable Care Act, “Night Shift” manages to make it as moldy as the “Chicago Hope” pilot.

Set in San Antonio, and created by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, the show steadily counts out the time through the night, making clear that increasingly weird things can happen around an emergency room once darkness falls. It also has the unintended effect, for those who find all of this a trifle tedious, to have one wondering, “Geez, how much longer until the dawn?”

Not surprisingly, the producers assemble a sizable, attractive and appropriately diverse cast, albeit without giving many of them much to distinguish their characters, who — whatever the color of their scrubs — simply blend together.

Granted, there is precedent for this sort of throwback achieving some traction as summer filler (witness ABC’s Canadian import “Rookie Blue”), and NBC will give the show a helpful push from “America’s Got Talent.” That said, “The Night Shift” is still an awfully weak blip creatively speaking — the kind of ho-hum exercise that makes it tough to keep one’s eyes open until 11 p.m., much less all night long.

So while San Antonio might be famous for “Remember the Alamo,” this Lone Star series (in more ways than one) could hardly be more forgettable.

TV Review: 'The Night Shift'

(Series; NBC, Tues. May 27, 10 p.m.)


Filmed in Albuquerque by Sony Pictures Television.


Executive producers, Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah; co-executive producers, Carla Kettner, George Perkins; supervising producers, Dailyn Rodriguez, Bridget Bedard; producers, Janet Lin, Matt Partney & Corey Evett; director, Pierre Morel; writers, Sachs, Judah; camera, Lex Dupont; production designer, Charlie Lagola; editors, Michael “Bones” Buono, Terrell Clegg; music, Fred Coury; casting, Junie Lowry-Johnson, Libby Goldstein. 60 MIN.


Eoin Macken, Jill Flint, Ken Leung, Brendan Fehr, Daniella Alonso, Robert Bailey Jr., Jeananne Goosen, JR Lemon, Freddy Rodriguez

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    I honestly really liked this show. Yes the ER stuff is unrealistic, but the show is entertaining and fun to watch. It has character development and a great cast. I honestly didn’t care for TCs lack of respect for authority but feel that his character has also grown and I have come to like him much better. Obviously many viewers love this show because not only did it finish really well in its first season but it’s well into a second season. Great show, writers, n cast and I look forward to the next episode.

  2. What a load of crap! ER doctors going on ambulance runs? Then taking them to the OR and operating on them? Not to mention the playroom for the staff.\!

  3. Pto149 says:

    This is a dumb series. I don’t understand why the hospital administrator spends all his time walking around the emergency room, or how they can afford to have a full time psychiatrist whose job apparently is to walk around the hospital at night giving advice to the staff. That’s on top of the doctors routinely ignoring protocols.

  4. Your name says:

    Just finished mini-binge of 3 episodes…really liked it. All the ” critics” who are dissing it because it isn’t in a
    “reality” series need to stick to c-span for reality…lol….not every series has to be a mirror image of real life/facts.
    It’s tv for goodness sakes…get real.

    • wigglypoff says:

      It’s a ridiculous show. It’s not at all entertaining and it is filled with terrible acting. It has no comparison to anything real. Shows are supposed to tell a story; all this show does is tells lies.

  5. robertjlanz says:

    I worked in a real ER/Trauma center for 30 years and this show is like a video game compared to reality
    where to start?
    unbelievable back stories
    cliched characters
    constant unethical conduct
    they obviously don’t have a medical consultant as the errors and misrepresentations are too numerous to list
    psychiatrist in the ER-yeah sure, about as common as an ER doc in the OR

    want to see what really happen check my blog,

    guarantee that anyone who ever worked in an ER would give it 4 or 5 stars

    and my soon to be released book with the same name as this POS tv soap opera
    The Night Shift- Real Life in a Real ER

  6. Marie Mueller says:

    Entertaining enough. I could do with less Afghan referrals to the point where it almost interrupts the story. I got where they are coming from. Just a few less flash backs please.

  7. RidiculousShow says:

    I liked the pilot & thought it was going to be a good show. Sadly I was mistaken. It has become progressively worse. TC isn’t that good of an actor & his constant need to do what he wants, break the law, & have no respect for his patient’s or their relative’s wishes has grown old fast. Of course the constant disrespect of his boss is annoying as well. Hospital’s shouldn’t be run like a business, but come on! They do have to make money to stay open! This week’s episode I just fast-forwarded the army scenes since obviously that was what was going to happen. Now I’m just waiting for it to get canceled. They should’ve brought Saving Hope back instead of this!

    • wigglypoff says:

      Wow I only watched the pilot I couldn’t imagine it getting any worse than the commencement. The only thing I could imagine worse is a cameo by peewee herman(in his pee wee Herman garb) as a visiting surgeon.

  8. Fran Larson says:

    This is a really bad show! 1st off they need to get rid of the writers. They are writing stories that absolutely do not happen in any E.R. Example the Lead character TC hitting the hospital Administrator if that happened in any E.R. The E.R. Doc would be fired and probably end up in jail. Another example of bad writing – the character TC sedating the wife of one of his patients so that he could use her blood for another patient – come on….. give your viewers a break. Do you think we’re idiots? Would never happen!! There’re so many more examples of bad writing. Also your lead E.R. Doc TC. Not such a good actor. He needs replacing. Actually the show is just bad all together.

  9. Hi says:

    This show was really, really bad, but like a train wreck, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the one episode. I imagined it was a parody of hospital shows produced by The Onion.

  10. Sandra says:

    As an ER/Trauma nurse, I am insulted by the lack of ethics, competency, skill, and protocol. Whoever your constant is needs to be fired. If this is just a patch job for the summer, reruns of ER would have been a better choice. I now look forward to some of our public coming to the ERs I work in and expect this. Thanks but no thanks!

    • Sandra says:

      Constant, I meant consultant.

      • Pat says:

        Totally agree, if they did half the practices in a real hospital they be sued and shut down….omg knocking a person out to steal blood….. Now cutting off and ignoring do not resuscitate band total crap

  11. whatsup says:

    So your either Irish or American , Italian or American ,African or American and so on. Also remember that people from South America are American.

    • wigglypoff says:

      Btw I’m not Irish American any more than I am a American-Mexican when in Mexico. People who are actually from Mexico refer to themselves as Mexicans because they are proud of this fact. I am proud to be an American which is why I don’t refer to myself as a Irish-American nor does my wife refer to herself as a chinese-American. Do African Americans have duel citizenships or Mexican Americans if not than they should refer to themselves as where their citizenship is. And just because Mexico is in South America doesn’t change this fact it becomes redundant to say I’m Mexican American because I’m from Mexico, why is their a Mexico in Russia? Which would make you a Mexican Russian? It’s really dumb.

    • wigglypoff says:

      I’m actually American of Irish descent. When I go to Mexico they don’t say that I’m American Mexican; they say oh your an American. In the common language even though South America is a America as well they refer to themselves as Mexicans in Mexico and they refer to individuals from the USA as Americans so your point comes from an ignorant point of view(btw, that just simply means you don’t know something. What makes you a moron is the fact that you try to act like you do know something).

  12. ldean says:

    I just watched tonight’s episode and I kept asking myself, “why is this so bad?” is it the writing? the acting (very over the top), or all the clichés? I wanted to like it; but, it is unbelievably bad… and I still can’t say why. They don’t talk to each other – everyone hollers – very over the top even just the hellos in the hallway.

  13. whatsup says:

    what happened to all the Mexican Americans that aren,t in the show

  14. rusty gerson says:

    I just watched the pilot which I had recorded, and I thought it was wonderful! I enjoyed every moment, and hope the show will continue. It is well done in every respect. Please keep it coming!

  15. Connie Lee says:

    I just watched the episode & I thought it was great!! Perfect for the summer when all other series have stopped….I like the link to military services, Texas sun, and good characters…..Lighten up critics. Everything new doesn’t have to be over the top Publizter Prize winning,.

    • wigglypoff says:

      Because it’s just terrible. Terrible acting, crazy predictable characters. It’s easy to get into the writers mind on this one. Can’t wait to predict what happens next; never mind I won’t waste my time.

  16. wigglypoff says:

    What I want to know is why is it that everyone that posted prior to the show even airing like the show, but everyone who posted after the show aired hated it? My thinking is: all the early posters liked it because they either work for the show or some other conflict impeding their ability to see this show for what it is: pure garbage.

  17. So so bad. Gone in 60 seconds for sure. I would be surprised if it makes it past 4 episodes. But it is summer season so they may let it run out the episodes. But this is really bad.

  18. D. A. Wright says:

    So incredibly bad – as an ER nurse in San Antonio, couldn’t believe how off the wall and so far from reality this show was and how the docs and nurses were portrayed. Who writes this crap?

  19. Herb Barnes says:

    Couldn’t finish watching this terrible show. We have seen the storylines before in every other medical show, I find it amazing that an employee (even though he’s a doctor) doesn’t have to follow the rules of the organization, can beat up his boss, and still not get fired. Amazing! TERRIBLE,TERRIBLE,TERRIBLE>

  20. mmooney says:

    This show was awful! I assume the lead actor was English – his American accent was unbearable – and what a jerk – the worst stereotypes! who writes this stuff?

  21. wigglypoff says:

    I’m not looking for a show that is totally realistic, some entertainment value is needed. I nice mix of reality and something with a television feel is nice. This is just way too off to be entertaining for anyone inside the medical profession. I liked mash, house, ER, grays, and trapper john, house calls was pretty good too. This show is just ridiculous, I’m rooting for this show to be better, you still have time to improve it(um maybe). First you have to fire the I want to be mr potter(from its a wonderful life) like administrator who is just dumb, also, get rid of your hero and replace him with someone who is calm in the face of drama not a belligerent idiot.

  22. wigglypoff says:

    Sorry to disagree with most of the posters but as someone who has worked in hospitals for over 20 years I find this so called hospital series one that doesn’t resemble a hospital at all. This propaganda piece is just that. This is the worst hospital show since Chicago hope. It is less realistic than scrubs. A doctor that punches an administrator would not only be fired but jailed. The administrator would not get into shouting matches, he’d simply fire him with a hr representative present. People don’t get turned away from an ED because of lack of insurance (that’s illegal and has been since the 70’s). The supposed hero of the show is a complete moron, they totally miss with their attempt to display him with a rough and tumble dark anti hero(grays did a decent job with hunt) he comes off as angry, belligerent, and way too moody to be a good dr. (Drs do exist like this but none of them are considered good physicians, they are made fun of when they walk away). Also, drs would not go to the scene of an accident; the well trained emt and paramedics would be there and would do the best job. This show is a complete bust. It seems like the same ppl that wrote Obama care wrote this episode; because their knowledge of health care is the same as a mentally handicapped laymen.

    • Denise B. says:

      Legalities aside, no surgeon I ever worked with would get into a fistfight. One badly broken bone could end their careers. I did meet up with a few temperamental ones that would throw objects, but every last one of them got disciplined for that crap.

    • CCRN NYC. says:

      Anyone who holds a license would have it revoked for hitting someone on or off the job.

      • wigglypoff says:

        I actually alluded to this in another comment I posted. I was speaking of his other attributes in this post, but a dr who is given to violent outbursts would first find themselves unemployed, then in jail, and finally without a license. The order of this may change, but the results would be the same.

      • wigglypoff says:

        Absolutely correct. He would not be practicing medicine(legally) any more.

  23. wigglypoff says:

    Really wanted to like this show, it was just so bad that I couldn’t. Really so much of a bust. I was very disappointed.

  24. Laura says:

    this is the WORST SHOW EVER! I would let the “Dr’s” from the show Scrubs help me before any of these idiots!

  25. Jason says:

    I was skeptical coming into this show but wanted to give it a fair chance mainly because of Jill Flint. I loved her on Royal Pains and hoped she would hit a Home Run with The Night Shift. Oh boy, did she. The pilot episode was great. The group of characters making up this Night Shift crew is very promising. The combination of their loyalty to each other and their patients well being, plus the antics and cool employee lounge is a recipe for a fun and entertaining show with a good mix of drama. I hope this show gets ample time by the Network to build a fan base. I’m looking forward to the next episode. Good luck to the Night Shift

    • tackandcover says:

      Sorry Jason but I must disagree. I watched the first episode solely because of Jill Flint. My 2nd favorite female on TV (Stant Katic is in 1sr place by miles). Really disliked the first episode. Tuned in again tonight just to see if the program was any better. It wasn;t but Jil Flint is still a really great looking woman

  26. Keiran says:

    Loved it! Dramatic and funny! Looking forward to seeing the characters develop, especially TC. Have never seen the actor before but think he may prove to be very talented (not to mention HOT)!

    • wigglypoff says:

      What I find interesting is that you posted prior to the show airing. The first thing that made me skeptical of your response is how you said it was funny(where, when was it funny). Your over the top I loved it is a ridiculous response to this terrible show. I think you work for the PR department for this show. If your shallow response to you think the idiotic character played by the lead actor being “hot” is your reason for watching then just say it was terrible, but I thought the hero was hot(even flint can’t save this show who is actually hot).

      • Denise B. says:

        If you want to see some tremendous social media spin, check out the show’s Facebook page. Apparently the Emperor’s new clothes are the BEST EVER!!! Too bad they didn’t spend more money on writers and technical advisors than they have on their internet trolls.

  27. Danika says:

    Great show, can’t wait for future episodes

  28. hugh says:

    I am HOOKED!!! I cried – laughed – and sat on the edge of my chair with my mouth wide open… forgetting to breath!!! The “BEST” show ever…

    • wigglypoff says:

      Your post is at the very least odd. It was also posted prior tote show airing. Given some of your attributes you cited I conclude that you are an emotional rec and quite possibly retarded.

    • disneyworld says:

      I hope you know that’s not what happens in a real hospital. Drs don’t yell in surgery the stay calm and collective, you can’t solve anything with yelling and screaming at everyone.

      • Denise B. says:

        That’s not entirely true. There’s a lot of BS in this show, but as a circulating RN, I worked with plenty of temperamental surgeons who would act like two year olds on occasion in the OR. However, they are all paranoid when it comes to the safety of their hands. Only on tv do surgeons engage in fist fights. Real ones throw objects. And get disciplined for it.

  29. Terry Brown says:

    Just watched first episode terrible show, bad acting and cheesy story lines. I work in the medical field and this show is an insult.

  30. Leslie Banks says:

    I liked it.

  31. Steve Kerr says:

    I agree. Just watched the pilot. First scene reminded me of the opening for trapper John md. Then the whole tit for tat sideline was straight from a mash episode and a undeveloped twin from a house episode. Canvas tent at the end was the last straw. Was ok viewing but I hope they aren’t just throwing all the classic medical shows into a hat a writing around whatever they pull out.

  32. F S N says:

    Reblogged this on Global News Now.

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