×

In a Heartbeat

Disney's original high school drama series "In a Heartbeat" has characters every bit as appealing as anything you'd find on the WB, only a heck of a lot smarter. Focusing on the lives of young emergency medical technicians (EMTs), show combines the teen angst of "Dawson's Creek" with the high voltage drama of "ER." Although the concept of teenage EMTs sounds like some kind of "Doogie Howser" ripoff, the series, created by Emmy winner Patricia Green, is based on the lives of real volunteer EMT squads who divide their time between high school and work.

With:
Tyler Connell - Shawn Ashmore Val Lanier - Reagan Pasternak Hank Beecham - Danso Gordon Jamie Waite - Christopher Ralph Caitie Roth - Jackie Rosenbaum Brooke Lanier - Lauren Collins

Disney’s original high school drama series “In a Heartbeat” has characters every bit as appealing as anything you’d find on the WB, only a heck of a lot smarter. Focusing on the lives of young emergency medical technicians (EMTs), show combines the teen angst of “Dawson’s Creek” with the high voltage drama of “ER.” Although the concept of teenage EMTs sounds like some kind of “Doogie Howser” ripoff, the series, created by Emmy winner Patricia Green, is based on the lives of real volunteer EMT squads who divide their time between high school and work.

It’s a premise rich with possibilities, and the one-hour pilot of this half-hour series takes great advantage of the dramatic potential. Empowering these characters with responsibilities beyond anything seen in most teen shows is the obvious hook, but what makes the whole thing work is that these kids navigate adult territory still hampered by the wonder and insecurities of youth.

You won’t find any of the ridiculous hyperbole of Dawson Leery and his pals in Green’s script. You will find diverse characters who face their own believable hardships. Hank (Danso Gordon), the eldest and most responsible member of the squad, fights to get out of the shadow of his successful surgeon father.

The affable Tyler (Shawn Ashmore) is popular and capable, but oftentimes his demeanor is a defense to mask a difficult home life. Val (Reagan Pasternak) hopes to become a doctor someday, but her dedication is put to the test when her dad has a heart attack.

Jamie (Christopher Ralph) has been ordered by a judge to perform community service and is a reluctant member of the squad, but he realizes that this may be his last shot at staying out of trouble. Rounding out the cast is Val’s little sister Brooke (Lauren Collins) and Val’s on-again, off-again friend Caitie (Jackie Rosenbaum).

“In a Heartbeat” is edgier than most Disney Channel fare, which still leaves it on the tame side of the average TV show. Both Ashmore and Pasternak as the lovestruck Tyler and Val are pixie cute and perky, as if plucked from the Mickey Mouse Club. Luckily, their characters have been given some interesting back-stories designed to flesh out their parts. Gordon as the team leader and perfectionist bears the most emotional responsibility in the pilot, and proves the most capable of handling the load.

Production quality lives up to the pristine Disney brand, with director Shawn Levy working in tandem with editor Michael Todd to create a slick and action-packed show. Although not as immediately radio friendly as anything on the WB, Don Proulx’s music selection is a nice fit, incorporating tunes from the Moffats, Belle Perez and Sinead Lohan.

In a Heartbeat

Disney Channel, Sat. Aug. 26; 7 p.m.

Production: Filmed on location in Toronto by Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. in association with Disney Channel. Executive producers, Patricia Green, Richard Pierce, Keith Pierce; producers, Kevin May, Jon Felson, Steve Reiss.

Crew: Director, Shawn Levy; writer, Patricia Green; camera, Yuri Yakubin; editor, Michael Todd; sound, Peter Clements; music, Don Proulx; casting, Stephanie Gorin, Penny Ellers. 60 MIN.

Cast: Tyler Connell - Shawn Ashmore Val Lanier - Reagan Pasternak Hank Beecham - Danso Gordon Jamie Waite - Christopher Ralph Caitie Roth - Jackie Rosenbaum Brooke Lanier - Lauren Collins

More TV

  • Amazon Reveals Title, Judges of Heidi

    Amazon Reveals Title, Judges for Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn Fashion Series

    Amazon has revealed its upcoming fashion competition series, hosted by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, will be titled “Making The Cut.” The streamer also announced that the judges and guest judges for the series will include Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Carine Roitfeld and Joseph Altuzarra. The series is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video [...]

  • NRA TV

    NRA Scuttles Original Production for Streaming-Video Site

    The NRA will shut down production of new content for its streaming-video NRATV outlet, The New York Times reports. The report said the gun-rights lobbying organization may continue to run older content on the broadband outlet, but it will no longer feature Dana Loesch and other regular hosts in live programming. The demise of programming [...]

  • monty-python-are-fifty-in-2019

    Previously Unreleased Monty Python Audio to Get Airing for Troupe's 50th Anniversary

    Michael Palin will exec-produce series of radio specials containing never-before-released audio from Monty Python as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the iconic comedy troupe. They will play on the BBC in the U.K. and then go out in the U.S. Palin and his fellow Pythons – John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry [...]

  • TV News Hopes NBC's Democrat Debate

    TV News Hopes NBC's Democrat Debate Spurs More Than a Political Windfall

    NBC News is gearing up to cover two sprawling Democratic debates. But the trappings around them may remind viewers of another network staple: “Sunday Night Football.” NBCUniversal will televise debates among the Democratic candidates for U.S. presidency over two nights and across three different TV networks, as well as via host of digital venues, including [...]

  • Netflix’s ‘Undercover’ Gets New Season With

    Netflix’s ‘Undercover’ Gets Second Season, With a Story on Illegal Arms Sales

    A second season of Netflix’s first Benelux original, “Undercover,” is in production, and the story will move from focusing on the illicit drugs trade to the illegal arms business. Non-English-language drama is finding a global audience on streaming platforms, and “Undercover” has ranked as one of Netflix’s most popular series in that category in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content