×

3 Lbs.

Fred Allen famously called imitation the sincerest form of television, but with "3 LBS.," CBS delivers a drama so close to Fox's fellow Tuesday-night medical resident "House" that their mothers couldn't tell them apart. After striking out with the more creatively challenging "Smith," CBS is back in its comfort zone with this series about a brilliant brain surgeon and a newly arrived, wide-eyed associate a colleague dubs "the sorcerer's new apprentice."

With:
Dr. Doug Hanson - Stanley Tucci Dr. Jonathan Seger - Mark Feuerstein Dr. Adrianne Holland - Indira Varma Dr. Flores - Armando Riesco Melania Ortiz - Zabryna Guevara Dr. Jeffrey Coles - Griffin Dunne

Fred Allen famously called imitation the sincerest form of television, but with “3 LBS.,” CBS delivers a drama so close to Fox’s fellow Tuesday-night medical resident “House” that their mothers couldn’t tell them apart. After striking out with the more creatively challenging “Smith,” CBS is back in its comfort zone with this series about a brilliant brain surgeon and a newly arrived, wide-eyed associate a colleague dubs “the sorcerer’s new apprentice.” Actually, there’s commerce, perfunctory competence and a whole lot of “me too”-ism here, but precious little magic.

Just how House-like is Stanley Tucci’s Dr. Doug Hanson initially? He doesn’t like speaking to patients, fires off smartass remarks and is personally damaged in some small way that doesn’t take shape in the premiere — before the condition simply disappears in the second and third episodes, which is probably just as well.

Indeed, things move so fast around the Hanson Foundation, where the doc works his cerebral miracles, that new sidekick Jonathan Seger (Mark Feuerstein) has no time for introductions before being thrown onto a case — one regarding a young musical prodigy experiencing unexplained spasms.

The few character-driven wrinkles do relatively little to shift the focus from the medical plots. Jonathan, for example, engages in flirty banter with Hanson’s beautiful associate, Adrianne Holland (Indira Varma, fresh off HBO’s “Rome”), and has a snotty rival (Griffin Dunne) who seeks to convince the teen’s emotionally drained mother to explore an alternative treatment to Hanson’s surgical skills.

Tucci joins the roster of square-jawed leading men captaining CBS dramas, and with his implied penchant for womanizing and fleeting secret, it’s hard to escape the sense we’re watching the bastard child of the union between “Shark” and “House.”

As for the balance of the cast, well-traveled series nomad Feuerstein gets by as the Jedi master’s idealistic Padawan trainee, and Varma brightens up the screen whenever she’s on it, which for my money isn’t enough.

The series does change course slightly after the premiere, with Hanson softening somewhat as he treats a pregnant woman and later a former associate. In the third hour, the “B” plot involves Varma’s character falling for a fatally ill patient, which is about as tedious a twist as a medical show can engineer — except, perhaps, for the now-obligatory animation used to illustrate every misfiring neuron.

Notably, during the premiere, Hanson casually refers to the brain as “wires in a box,” which is precisely what legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow warned television would become should its stewards fail to safeguard its higher aspirations — a particularly apt metaphor for a program this pedestrian.

In CBS’ defense, with “House,” NBC’s “ER” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” all attracting sizable crowds, pursuing its own slice of hospital heaven is a no-brainer. Even so, should this form of meatball surgery succeed, “3 LBS.” would mark another step along the bland procedural path the Eye network has followed to ratings glory.

That said, just as the wily Dr. Hanson overcomes the most daunting medical dilemmas, I’d be hard-pressed to bet against him.

3 Lbs.

CBS, Tues. Nov. 14, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in New York by CBS Paramount Network Television. Executive producers, Peter Ocko, Scott Kaufer, Davis Guggenheim; producers, Stanley Tucci, Barry Berg; director, Guggenheim; writer, Ocko.

Crew: Camera, William Wages; editor, Jay Lash Cassidy; music, James S. Levine; production designer, Amy Danger; casting, Risa Bramon Garcia, Brennan du DuFresne. Running time: 60 MIN.

Cast: Dr. Doug Hanson - Stanley Tucci Dr. Jonathan Seger - Mark Feuerstein Dr. Adrianne Holland - Indira Varma Dr. Flores - Armando Riesco Melania Ortiz - Zabryna Guevara Dr. Jeffrey Coles - Griffin Dunne

More TV

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

  • ARCHER: 1999 -- "Cubert" -- Season

    'Archer' Renewed for Season 11 at FXX

    “Archer” has been picked up for an eleventh season. The announcement was made Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. The news comes less than a week ahead of the Season 10 finale. Season 11 is slated to debut on FXX in 2020. While the show initially focused on the agents and support staff of a covert [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content