×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Heartbeat’

With:
Melissa George, Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, Joshua Leonard, Maya Erskine, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, JLouis Mills

Melissa George’s pregnancy prompted NBC to reschedule “Heartbeat” from the fall to midseason, but the intervening months haven’t helped this medical drama find much of a pulse. Although derived from a book by a real-life heart surgeon, the series plays like a rather pallid “Grey’s Anatomy” knockoff, featuring another doctor who cares desperately about her patients, runs roughshod over subordinates and bosses alike, and walks and talks very, very fast.

If Kathy Magliato’s book was built, in part, around how cardiac surgery remains a largely male bastion, there are enough brilliant female doctors patrolling the halls of TV to make George’s Dr. Alexandra Panttiere feel a little less special. The day-to-day pressures of the hospital, meanwhile, share time with a sort-of romantic triangle, involving Alex’s relationship with her dreamy doc boyfriend (Dave Annable) and the surgical mentor (Don Hany) who suddenly shows up, unleashing a lot of pained expressions and dreary flashbacks.

Of course, Alex’s juggling act doesn’t end there. She’s also raising two kids she had with her ex-husband (Joshua Leonard), a rock star who left her for another man. Mostly, though, Alex does all she can to drive her boss (Shelley Conn) crazy, being so committed to her patients that she has no time for niceties or rules. (She can, however, rock a slinky blue dress when the situation calls for it in order to woo big-money benefactors.)

Showcased more effectively in NBC’s recent ensemble drama “The Slap,” George is an appealing actress, but she’s not only asked to shoulder too much of the weight here, but also saddled with dialogue like, “My patient is dying. I want that heart!” In addition, there are some questionable choices in the surrounding staff, including another doctor (Jamie Kennedy) so politically incorrect that he refers to Alex’s Asian nurse (Maya Erskine) as “Ping Pang Pong,” which everyone just laughs off.

Created by Jill Gordon, with a pilot directed by Robbie Duncan McNeill, the procedural elements don’t really improve in subsequent episodes, which include medical issues that arise endangering the lives of a pair of conjoined twins. Historically, when writers resort to devices like that in the first three episodes, it’s seldom a good sign.

Granted, some very undemanding medical dramas have performed passably well of late, including NBC’s “The Night Shift” and “Chicago Med,” and CBS’ “Code Black.” Although healthcare remains a political hot button, TV’s formula for caring doctors hasn’t really changed that much since “Dr. Kildare” and “Marcus Welby M.D.”

Yet even grading based on that chart, “Heartbeat” seems about as necessary as an appendix — more of a faint murmur, dramatically speaking, than anything you can dance to.

TV Review: 'Heartbeat'

(Series; NBC, Tues. March 22, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by PD Oliver Inc., Molly Bloom Prods. and Reveal in association with Universal Television.

Crew: Executive Producers, Jill Gordon, Amy Brenneman, Brad Silberling, Mark B. Perry, Jennifer Cecil; co-executive producers, Allison Liddi-Brown, Dr. Kathy Magliato, Susan Carlson, Eric Carlson, Kelly Meyer; producers, Yolonda Lawrence, Cary Jones, Susie Schelling; director, Robbie Duncan McNeill; writer, Gordon; based on the book “Heart Matters” by Magliato; camera, Scott Williams; production designer, Ricardo Spinace; editor, Dana Congdon; music, John Ehrlich; casting, Jeanie Bacharach, Maggie Bacharach. 60 MIN.

Cast: Melissa George, Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, Joshua Leonard, Maya Erskine, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, JLouis Mills

More TV

  • Smithsonian subscription VOD

    Smithsonian Networks Launches New Subscription VOD Service, Folding in Smithsonian Earth

    Smithsonian Networks has expanded its push to reach cord-cutters with the launch of Smithsonian Channel Plus, promising subscribers 1,000-plus hours of streaming nonfiction programming for $5 per month. The new subscription VOD service incorporates and supersedes Smithsonian Earth, the company’s $3.99-monthly SVOD service that launched three years ago, which had been geared around nature and wildlife. [...]

  • 'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings

    'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings at Home

    With its international rollout well underway, the critically acclaimed TV series “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s bestselling “Neapolitan Novels,” is scoring strong ratings at home in Italy, and is also playing well in the U.S. and U.K. The show, which explores the bounds of female friendship, is being [...]

  • Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC

    Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC Adaptation of Man Booker Prize Winner ‘The Luminaries’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Himesh Patel and Ewen Leslie have joined “The Luminaries,” with production now underway on the highly anticipated series adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel. The pair join Eve Hewson (“The Knick”), Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”) and Marton Csokas (“Into the Badlands”) in the period piece. The high-end drama is being produced by Working [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    ‘CBS This Morning’ Executive Producer in Potential Exit Talks

    Ryan Kadro, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning” and one of the architects of the A.M. program, is currently in contract discussions that could lead to his exit from the show, according to three people familiar with the matter. Kadro’s contract is slated to run out at the end of the year, and he [...]

  • NBC's California O&Os to Launch 'California

    NBC's California O&Os to Launch 'California Live' Daily Daytime Series

    NBC’s three California O&Os are set to launch a live daily lifestyle series dubbed “California Live.” The series will air at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday across KNBC-TV Los Angeles, KNTV-TV San Francisco and KNSD San Diego. The show will have some modular segments that will be customized for each market, with an emphasis on [...]

  • TV Roundup: Netflix Sets 'Tidying Up

    TV News Roundup: Steven Yeun Joins 'Twilight Zone' at CBS All Access

    In Wednesday’s roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and Steven Yeun joins Jordan Peele’s “Twilight Zone” reboot. FIRST LOOKS  Variety has an exclusive behind-the-scenes first look at Season 2 of Showtime’s “SMILF,” featuring creator and star, Frankie Shaw. The new season, which premieres Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, finds Bridgette trying to move [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    CBS News Settles Suit Alleging Harassment by Charlie Rose

    CBS News settled a lawsuit filed by three women who alleged they were harassed by former “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose, and claimed CBS did not act despite being aware of the situation. The amount awarded to the women was not disclosed at their request, according to a CBS News spokesperson. “The matter has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content