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Friday, October 28, 2016

PILOT REVIEW: Pure Genius

PURE GENIUS











Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Augustus Prew, Odette Annable, Reshma Shetty, Aaron Jennings, Ward Horton, Brenda Song

Created by Jason Katims and Sarah Watson
Written by Jason Katims & Sarah Watson, Directed by David Semel

Pure Genius is a new medical from the person who brought tear-jerking character dramas Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Those two dramas are two of my all-time favorites but I'm also very lukewarm towards medical dramas so I was curious to see how I would feel about this drama. And I ended up feeling very in the middle due to those exact reasons. On the one hand, it was a medical drama and a very techy one at that. But it was layered with strong characters and compelling drama that tugged at the heart strings. So it's exactly as billed: a Jason Katims medical drama.

James Bell (Augustus Prew) is a billionaire who has set up a state-of-the-art hospital called Bunker Hill. With cutting-edge technology, they take cases that other hospitals deem incurable. In the pilot, he convinces a rogue veteran surgeon, Dr. Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney) to join his team so he can pair the Silicon Valley approach with traditional medical expertise.

What I liked about this was the character development of Bell and Wallace. They already are more dimensional than most medical drama characters, especially after just one episode. Katims has managed to make two polar opposites who have an interesting working relationship. It is well acted by both Augustus Prew and Dermot Mulroney. Prew plays the eccentric billionaire well and seems like a Mark Zuckerberg type while Mulroney brings gravitas to the role and plays the grizzled veteran doctor role well. The rest of the characters weren't as well developed in the pilot though I trust Katims to bring them along.

What I didn't love was all the tech stuff, which I know is important to the show. But still it made it feel a little too "CBS" in a Katims drama. There was some unnecessary medical jargon for a show that should aim to be more than a traditional medical procedural. Also, this show is not going to work if Prew is always proven right with every wild idea and different patient he brings in. The show already stretches the imagination a bit and if they never ever have a patient die or make a bad decision, then it's not going to work. It's too bad this is a show stuck on CBS and a bad timeslot at that because I think it aims to go higher but unfortunately I don't think it will have the time to be able to do that and even if it did, it's on a network that usually rejects that type of drama.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Yes, but I will not get attached after seeing last night's ratings.

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