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'Nurses' – New U.S. Programming Thanks to Canada
December 7, 2020  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

It's fitting that one of the few new dramas struggling to the surface on a broadcast network this fall is a medical show.

That said, NBC's Nurses doesn't quite match the quality of the real-life medical personnel who have stayed on the coronavirus case throughout this bizarre year.

Nurses, which premieres on NBC Monday at 10 p.m. ET, is another import, a Canadian series that aired there at the beginning of the year.

It's a no-frills medical drama focused on five young nurses who have just arrived at a busy Toronto hospital. They haven't even heard the end of their no-nonsense welcoming talk from supervisor Sinead O'Rourke (Cathy White) than word comes in that a sociopath has plowed a car into a large group of people, leaving a trail of carnage that will now lead to the hospital.

All five of our rookies don't get trauma cases, but it's no accident that Nurses starts with a big splashy event. The creators here, much of the same team that gave us Rookie Blue, figure that viewers will respond well if they're hooked up immediately to a bag of adrenaline.

This also enables Nurses to nestle quickly into the standard medical-show pattern of life-or-death drama counterbalanced with personal angst. The show rotates quickly among its five protagonists while periodically mixing and matching.

There are moments of precocious brilliance when the new person sees something a long-time doctor didn't. There are also rookie mistakes and a veteran staff that enjoys more than a few skeptical chuckles over the newcomers.

The characters, too, don't show us much we haven't seen before, though, at this point in the history of medical shows, that would be almost impossible.

Grace Knight (Tiera Skovbye), the most glamorous of the new nurses, draws what turns out to be the most traumatic assignment. If Nurses has a shocking moment, it comes on Grace's watch. Grace also turns out to have a complicated personal history, both in her nursing career and her personal life.

Ashley Collins (Natasha Kalis) assumes she will be in the center of the action because that's how it's always been. When she isn't, she gets a bit petulant. Somebody needs to explain to her that even a fast-paced show can't always fit five major storylines into 43 minutes.

Keon Colby (Jordan Johnson-Hinds) gets assigned to a pregnant woman with a frustrating backstory. He proves remarkably good at reading her moods and wishes and remarkably adaptable when adjusting to them. We want him to be our nurse for our next hospitalization.

Nazneen Khan (Sandy Sidhu) gets the saddest assignment, which also sends the show into melodrama overdrive, and Wolf Burke (Donald Maclean Jr.) gets designated, at least in the opening episode, as the comic relief. He spends the show on a mission whose inherently grisly nature is wrapped in dark humor.

On the plus side, Nurses is new, and it won't tax anyone's brain at the end of another long day. The characters are likeable. At this point in fall's non-season, we aren't asking for much more.

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I've rather enjoyed the Canadian medical drama Transplant, but Nurses didn't look to match the quality or nuance or character interest of Transplant.
Dec 11, 2020   |  Reply
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