Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pilot Script Review - Mercy

Written By: Liz Heldens
Draft Date: January 7, 2009
Pages: 62
Network: NBC
Category: Jury's Out

I'm going to start off a series of medical show reviews with what I think is the most promising of the rest of the bunch (the best of the bunch being Trauma, which I've already reviewed), and working my way down to the worst. Unfortunately for Mercy... it's competing with Trauma for time on the schedule.

The show is, essentially, Grey's Anatomy if the younger lead characters were nurses instead of surgical interns/residents. As such, it gets demerits for being derivative. But the show has its own charms and features an interesting lead character in Veronica Callahan, a tough-talking nurse suffering from "a touch of PTSD" after a tour in Iraq (though that could be slightly less interesting now that Grey's Anatomy is dealing with Dr. Owen Hunt's PTSD). The series rests on the shoulders of the actress who plays this role (Taylor Schilling), moreso than Grey's Anatomy does on Ellen Pompeo. And I've heard positive things from NBC sources.

The pilot begins with Veronica and her mother (definitely not Ellis Grey). Veronica saves a guy's life at a Starbucks (responding to the classic "is there a doctor in the house" when the only doctor in the coffee house turns out to be a dermatologist), but when she accompanies the guy and his fiancée to the hospital and starts ordering tests, she is called out for being a nurse and not a doctor and the financée threatens to sue. Wow, thanks, grateful bitch.

Mercy derives its name from the hospital it (mostly) takes place at, in case you were wondering. So unlike Grey's Anatomy, down the line the show could ultimately get rid of lead character Veronica since her name isn't in the title (because, really, Grey's is never going to make Lexie the lead...)

We meet a host of characters at the hospital throughout the day, with a variety of romantic entanglements (some at the hospital, some outside). The main characters are the group of nurses, Veronica, Gianna (beautiful, Latina), and Chloe (fresh out of nursing grad school)... and to a more minor extent, Angel (male nurse). It's an interesting, multi-ethnic mix and definitely plays on the rom-com of it all. The cases don't hit quite so hard on the nose as Grey's Anatomy does, but neither do they metaphorically/thematically reflect on the characters' lives as successfully. This is a show that will come down to have magically the cast congeals.

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