November 8, 2006

TV Preview: 3 Lbs. on CBS

A teenage girl is playing violin in a concert. There is an upscale crowd watching on. As she plays, there a concerned look begins to play over her face. We then see the special effects of nerve endings in her fingers which we follow into her brain. We pull out and she know looks paniced, she says "Mommy" and collapses. That is the beginning of the new CBS medical drama 3 Lbs. which is set to premiere on November 14th at 10:00, amd also on CBS Innertube beginning November 9th.

I have seen the premiere in an unfinished state, there were some missing effects and music. Something I found a little disconcerting at first, as I had expected it to be the finished episode. The show seems intriguing. It has elements of other current medical shows like House and Grey's Anatomy, but it is far from being a clone of those other shows. Something that I reacted to strongly is that it will definitely need a few episodes to catch on to. I do not feel all that strongly connected to what is going on.

Stanley Tucci (The Terminal, The Devil Wears Prada) stars as Dr. Douglas Hansen, a brilliant brain surgeon who is not terribly good with his patients, and has a hidden health problem. Sounds a little like Dr. Gregory House, Doesn't it? It is only similar on the surface. His issues manifest themselves in different ways, which could lead to interesting drama down the road. Co-starring with Tucci is Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Jonathan Singer, a new fellow working with Hansen. The character strikes me as a bland counterpoint to Hansen's standoffishness (is that a word?), Singer is the sensitive type who likes to get to know his patients and sympathize with them, while Hansen says his piece and leaves, never hanging around to answer questions or to act in anyway like a human.

The premiere episode has Hansen and Singer dealing with the young musician from the opening. She requires surgery, but not is all clear sailing as after the initial probe, a rival steps in with an experimental procedure in an attempt to steal her away for his process. Meawhile, a neurologist, Dr. Adrianne Holland, is working with a man with a brain tumor, all while being barefoot. I found this secondary story to be a little dull, I wanted more time with Dr. Hansen.

A blend of the good and the bad, the seeds are here to create a compelling medical show. It may seem similar to those other shows, but it really does have a different take, and in some ways may be more inventive. There are a number of inventive visual touches to represent the mind of the patient, and the way things with regard to, I assume, Hansen's past are realized within is proximity.

This Peter Ocko (writer: Boston Legal, Dead Like Me) creation is a little dry at times, and a little dull. Still, Stanley Tucci is a wonderful actor, and he is on his way to creating an enigmatic, troubled doctor who doesn't do a very good job at hiding his contempt for those around him, or his belief in his abilities. Feuerstein, on the other hand, the jury is still out on, he was just so bland, there did not seem like there was much to him.

This show is going to live or die on the strength of its supporting cast, and the writers ability to make us care about them. So far, all I get is a little intrigue and a whole load of potential. This is Tucci's time to shine, and is the biggest saving grace for the show.


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