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Is there any hope for Saving Hope?

Saving Hope poster

Written by : published Sunday 8th July 2012

On this week's Saving Hope, "Out of Sight," Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance, Smallville) is almost shut out of an important surgery, a double hand replacement, because she falls asleep during a meeting. Her new boss, Dr. Kinney (Wendy Crewson, 24, ReGenesis), thinks Alex has lost her edge, grieving over fiance Charlie (Michael Shanks, Smallville, Stargate SG-1) in a coma, and assumes Alex is close to a total crash and burn. But Alex has Joel (Daniel Gillies, The Vampire Diaries) to look out for her, and with his help, she is able to prove herself again.

Saving Hope isn't very good. It's also not bad. It's one of those medical shows that hangs out in the middle ground of watchable, but not appointment television. This is probably a death sentence, especially combined with the fact that it's airing on NBC in the summer and has lost ratings almost every week. It's hard to be sad about the impending demise.

On the face of it, it seems like a series worthy of taking a chance on. Staffed with a cast of sci-fi and CW actors, an intriguing move, the show's conceit is that Alex mourns Charlie, while Charlie hangs out as a ghost. But Charlie isn't helping Alex solve cases, which has so been done before. Rather, the best parts of the show involve Charlie trying to figure out how he might wake up by talking to other dead people and coma patients, and Alex struggling to hold on to herself while missing him.

In "Out of Sight," these plots seems to come to a head. Charlie meets someone who has been asleep for about thirty years, and this patient encourages Charlie to move on with his "life," as it is. Charlie, instead, decides to do the opposite, redoubling his efforts. At the same time, Alex is also told to move on, but the second she forgets about Charlie for a moment, she is overcome with grief and returns to his side.

The problem here is that such strong co-dependence is not attractive. Yes, everyone wants to be inspired by true love. And viewers are expected to continue to root for the pair because we see them both on screen every week. However, with the stories taken separately, they both really should begin to find a way to live without one another. It's folly to hold out this false hope, and put one's life on hold for an indefinite member of team. At least, until Charlie wakes out of his coma or finds a way to communicate with Alex, and then the series may take on a different tone. I'm not anxious for this day simply because it may fall into that helping each other solve medical cases formula, which is not at all fresh.

Saving Hope also relies relatively heavily on the patients. They are not the entire story, as there are some romantic triangles and hooking ups going on. Which is like early Grey's Anatomy, with a cast of characters that just aren't as interesting. There is no sense copying something if you can't rise to the level of the original. Saving Hope fails to do so.

Even worse, in "Out of Sight" Dr. Tolliver (Glenda Braganza, Men With Brooms) admonishes Maggie (Julia Taylor Ross, Silent House) by telling her to "Look for horses, not zebras." This phrase instantly calls to mind the recently ended show, House, which is another medical show superior than Raising Hope. If you are a young series, still struggling to define your identity and build your fan base, you do yourself no favors by making viewers think of shows similar and better than yourself.

In summary, Saving Hope is not terrible. But it's not great either, and many of the choices being made for the series are not doing it any favors. It it is going to last or earn any type of support, it needs to figure out what it wants to be, what will set it apart from its peers, and commit to it fast.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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