TV Series Review
Alex Reid and Charlie Harris share a hospital, a home and a romantic dream.
At Hope Zion Hospital, Charlie is the chief of surgery, Alex (a woman) the chief surgical resident. Their flat is tasteful and in the heart of the city. And they planned to spend the rest of their lives together … as doctor and doctor, as man and woman, and finally as husband and wife.
But on the way to the wedding, an SUV slammed into Alex and Charlie's taxi, sending them both to the hospital … and not to work this time. Alex is just fine. Charlie's another matter. Now he's in a coma, and it's uncertain when—or if—he'll ever come out.
Not even a coma can keep Charlie from doting on his main squeeze, though. His body may be inert, but his spirit is still fit as the proverbial fiddle, walking the hospital corridors dressed in the same tux in which he was going to get married.
So Alex sits by Charlie's unresponsive body, telling him her stories and unburdening her heart. Charlie—spirit Charlie—listens and offers what little comfort he can … even if Alex can't consciously sense or receive it.
But even as Charlie clings to life and Alex clings to their imagined future together, they both have issues to deal with. Alex has to save people's lives, battle rivals for her job and make nice with Dana Kinney, Charlie's interim replacement as Hope Zion's surgical chief. Oh, and she must also work side-by-side with Dr. Joel Goran, her handsome ex-beau.
And Charlie? He mixes and mingles with the spirits of other comatose folks. Sometimes he sees them return to life. Other times, he watches them leave for the hereafter. All the while, he's looking for clues on how he can wake up—to return to his fiancée in both body and soul, so the two of them can finally cement their vows with the whole "'til death" part.
Saving Hope is a supernatural medical drama—80% ER, 20% Twilight Zone. Television rarely gives us medical procedural ghost stories, so you'd think this mash-up would be, if not good, at least interesting.
No such luck. Saving Hope feels pretty rote, spirits roaming the operating rooms notwithstanding. Maybe we've just gotten too familiar with TV's medical manual for anything with doctors and nurses in it to feel terribly fresh. But this NBC/Canadian TV partnership doesn't even make an effort to deviate from the script, either in feel or content.
Audiences see and hear as much about whom doctors are sleeping with as whom they're saving surgically. And one of those doctors—the germaphobic Shahir Hamza—happens to be sleeping with a male OR nurse. We see medical professionals kiss and make out and wake up in bed together, sometimes wearing not very much. And when these doctors start cutting instead of canoodling, the camera rarely shies away from the blood and gore and messy realities of slicing folks up and putting them back together.
But while Saving Hope may be both problematic and rote, we would be remiss if we didn't at least give a nod to the show's (ahem) spirit.
While most medical dramas are populated by pragmatic and practical agnostics preoccupied (and rightly so) with the struggle to save lives, this one offers at least a glimpse behind the sterile curtain. It tells us that we're made of more than blood and brain impulses: There's something more to us, and perhaps there's something more waiting for us.
Is it an explicitly Christian rendition of heaven or an afterlife? Of course not. This is NBC after all, not GMC. Producers are looking for as broad an audience as possible, so the spirituality presented here is meant to be broadly appealing, not theologically compelling. But having met my share of atheistic doctors on the tube (I'm talking to you, Dr. House), it's encouraging.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Erica Durance as Dr. Alex Reid; Daniel Gillies as Dr. Joel Goran; Michael Shanks as Dr. Charlie Harris; Huse Madhavji as Dr. Shahir Hamza; Julia Taylor Ross as Dr. Maggie Lin; Kristopher Turner as Dr. Gavin Murphy; K.C. Collins as Dr. Tom Reycraft; Glenda Braganza as Dr. Melanda Tolliver; Benjamin Ayres as Dr. Zachary Miller; Salvatore Antonio as Nurse Victor Reis; Joseph Pierre as Nurse Jackson Wade; Wendy Crewson as Dr. Dana Kinny