The CW has five new series premiering this season, but only one of them has a competitive disadvantage. Arrow has the buzz and an entire mythology to build upon. Beauty and the Beast is airing after The CW’s highest-rated show. The Carrie Diaries has an institution behind it. And Cult is starring a CW alumnus. It’s only Emily Owens, M.D. — previously First Cut — that is sort of the odd one out. Starring Mamie Gummer, yes daughter of Meryl Streep, this dramedy premiering two weeks after The CW begins its season is in some ways self-launching. Sure it has Hart of Dixie has a lead in, but that’s not saying much ratings-wise. So it’s no wonder why the network ponied up and put its cards on the table (read: uploaded the pilot online before the airdate).
Based on no actual stats whatsoever, this season has seen some of the most prescreening pilots campaigns than ever before (and if I’m not mistaken, this is The CW’s first time at doing this), an upwards trend ever since New Girl catapulted to high ratings and two Emmy nominations. Of course, they weren’t the first. But it proved that this prescreening thing wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
And with Emily Owens, M.D., I think The CW hit the nail on the head. Personally, I wasn’t even thinking about checking out this show based on the promos alone — but since they put it online, I figured “Why not?” and went for it. What I found was that I was incredibly wrong about the series: it wasn’t as awful, or cheesy for that matter. It wasn’t the flash in the pan of a series its promotional material made it out to be. It was — I’m saying it — entertaining.
Last year, and I only mention this because they’re both medical dramedies, the Hart of Dixie pilot left me almost cold. I stated that the writers had no idea who their lead character was. But with Emily Owens, M.D. (they should have called it Em D am I right?), these people do know. That’s what gravitated me towards it the most: they have a strong understanding of who Emily is, and we see her go through a several range of emotions to boot. It also helps that I like Emily more than Zoe (or at all).
But of course, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, which is why I’ll get through the bad stuff right now. For starters, the apple of Emily’s eye Will has about as much personality as cardboard. And while I don’t know why she likes this guy, the fact that she does did make for some good comedy. The show also suffers a bit from that kind of sorytelling that usually plagues fish out of water dramas: There’s a precocious and insightful kid who has a crush on a boy; Emily just happens to be there when her patient is about to…well, die!; Emily is somehow granted permission to stand in a surgery; Emily just so happens to walk in on her boss and that nurse making out! Elsewhere, the audience is almost inundated with a sundry of different patient storylines.
However, after the episode ended, I didn’t feel that overwhelmed. In fact, the show weaved through them quite well in fact. The only problem I had with it is I thought they may burn through certain patients ideas way too quickly. Then again, I guess they could always bring some patients back. I personally liked the kid (and I never do).
The pilot follows Emily, fresh out of med school, on her first official day of work. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling and Emily’s boss is sort of a stick in the mud plus there’s that mean girl of the bunch. And yeah it’s all a bit cookie cutter, but at the same time there’s this certain je ne quois that makes the whole of the show just fit together quite nicely. There’s this breezy vibe that never veers off into the deep end of unbearably cheesy. Conversely, it’s also quite comedic and hits that mark often but never pulls you too far away to be unconvincing. And Emily’s voiceovers — has anyone perfected the voiceover as much as this show and Mamie Gummer? (I just checked and apparently everyone else hates it. But I kind of loved it.) In a sense, this show kind of rides the line of all its genres well enough.
Filled with drama, comedy, and — dare I say it? — heartwarmth, there’s no way you won’t be rooting for Emily Owens come premiere date. Your mileage may vary, of course. But I for sure was pleasantly surprised by The CW’s latest medical drama, considering I wasn’t expecting much. It was quite evident to me, however, that the pilot doesn’t seem to incentivize enough to come back next week. We also don’t really learn much about Emily other than who she was in high school and how that paralleled to now. That could be somewhat of a problem for people with no patience who are sampling the show. Regardless, I will be watching episode two.
And with that, what did you think of the pilot? Remember, Emily Owens, M.D. premieres officially Tuesday October 16th at 9/8c.
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