Primetime Previews

DO NO HARM: Primetime Preview

do-no-harm-nbcThe pilot of this new series, starring Steven Pasquale, Alana de la Garza and Ruta Gedmintasopened, with a catchy tune, a good looking guy rolling over in bed, a drawer full of empty vials and a large syringe-like gun. Who is this guy? What happens in ten hours? Unfortunately, pilot episodes are a tough sell on any network considering the attention span of today’s landscape. But if we take a step back and realize that what we are witnessing is a one hour buzz reel for a network to try to sell the show, we can see the potential. In all respects, this pilot – a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde based saga – delivered a lot of what we as television viewers look for in a new series. Given its potential, it’s a shame the first six minutes weren’t more thrilling, because as far as ratings are concerned this was NBC’s lowest-rated drama pilot ever.

As the episode progresses, the primary question of the series becomes clear: how does a successful and busy neurosurgeon balance a multiple personality life? Answer: a nerdy friend who knows pharmaceutical chemistry (how convenient!) The one question that was never really fully answered is why does Ian Price, Dr. Cole’s alter ego, appear at 8:25 p.m. and leave at 8:25 a.m? I suppose this is something we must leave to the series.

Ian certainly has a good time when he is let out of his cage, though. From a drug bender to several rather attractive women in his bed, he is not one to have a quiet night in. Dr. Cole’s demand of “I should get a vasectomy” upon returning to the hospital the next morning may have been a bit much, but one cannot fault him for not wanted illegitimate children running around with multiple personalities. Why do the people in his life who know about Ian Price so easily believe him? We also get a glimpse into the past of Dr. Cole when we meet Olivia, his former fiancĂ©. We learn that Ian Price certainly was not kind to her, and the man who passionately fights for the rights of his battered female patient clearly was not enough. But who can blame her? And what would a good pilot be without a bit of heart-twisting plot?

NBC certainly did not skimp on the prosthetic budget or on the research for this series. From cutting open a man’s skull to the use of the word prosopagnosia, they covered their bases impressively for a pilot. In addition, the show being both set and filmed in Philadelphia (with multiple nods to the public transit and city hall) was refreshing.

In a final push to keep the viewer interested, Dr. Cole records a video for Ian asking him to live his own life and stay away from the Dr. The two cannot live without the other no matter how much they may want to, an olive branch could be taken in future episodes – but for now, Ian pays a visit to Olivia, thus finding her like Ian warned.

The quest has begun.

Do No Harm airs Thursday, 10/9c on NBC.

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