If there’s one genre on television that keeps on giving, it’s the medical drama. Monday Mornings is TNT’s attempt at a gripping, gritty, stylish drama that shows the inner workings of a hospital, whilst also making the doctors and surgeons realistic and relatable. Whether or not it succeeded in its aims is probably dependant on how many times you rolled your eyes in the first five minutes, dear reader.
Behind the vocal echoes, the flashes of light between cuts, the extreme close ups (of eyes, mouths, sneakers, water jugs), and the occasional bout of slow motion, Monday Morning is your average medical drama. In fact, it feels like a medical drama made by people who have only seen medical dramas on TV and not actually been inside a working hospital, despite one of the creators being a neurosurgeon. I can only put this down to the gloss that coated this episode, giving everything such a high sheen that even the death of a child lost some of its relevance, the striking use of purple blood and low camera angles making it all morbidly attractive.
The characters are people we’ve seen before. Ty(ler) Wilson is a neurosurgeon who, we see through flashbacks, became a surgeon after his father died on the operating table when he was a child. This episode sees him at his highs (wherein everyone talks about how talented and nice and good he is in sickeningly saccharine tones) and his lows (facing the court trial that masquerades as the Morbidity and Mortality meeting that happens whenever a surgeon’s screw-up causes the death of a patient). Beside him almost constantly is Tina Ridgeway, who has a failing marriage and eyes for Tyler. How long before they embark on their sordid affair? I’ll give it half a season.
Sydney Napur is the busybody who gets involved in other people’s cases, annoys everyone, and yet saves the day. She was dumped by her boyfriend on Sunday night after his proposal of marriage was ruined by her being paged for surgery. It’s hard to find any sympathy for Sydney’s plight because we don’t know her yet. It’s a storyline that would have been better served later on in the season.
Jorge Villanueva is the big abrasive guy who bucks everyone up when they’re down by talking common sense. He feels like an extraneous character, one designed purely to keep everyone moving. Pretty much everything he did in this episode could easily have been done by Harding Hooten, the head of the department with a horrible name and an even more horrible 2D character. You know that tough head guy/gal with a heart of gold in every medical drama ever? That’s Harding.
Sung Park at least brings a little humour to proceedings. When a highly religious couple come to ask him for help to stop the wife’s trembling hands, which they see as a curse from God, Park breezily tells them that he’s only interested in the facts. He gets the job done and moves on, uninterested with anything past fixing the issue. What exactly was the issue? I don’t think the episode bothered to tell us. (It also didn’t bother to make Michelle Robidaux memorable; I honestly cannot recall what this character did, though I only finished the episode a few minutes ago.)
The main — perhaps, only — difference between Monday Mornings and all those other medical dramas is the aforementioned Morbidity and Mortality meetings. We got to see two this week and apparently they will be a feature every week. It’s difficult to see how the doctors’ mistakes being thrown in their faces in the same way, in the same room, with the same cast (and Hooten peering over his spectacles damningly) will be kept fresh. I’m tired of it already and I’ve only seen one episode.
Overall, I can’t quite bring myself to say that Monday Mornings has potential. There’s a chance it will improve and find its own little groove in the vast landscape of medical dramas, but judging by this pilot episode, I won’t be holding my breath, dear reader. If nothing else, at least Monday Mornings is easy on the eye, as well as the mind.
What did you think of Monday Mornings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!