Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mercy & Eastwick: I watched so you won't have to

Once again, there are too many new shows debuting in a given day for me to have time/space to write about them all, so some extremely quick thoughts on "Mercy" & "Eastwick" coming up after the jump...

Fienberg does an excellent job of cataloging the many, many, many ways that "Mercy" (8 p.m., NBC) is similar to "Nurse Jackie" and "Hawthorne," so I won't rehash that here. I want to like the show, because it's both set and shot in Jersey (with Paterson standing in for Jersey City), and because I think the lead (the almost entirely unknown Taylor Schilling) has interesting screen presence. But "Mercy" isn't just derivative; it's stridently, obnoxiously derivative. And the producers' refusal to acknowledge that there's not an original moment in the pilot suggests it's not going to improve anytime soon. Pass.

"Eastwick" (10 p.m., ABC), meanwhile, is a remake of 1987's "The Witches of Eastwick" (which was itself adapted from the John Updike book), only we've downgraded from Jack Nicholson, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon to Paul Gross (who I usually love, but who's woefully miscast as Satan), Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Ray Newman and Lindsay Price (who puts on glasses so she can play The Plain One). That's a pretty steep talent drop, and the show (which is shot on the old Stars Hollow set from "Gilmore Girls") seems like a WB show circa 2002 - not one of the good ones, but a copy of a copy of a copy of one of the good ones. And where I might check back in on "Mercy" in a month or two (assuming it's still on) just because I like some of the actors and want to see if they're being used better, there's nothing here that interests me enough for a return visit.

Feel free to use this post to discuss one or both of these shows after they air tonight.

40 comments:

Carrie said...

I'm confused about Mercy. Is it a comedy? Because the advertising campaign NBC is running right now is trying to make it seem like the new Scrubs, but one with really, really unfunny jokes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Mercy is a drama with occasional (attempted) moments of comedy.

Mo Ryan said...

Oh, I dunno, Mercy made me laugh until I cried. And then I threw up.

So, you know, we all define comedy differently.

But seriously, the first few minutes of the pilot were so awful that my jaw was on the floor. The rest I just considered unintentional comedy gold.

Get a few friends together, get some beer, watch it MST3K style -- who knows, it could be the laugh riot of the week.

Though they did remove the most hilarious line in their new and not-improved revised version of the pilot. The one where the nurse tells the idiot doctor, "I want you to be... better!"

I've been quoting that line all summer. Few people get it, but I laugh. So there's that.

Alyson said...

Casting Constable Benton Fraser as Satan is just so many different kinds of wrong that I've lost track of them all.

T. AKA Ricky Raw said...

I'm confused about Mercy. Is it a comedy? Because the advertising campaign NBC is running right now is trying to make it seem like the new Scrubs, but one with really, really unfunny jokes.

Really, really unfunny jokes? How is that any different than the regular Scrubs show?

All NBC shows are bad and cliche ridden, the commercial for their new trauma unit show with Derek Luke seems even worse.

SnotBoogie said...

Instead of "Eastwick" I'd like to recommend "The Witches of Breastwick" which you can sometimes catch on Showtime late at night.

It's fantastic.

Kelly said...

Okay wait... was Mercy on last night or is it on tonight? Because I really meant to watch it, if only for the line "I want you to be...better." Much like Mo, that line cracked me up everytime they showed the preview.

Of course, it sounds like they took it out so meh... guess I wasn't missing anything afterall.

Also, am I the only one who thinks the star of the show looks a little like Dooce?

Karen said...

I'm heartbroken that Eastwick is so bad, because I've just been SO EXCITED that Paul Gross was going to be on my tv again. (Those 3 brief seasons of Slings & Arrows were such a tease!)

Oh well.

filmcricket said...

Nice new blog banner, Alan. But how's it possible that no one from Deadwood made the 'stache cut? That show was hairier than a gorilla convention.

Nicole said...

I am also disappointed to see how horrible Eastwick looks just in the previews... Paul Gross is a really good actor, but always seems to be cast in tripe when he takes roles south of the border (Aspen Extreme being another example).

Alan Sepinwall said...

But how's it possible that no one from Deadwood made the 'stache cut?

I couldn't leave out Selleck, obviously. Nor Franz (and since I'd already done Sipowicz in the Bald Cops logo, I had to find a Buntz picture). I always admired La Salle's 'stache, and that show was a monster hit. Plus I always strive for gender and/or ethnic diversity in the logos when I can, hence Silverman.

Swidgin and his 'stache were in the Badasses You Don't Mess With (male division) logo a while back. I'm more disappointed that I couldn't find a picture of anybody from Generation Kill with one, since the whole "Po-lice that moo-stash!" subplot inspired my current mustache love

ecrunner said...

Not sure about Mercy, given that it has to follow after Hawthorne and Nurse Jackie. How "different" could a "nurse show" be from another one. It seems that there will always be the drama, the attempt at comedy, and the failure to put a new twist on the show (credits for Jackie for making unrealistic attempts).

Eric said...

I wish the Eastwick producers had the balls to just hire Ray Wise as Satan.

Hatfield said...

Paul Gross! I think he should use his new powers as Satan to bring back Due South

Anonymous said...

Why did you mention Stars Hollow? Now I have to watch it to compare.

-EmeraldLiz

LDP said...

"Eastwick"? What's the motiviation for turning a bad, 22-year-old movie into a TV show?

Anonymous said...

Wondering if Eastwick is a rip off of Charmed. That was my impression when I first saw the commercial. I loved Charmed at first, but it got to be the same ole same ole after a few seasons.

Xander Bennett said...

Wait, is it seriously the Gilmore Girls set? Because I jokingly said that 2 months ago when I saw the pilot at Comic Con.

But... for real?

Eldritch said...

LDP said...
"Eastwick"? What's the motiviation for turning a bad, 22-year-old movie into a TV show?


From Monday's night's "Castle:"

Castle's Mom:
Has Hollywood run completely out of imagination?

Castle:
I just heard they've licensed the game "Asteroids" for a movie. So, Yes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But... for real?

That's a standing set on the Warner Bros. studio lot that has been used in other movies and TV shows in the past. Sarah Connor Chronicles used it last season, and Fienberg thinks (but isn't sure) that it was the set for the center of town in "Back to the Future."

Xander Bennett said...

Wow. Well, they must have hired the same art department too, because all through the opening scene of Eastwick I was waiting for Lauren Graham to wander into the shot.

Hatfield said...

Oh, and for your mustache banner, I know he's basically modeled after Dennis Franz, but Carl from Aqua Teen would have been a hilarious choice.

Anonymous said...

Some the exterior scenes are actually shot in downtown Jersey City.

Pamela Jaye said...

I;m off topic but my DVR is screaming for space.
Do you know whether Hawthorne, Mental, or Royal Pains will get a second season?

I haven't watched RP yet. I'd toss Hawthorne off my DVR if it was canceled for sure, Mental... I actually *liked* some of the eps

last week I finally deleted Life on Mars, half unwatched.

I hate to delete things i might eventually like a lot. (remember Big Bang?)

7s Tim said...

As anonymous said, they have been shooting a whole lot of Mercy in JC. Also Paterson and Newark, but there are several scenes in the pilot that are definitly downtown JC, and they've come back and filmed a whole lot more recently.

Tyroc said...

The Back to the Future set was on the Universal lot and burned down in the fire they had there in 2008. (The clocktower and all that.)

Tyroc said...

Oh and Jamie Ray Newman is adorable, so I shall be watching Eastwick at least once.

WWWeaves said...

I adore Paul Gross, so Eastwick will get played in the background while I work on tomorrow's lecture on Sexually Transmitted Infections. (Ironic?)

I did not see the promo, so I do not know the context or the delivery, but during my traning, there were certainly times when I wanted the doctors I worked with the be better. Better doctors, better human beings...

Anonymous said...

The opening scene in the cafe and the exterior of the bar the ladies drink at are shot in Jersey City:

http://www.newyorkssixth.com/2009/09/lucky-7-basic-cafe-star-in-nbc-drama.html

Mackenzi said...

Eastwick is going on my viewing rotation. Not because it's good, it's cute, but not earth shattering. Fact is, I'm shallow and anything that allows Paul Gross to appear on my TV is good by me.

Pamela Jaye said...

what is the deal with all the young nurses who "didn't think it was going to be like this!!"

they went to nursing school, right? they had experience on the floor? didn't they at least watch ER?

there's no way you can graduate that innocent. it was just the same on Hawthorne. Meantime, Iraq nurse needs to go to med school. (or at least PA school)

Matt S. said...

Pamela Jayne----Hawthorne and Royal Pains were both renewed for
2nd Seasons for next summer. Royal Pains apparantly has picked up a nice sized following over the summer---my friend seemed to like it a good deal for whatever that's worth---i actually never saw it although i'll try and catch the reruns (or at least a daylong marathon that'll surely air the day the 2nd season starts)

Hawthorne i'd say you can delete because while it was watchable--i didn't think there was really anything there you havn't seen before--although it might be easy to say it was better then Mercy (which i didn't catch) but there were some plusses to it--- it was well acted enough, the ongoing sotry lines weren't bad, it got annoying to see jada pinkett be right all the time---but if you like hospital shows it wasn't half bad. (i honestly only watched it because i was a fan of Saving Grace so i would end up taping hawthorne so as not to miss Grace)

I would however recommend at least watching the last 2 or 3 eps of Mental if you did like it. I too enjoyed it here and there throughout the summer---and while its completely and totally dead----the last 2 that aired (they aired back to back in one two hour block) were both solid and def serve as a finale of sorts. I don't really know what else to say except if you find yourself with some time this weekend give the last couple eps of Mental a shot.

Jennifer said...

I never realized before how much Paul Gross looks like a cross between Chris Noth and John Barrowman. Is that just me?

Honestly, Eastwick is total cheese but I might watch it one more time. I can't explain it.

dez said...

Is Matt Dallas a regular on "Eastwick"? Because I might watch it just for that (Paul Gross is a bonus).

Anonymous said...

I am rooting against Eastwick so that Jaime can become a regular on Eureka. Her character was a great love interest for Carter.

WWWeaves said...

Jennifer, it is not just you, I kept thinking Barrowman. And wouldn't Barrowman have been yummy, too. It was so much better than I expected. If it can keep the light tone and have very pretty people flirting with each other, I will continue to watch.

Rebecca Romjin surprised me, she comes accross as very comfortable in her skin. And getting Newman OFF Eureka is one reason I hope this show goes.

Stacey said...

I also PAINFULLY watched Mercy! I could barely get through it! I am so upet with NBC for not coming up with a better ER replacement!

Anonymous said...

After having been insulted for years watching physicians on TV hold patients' hands, hang IVs and participate in other activities which are actually performed by nurses, I enjoyed watching Mercy, which from my personal experience as a nurse for over a decade, is the most "real" of the three tv series written about nurses. Granted, this is only the pilot, but many of the character flaws and strengths, rang true, and I liked seeing the tough nurse acting as a advocate for the obnoxious patient and then quietly going in to check on her later. I found it poignant and could easily see myself or many of my colleagues doing the same thing. I hope that this series is given a chance. I have only seen two episodes of Nurse Jackie, and the same of HawthoRNe, but I found this to be the best of the three by far. The others I wouldn't waste time on.

lois@loisbernardlcsw.com said...

Didn't watch Mercy but Eastwick to torment myself. What a travesty which ruined my memory of one of my favorite movies of all time. Please networks just how idiotic do you think we are?

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I must be missing a taste gene, but I love New England and Updike... And I enjoyed Eastwick a lot. It was a nice distraction. It may not win awards but it is FUN! Nothing wrong with it. If you want a good plot, just go to HBO.