Starring: Marcia Gay Harden, Luis Guzman, Raza Jeffrey, Bonnie Somerville, Harry Ford, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Melanie Chandra, Kevin Dunn, Adina Porter (?)
It was nice seeing Adina Porter, who has given us some really great recurring characters on True Blood and The Newsroom be completely wasted here. I honestly don’t know why she was in the pilot. Anyone could have filled the very little screentime she had. If she’s staying with the show, I hope they expand her role.
Code Black is an inoffensively average medical drama for people who want medical drama, but aren’t into all the drama of Grey’s Anatomy. This one is a bit more focused on the “medical” part, than the “drama” part.
Anchored by Marcia Gay Harden, who I love, and has had much more difficult roles than this, the show just flows along as the blueprints for medical drama pilots have been laid down for a very long time, and there’s a proven formula to work with. Introduce some newbies (Ford, Hollingsworth, Chandra, Somerville), a rule breaking doctor (Harden), her boss (Dunn), her rival (Jeffrey), and her BFF (Guzman), and you’ve got the makings of a medical drama semi-hit.
I definitely didn’t hate the pilot, but it lacked that extra special quality that a show has where you know it stands out, where it feels different, and where you know you’re coming back for more. Code Black is incredibly formulaic, which isn’t a problem if you just LOVE medical dramas and are super excited about having an option other than Grey’s Anatomy. Code Black is for you.
But everyone else? It didn’t feel original, it didn’t grip me, and I felt like Harden could have been given a better show. And, if I’m being honest, Luis Guzman isn’t believable (to me at least) as a doctor. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many of his roles, but I couldn’t get past him being a doctor and there being something wrong with that. He works as comic relief, and maybe I could have bought him as a nurse, but as a doctor? I dunno. I don’t think so.
I doubt Code Black will stick around too long, but then again, I said the same thing about Mysteries Of Laura, and look where we are now.
FINAL GRADE: C+