Andrew Mercado on TV: Seven’s new drama with the girl from Revenge

‘You would think this multicultural, multi-sexual show would be brilliant, but…’

There were a lot of promos for The Resident during the Winter Olympics. All I ever remembered from them was that the girl from Revenge must have been The Resident because she was front and centre of Seven’s campaign.

Um, no – everyone in the show is a resident except Emily VanCamp, who actually plays a nurse.

• No second medical miracle for Seven as The Resident launches

TV doctors are hot right now and after the breakout success of The Good Doctor, Seven must have hoped it would have another blockbuster on its hands. Um, no, because The Resident only attracted half The Good Doctor’s audience. And got beaten by Travel Guides on Nine.

That’s a shame because The Resident had an outrageous opening concept about a struggling resident (played by Bruce Greenwood) who keeps killing his patients instead of saving them. That left it to the surrounding residents to cover up his mistakes and figure out how to get rid of their star surgeon, who was referred to as “McDreamy”. Yep, that was a Grey’s Anatomy reference in a pop-eating-pop-culture moment. And it’s just the sort of cheekiness one could expect from Aussie director Phillip Noyce, who is behind the first two episodes.

I have always loved that Phillip Noyce has never been a film snob who thought TV was beneath him. His breakthrough moment was 40 years ago with the iconic Australian movie Newsfront, but within just a few years he leapt to television to make The Dismissal and it became an instant classic too. Since then, he has continued to jump between movies and TV, and good on him for that.

He was also an executive producer on the first season of Revenge so no doubt he had some say in bringing Emily VanCamp onto his newest show. But The Resident’s so-so ratings, both here and in the US, suggest that the success of The Good Doctor was a one-off and inexplicable phenomenon. You know, like Australian Ninja Warrior was (and Australian Spartan was not).

The only medical specialists in Here And Now, the new HBO drama from Alan Ball, are therapists because these people have lots of crises. There are life coaches, fashion marketers and video game designers. Tim Robbins is a philosophy professor and Holly Hunter plays his wife.

With lead actors like that, you would think this multicultural, multi-sexual show would be brilliant, but after two episodes, it is verging on farce as it tries to shoehorn in every hot button issue going. There are Christian picketers outside abortion clinics, a cross-dressing Muslim child and a suggestion of something supernatural, so where it’s all heading is anyone’s guess. Maybe it needs someone a bit boring, like a good doctor perhaps? But knowing this show’s crazy premise, it’s more likely to bring in a naughty nurse.

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