The stars of Saving Hope. Paging Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard…

CTV sent a prescription along with their screener for tonight’s premiere episode of Saving Hope (9 p.m.). “Apply one dose of Saving Hope to dilated pupils,” it advised.
It might help to already have pupils dilated from recreational drugs to best enjoy tonight’s episode. The series is sorta Grey’s Anatomy meets Dead Like Me.
The star couple from fictional Hope Zion hospital, Drs. Harris and Reid (Michael Shanks and Erica Durance) are in a limo on their way to their wedding when they are T-boned by  another car. Harris heroically saves the other driver then collapses. His bride-to-be yells for a doctor (although, wait a minute, she is one).
Harris dies on the operating table–or does he? He appears to hover over himself, ghost-like. Wake up, he says to himself, or viewers.
Reid doesn’t seem to react like somebody who’s whole world has just been T-boned. You’d think she just lost her dog.
Distracting her is the arrival at the same hospital of her ex-lover, a very serious star surgeon named Joel Goran (Daniel Gillies). Goran has a New Zealand accent and doesn’t shave and you just know these two are going to throw another shrimp on the barbie.
Not before Reid tries some radical therapy, like stripping down to her bra and panties and straddling her comatose almost-hubby on his hospital bed. Lucky stiff!
This failed to revive him but worked for me. Durance, a Calgary native best known from playing Lois Lane on Smallville, is winning and watchable. Shanks (Stargate SG-1) commits to the tricky role of playing dead but you wonder just how long the character can keep haunting the hospital. If the role was played by a real dead guy, like Leslie Nielsen, then they’d have something.
There’s a scene toward the end of tonight’s pilot that seemed pretty maudlin and reach-y to me, but, then again, I’m not exactly in the Grey’s Anatomy target demo.
Wendy Crewson, Maggie Lin and Gavin Murphy also get some face time on the series.
Saving Hope premieres tonight on both NBC and CTV. Crafty of NBC to slot it in at the same hour as ABC’s Grey’s. Some viewers looking for their fresh episode hospital TV fix may choose to sample.
CTV’s note said to “re-apply for 12 weeks” but since there was no concurrent prescription for no-doze I think I may already be cured. My guess is that this could be another Combat Hospital, a made-in-Canada co-pro that opens big in Canada but never takes off in the U.S.
Read more on Durance, Shanks and Gillies off last week’s CTV upfront interviews in this story I wrote for The Canadian Press.


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