Monday, April 20, 2009

Sneak Preview Review of Nurse Jackie!

I caught the first episode of Nurse Jackie a few months ago. It's to debut on Showtime on June 8 at 10:30 PM (ET/PT) - right after the season premier of Weeds - and I've been dying to tell you about it, but had to respect the "embargo" (I do enjoy tossing around terms like that - makes me feel like a real inside reviewer), but I can tell you about it, at last, right now, so here goes -

First, the half-hour episodes star Edie Falco, just great of late as Carmela on The Sopranos, and in fact in every TV show or movie in which she appears, and she's feisty, sharp, tough, vulnerable as Nurse Jackie.

There haven't been too many nurse shows on television - the last ones were The Nurses, The Doctors and The Nurses, and The Nurses, three versions of the same show, the first two prime time, the last a daytime soap, back in the 1960s. There have been plenty of excellent, provocative, even powerful nurses on doctor shows ranging from St. Elsewhere to Chicago Hope and ER, but they have usually been in supporting roles - Nurses Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) and Lockhart (Maura Tierney) on ER were exceptions. So, with that as backdrop, it's especially refreshing to see a show that centers completely around a nurse.

The elements of the story are mostly familiar. Jackie stands up to arrogant doctors, is smarter than some of them, and is willing to break the rules to save a life. She's on pain killers (ala House), and of course is sleeping with at least one doctor. She likes sex.

There's a jolting surprise at the end of the first episode - along the lines of our finding Furillo in bed with Joyce at the end of the pilot of Hill Street Blues - but I'm not going to tell you what it is, and it's not specifically like that Hill Street Blues scene, it's reminiscent of the shock value....

You'll have to see the premier of Nurse Jackie to see what I mean - you won't be disappointed.

See also Nurse Jackie at 6

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