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Herc Says NBC’s DO NO HARM
Could Harm Your Brain Cells!!

I am – Hercules!!

A dreadful new NBC drama from writer-producer David Schulner (“Desperate Housewives,” “Tell Me You Love Me,” “Kings,” “Trauma,” “The Event”), “Do No Harm” is a Jekyll/Hyde homage about a fellow (longtime “Rescue Me” player Steven Pasquale) who spends precisely 12 hours a day as a responsible and respected brain surgeon and the other 12 as a maniacal party animal.

It is not to be confused with “My Own Worst Enemy,” the short-lived Jeykll/Hyde homage NBC tried with Christian Slater a little over four years ago.

Its pilot has been online for some time, so I won’t belabor all of the project’s many failings, but I will point out three of the biggest problems:

1) The surgeon appears to have been living with this problem a really long time, apparently decades, but has somehow not yet developed very effective strategies of neutralizing his party-boy alter-ego. (Oz, a character bitten by a werewolf on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” quickly devised a system of having his friends lock him up at night.)

2) There are people who know the surgeon turns into a maniac at 8:30 every night, but none think his disorder is reason enough to put the brakes on his medical career.

3) The surgeon’s personality disorder is so outlandish that when more conventional-feeling hospital subplots are introduced – a man with a facial recognition disorder and a woman who may be concealing domestic abuse turn up in the pilot – they feel like bland filler by comparison.

I don’t know how an hourlong as craptastic as “Do No Harm” finds its way to network primetime, but I can’t imagine it surviving beyond its initial 12-episode order.

USA Today says:

... If only Harm had stuck with "strange" and not barreled right on past to "stupid." …

The New York Times says:

... Mr. Pasquale, who was so good as the aggressively clueless Sean Garrity in “Rescue Me,” is a bit tentative here through two episodes, which is probably understandable, given the diffuseness of Jason-Ian, more of a construct than a pair of real characters …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... Unfortunately, "Do No Harm" suffers from a split personality of its own. Far more sentimental than thrilling — there are no real monsters under this hospital bed — it plays more like a mash-up of "A Gifted Man" and "The B— in Apartment 23." Which cannot be what anyone had in mind. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... The show is laughable, but I suspect the writers are dead serious. …

The Washington Post says:

... astonishingly dumb … Pasquale gives the Jason/Ian role his best shot, but he is dragged down by the bad writing and ridiculous transition from good guy to bad guy. And poor Phylicia Rashad shows up as the head of neurosurgery, playing the part with all the enthusiasm of someone called to jury duty. Viewers will feel about the same. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... a ridiculous show with plenty of lines of groaner dialogue. It's lousy with exposition ("I may be supplying experimental drugs to the chief of neurosurgery, but I still have standards," says one character and punny retorts ("Is there someone else?" asks fellow doc Lena Solis, who crushes on Cole. "You could say that," he replies). …

The Boston Globe says:

... pretty darned silly. … there are so many holes in logic in “Do No Harm,” not least of all the fact that a few people in Jason’s life know about his problem and they nonetheless let him continue to practice medicine. … It’s hard to believe that of all the pilot ideas flying around Hollywood, this is the best that NBC can do. Like “Deception,” “Do No Harm” is built on such a faulty, dated premise that it’s hard to imagine anyone in his or her right mind going for it.

Variety says:

... a modern, somewhat muddled twist on the Jekyll-and-Hyde story, albeit largely stripped of its macabre science-fiction element. If the underlying plot has exhibited endurance and then some, it's difficult to see how this serialized attempt will be able to replicate such longevity …

10 p.m. Thursday. NBC.

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