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Hercules Feels OK About
David E. Kelley’s Latest Hospital Drama MONDAY MORNINGS!!

I am – Hercules!!

A new TNT hospital drama distinguished by a major league creator-showrunner David E. Kelley (“Doogie Howser,” “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Legal”) and a tremendous cast including Jamie Bamber (“Battlestar Galactica”), Ving Rhames (the “Mission: Impossible” movies), Bill Irwin (“Rachel Getting Married,” “Lights Out”), Jennifer Finnegan (“Close to Home”) and Alfred “Throw Me The Whip” Molina (“Law & Order: Los Angeles”), using something akin to his real British accent.

But my favorite character by far is the blunt brain surgeon with the broken English played by “Glee” vet Keong Sim. He made me remember a bit how I miss Kelley’s fallen “Chicago Hope” lynchpin Dr. Jeffrey Geiger.

My least favorite so far is the Bamber character, a haunted surgeon still reeling from childhood trauma. His stuff rattles with dour cliché, and Kelley would be wise to give him more original things to do.

The series is based on the 2012 novel by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who co-wrote the second episode with Kelley. The title comes from Monday-morning “morbidity & mortality” sessions the hospital conducts to discuss what doctors could have done better on cases with poor outcomes.

I found “Mornings” markedly more enjoyable than “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Mob Doctor” and “Do No Harm,” and I think I like it better than “Harry’s Law,” Kelley’s last series. But it’s a far cry from Kelley’s old ‘90s hospital “Chicago Hope.”

I’ll say this for “Monday Mornings.” I liked its pilot well enough to watch episode two, and episode two enough to watch episode three.

Hitfix says:

... it feels like Kelley woke up one day and decided to remind everybody what he could do when he stopped playing the fool. It’s not perfect, but it’s easily the most restrained — and satisfying — Kelley series since those first couple of years of “The Practice.”…

The New York Times says:

... it’s a typical David E. Kelley creation in all the wrong ways: ensemble drama as a steel-cage match of emoting and moralizing, with lectures and grand gestures given precedence over coherent storytelling. His usual saving graces, sharp characterization and unforced humor, aren’t in evidence through three episodes. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... The patients are there almost as a pretext: for the doctors' pain or material for the triumphs (which Dr. Hooten will in any case deflate by pointing out some undotted "I" or uncrossed "T" in their preparation or procedure). Even so, full-fledged human beings are slow to emerge; the characters are long on attitude but short on detail. …

The Chicago Sun-Times says:

... a solid-but-not-particularly-special medical drama …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... the series boasts a superb cast; credible, multidimensional characters; and emotional payoffs far beyond mere sighing over Dr. McDreamy. …

The Washington Post says:

... takes what might have been a fresh angle and overdoses it with the usual sappy storylines and cheap, melodramatic editing style. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... Unlike "Harry's Law," "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Legal," "Monday Mornings" is more like Mr. Kelley's "The Practice." It's Mr. Kelley in serious mode. Some characters still exhibit eccentric traits but "Monday Mornings" is not jokey. Neither is the show all that remarkable.…

The Boston Globe says:

... a straightforward, capable medical drama that is marred by one-dimensional characters. …

The Boston Herald says:

... Kelley is known for creating wonderfully memorable, sometimes deliriously neurotic characters. Judging from the writing here, it’s as if he’s been medicated into a stupor. Diagnosis: Waste of time. …

USA Today says:

... while not as outlandishly ridiculous as NBC's dead-on-arrival doctor drama Do No Harm, is equally unwatchable and even more dreary. …

Variety says:

... periodically interesting but also oddly off-putting and manipulative -- too often wielding a bludgeon instead of a scalpel. …

10 p.m. Monday. TNT.

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