Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scrubs's new class

     Bill Lawrence's Scrubs returned for it's second season on ABC last night.  (It originally ran for seven years on NBC).  It felt like a whole new show, and it was a little shaky, but since this was only the first hour, that can be forgiven.  That is, IF it improves quickly.  Here's what was good, and what was bad.

     The new characters are fun and interesting.  Not sure Lucy (Kerry Bishe) can fill Zach Braff's shoes, though.  Yeah, she is quirky, sweet, and naive.  Kind of like a slightly less female version of J.D.  However, she didn't have quite the level of likability that he always had.  She may, in time, grow to be a fitting main character, but she is clearly still finding her legs.  Cole and Drew had an easier time, perhaps because they were allowed to be their own people, instead of serving as a replacement for a beloved character. Cole (Dave Franco) brought a level of jerkiness not seen on the show regularly before, and Drew (Michael Mosely) seems to be the type to try to hide everything, but also has layers.  The romance blossoming between Drew and last season newbie Denise could turn out quite exciting.  The only issues with the new guys is that the show is focusing on them too quickly.  Last season a slew of new interns was brought on, presumably to prepare for this new direction, however it appears that only Denise (Eliza Coupe) made the cut to continue, and that is disappointing.  It would be easier to accept them if they had been eased in, but given a few more episodes, I think they will all pass muster.  None of the three faces insurmountable odds.  I also enjoyed the security guards and the Australian chick, and hope that they will become staples.  I even liked the slightly new theme song.

     The issue with the new Scrubs is the how the old characters are being treated.  Only one of the supporting cast turned up, though The Todd (Robert Maschio) was arguably the most prominent, save Ted (Sam Lloyd), so it is fitting that he will continue.  But what about the rest?  Kelso (Ken Jenkins) made the transition the easiest.  He seems fine where he is.  Janitor (Neil Flynn), too, who won't be part of the new show, had a nice little goodbye scene.  The others, not so much.  Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) and Dr. Turk (Donald Faison) are the only two returning full time.  Why would Dr. Cox stop being chief of medicine and take a teaching job?  What exactly happened to the old hospital, and who is in charge now?  Sure, I understand it was torn down and rebuilt on a campus, but why, and what happened to most of the staff?  For instance, I saw nurses.  Where is Carla (Judy Reyes)?  Apparently she is no longer in the cast at all, though her bio is still on the official website, because she wanted to remain a full time character, and she was told that wasn't feasible.  Why not?  And Dr. Turk, who did transition almost as well as Kelso, is still married to her, so how will he get full, rich stories if she won't be popping up from time to time?  Also, what is Elliot (Sarah Chalke) up to?  We saw her only briefly in the pilot.  She is signed to do a number of episodes, but in what capacity?

     The character of John Dorian suffers the most, though.  He is still the same guy he was, which is fine, but what has he been up to this past year?  He apparently wasn't working with is friends, but where is he?  Why exactly did he return?  He is still treated like one of the stars, despite splitting narration with Lucy, but he is only signed for a limited number of episodes.  I would assume his contract stipulated he remain in the theme song with top billing for now, but why?  Just because he's an executive producer?  It doesn't make sense, and it makes him seem watered down.  My biggest beef is that he had such a perfect, fitting series finale last spring, that anything more than an occasional guest spot for him seems to cheapen the new show.  Hopefully his transition out will come soon and with class.

     This new version of Scrubs is funny, I'll give it that.  It kept enough of the old elements to make the viewer feel comfortable continuing.  But it needs to up the ante and let the newbies prove themselves quickly, or this could be another failed After M*A*S*H*.

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