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The Telefile
<I>Three Rivers</i>: Yet Another Mediocre Medical Drama

CBS' spin attempt to make a House-like series debuted last night, but while there were patients of the week introduced via bizarre scenarios, the doctor in charge isn't nearly as cranky or believable. Really, am I supposed to believe that there is a cardio transplant specialist who is going to sit and hold his patient's hand and wants everyone to call him Andy? In my experience surgeons are far too busy and self-important to allow for either of those scenarios. This isn't Everwood. This is a seemingly large hospital, given that they have an entire transplant team and a jet at the ready.

I might be able to get past the way too nice doctor, if there were another single character on the show who I found remotely interesting. There's Miranda (Katherine Moennig), who is basically a Meredith Grey clone. Seriously, she's the messed up offspring of a lauded former surgeon who has abandonment issues since her father was married to his work. She also sorts that drab dowdy hair that Meredith is often so fond of. It wasn't clear if she's part of Andy's transplant team, or just is another surgeon, because her case wasn't a transplant candidate and was just a simple surgery. Then there's the wisecracking doctor David (Daniel Henney) who seems to be Andy's right hand man, but didn't do much of anything except eat all the time. There's Ryan (Christopher J. Hanke) who is the transplant coordinator and is all fresh-faced and principled. A nice nurse-type person Pam (Justina Machado) who really had absolutely nothing to do except relay messages, so it's hard to tell what her actual job is. Then there's Alfre Woodard. She's supposed to be running this joint, and she's tough, but she's got a sentimental sappy side that makes her too nice and forgiving. She'd have been far more entertaining if she were just a lay-down-the-law woman in charge.

Then there's Andy himself. One Mr. Alex O'Loughlin, who has some loyal fans from his stint on Moonlight. While I wasn't particularly bowled over by him on that show, I understand the appeal of him as a brooding detective/vampire. The allure of vampires is very powerful these days. But here's he's playing a shiny and happy doctor who so far seems very one dimensional, and attractive isn't really enough to necessarily carry a series.

On the positive side, the redone pilot (the one that aired) was a marked improvement from the one they'd originally sent out. It was better paced, and transplant coordinator boy fared the best in this redo, as he's far less incompetent now. Unfortunately, the cases weren't anything that I haven't seen before on ER/Grey's/House/Private Practice/Hawthorne/Nurse Jackie or any of the other recent medical dramas that are filling the airwaves, and I think that transplants alone could get old or limiting week after week. But I won't be all that surprised if this turns into a procedural hit for the network. It just doesn't offer anything particularly special. That said, I will probably end up recording it more often than not, but only because The Amazing Race has a tendency to start late, so I'll be inflating their viewers without even meaning too. Tricky, CBS. Very tricky.

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