Red Band Society (2014–2015)
User ReviewsReview this title
I honestly think it was one of the best light-hearted and decent shows i've seen. The topic of patients in a hospital hints at the seriousness of their problems but shows it in a fun way. I love the way they portrayed the child in the coma too. Hope it succeeds!!!!!
The pilot did a lot right:
- The pace (quiet and slow) was appropriate for this type of series
- An adequate amount of humor injected throughout
- Competent performances by the cast
but it needs to improve on this:
- The coma narration needs to be less cheesy
- The characters need to stop trying so hard to be "hip" or "anti- establishment"
- The show can be pretty cheesy at its attempts at drama (but this is forgivable as a show of this nature will more often than not lend itself to cheesiness)
Overall, it's clear that, with the right amount of time and the adequate honing of acting and scripts, Red Band Society could well be one of the best dramedies on TV. It's definitely not there yet, but you can feel that it's not too far away.
Rating = 7.5/10 (rounded to 8 - although that 8 may be a smidge overgenerous)
I did not watch it long enough to find out what the 'Red Band' thing was about. I have both worked in a hospital and have been a patient. A red band means you have an allergy. You have a regular hospital band with your name and information and then a red band saying what you are allergic to. So unless these kids are bound together because penicillin gives them hives that's another thing the writers totally blew.
I tried watching one episode of the red band society while putting my "doctor-spectacles" aside, pretending to be a non-medical person. I failed after 10 minutes. While the plot tried to convince the audience that life in the hospital can be really cool, I couldn't help but notice something terribly missing and shallow about the story. (again, while keeping that "I-dont- work-in-a-children's-hospital" state of mind). I found it difficult to connect with the characters in the story. Even with the doctor. Im impressed with portrayal of the nurse's character Octavia. Great acting. Overall, everyone seemed kind of 2-dimensional and lonely. They come into the hospital to form new bonds, as if they all came in empty handed without existing family support. They probably do, just not emphasized yet-which hopefully they will soon). When patients do come to the hospital, either for long or short periods, it is usually the time when families and loved ones converge and form stronger bonds to support each other in this vulnerable moment. Wish they had emphasized on individual stories, strengths and moral support before they all jump right in to newly-found belongingness and brotherhood. I hope they try to de-romanticize the plot a little bit more in order to attract more sympathizing viewers.
Now doctor-spectacles back on. I have never seen chronically-comatosed patient not intubated; a cancer patient on chemotherapy with no hair on the scalp, yet with bushy eyebrows; a lonely surgeon who rarely hangs out with his own colleagues.. The show could probably do better.
This show may only go for one season but I would recommend everybody watch it. It's that special mixture of funny and emotional all the while making you reflect on your own life, in a good way. Seriously watch it. It's super good.
It is a good thing this takes place in a hospital because Spencer will need all the staff available to try and save this lack luster, doesn't make any sense program. Oh but wait you say, these kids are very sick. To that I say bull----! This is not the way any hospital works. Except for maybe LA. I know, because I spent time in some. I have stage 4 Carcinoid Syndrome. It is a form of Cancer that effects your intestines and other organs. It is very rare and there is no cure in its late stages.
This show makes a mockery of those of us that are really sick and the hospitals we get treated in.
The show starts with a boy (Charlie) narrating to the viewers in a coma. He begins to introduce the main characters in the show, each with a medical condition that forces them to live within a fictional hospital set in California. It starts like an episode of House where a character living their regular, every-day life is suddenly interrupted by an acute attack of a new onset medical condition. In this case, a spoiled teenage cheer leading captain, Kara, who treats the remaining team as scum beneath her shoe, collapses to the ground in the middle of an attempted pyramid. She is rushed to the hospital where we are then shown that she becomes temporary roommates with our narrator.
The show continues with introduction of the remaining characters including two troubled youths (Astro and Leo) who are first introduced as they are caught smoking marijuana in a hospital closet showing their rebellious attitude towards their caregivers and hospital policy. They are caught by Octavia Spencer (Nurse Jackson), who is shown to be the authority character with an edge, but who has a soft side for her inpatients. She takes them to their classroom, from which they were playing hooky, and we are introduced to an additional cast member, Emma- a young girl suffering from anorexia. They give insight to a possible love situation that may have existed between her and Leo, who has been in the hospital the longest, and is therefore the most experienced, knowledgeable and coolest.
We are then introduced to character Jordi, a boy who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma from a foreign hospital and is here to become a new patient of Dr. Jack McAndrew, the hip, young, understanding pediatrician who cares for the unit of which all our characters stay. Jordi explains his situation to Dr. McAndrew, explaining that his mother died, and hasn't a clue of his fathers whereabouts, but would like the kind doctor to treat his disease (God bless Healthcare?). Dr. McAndrew reluctantly agrees and Jordi becomes our new inpatient, and new Red Band Society member. He is taken up to the unit where he is introduced to his new room mate Leo. After an initial face off, they become instant friends and decide to throw a party for Jordi's supremely fast surgery scheduled the next day.
Astro is supposed to be the suave character of the show, which he does rather well, but is placed in many poorly written situations where he is to exemplify his sexuality by succumbing to raging hormones. He seems to be the one with all the great ideas, including stealing an attending's car to go buy beer with Leo and Jordi. I will not comment on how easy it was to steal an attending's car from hospital valet, but they are caught, and not reprimanded for their actions after Astro fakes shortness of breath and collapses.
The party is finally thrown thanks to a pot-head philanthropist, and our characters magically make their way up to the roof to sing song and drink all under Dr. McAndrew's watch. This unrealistic feel good approach to hospital care is highly inappropriate, and I can only imagine is used to the viewers some sympathy to their characters life in a medical ward. Leo gives each character a red band which represents a significant event that happened to him during his stay in the hospital. It becomes a flavorless exchange of emotions, a scene which had much potential but becomes an afterthought.
But wait, the show hasn't forgot about Charlie! Charlie continues to narrate for us and even communicate with those who enter his "In limbo" space, like Emma during a medical episode where she becomes unconscious. His side of the story is rather tame and consists of a young gentleman who visits him on a regular basis to play him guitar songs. This man is revealed to be his father under the pretense of a hospital performer. During Emma's time in limbo Charlie explains his need for pizza to bring him out of his coma, and to explain to his father that his state is not his father's fault. The show ends with some brief scenes of intimacy between our new characters and seems unnecessarily rushed for substance in future episodes.
Overall, the show is highly cliché with overused motifs and would have greater potential if the writers placed a bit more emphasis on realism and more believable emotional connections.
The jokes are old with a new environment and it involves the same inane, slanderous, stereotyping that all other sitcoms have, hoping to appease the audience of morons.
Unfortunately that is where they will succeed, but I don't think this show will last past one season.
When will writers be original instead of re-inventing the wheel?
Good luck to the writers when they are looking for another job after this show bombs.
The show's set up, as a breakfast club of sorts, is problematic for the TV show format as hospitals are very temporary places. In fact, I'll go far enough on a limb to say, that this is the worst idea for a TV show when a movie would be so much better with this premise.
In the pilot, Leo gives a speech to the group about how they're all united by their illnesses (and obviously being in the hospital on the same date) and must wear red bands in solidarity. So as a result, we're actively rooting for people to stay sick and hospital bills to go through the roof. This is probably a health care reform opponent's nightmare scenario: That as soon as we start being generous with free health care, kids will start living in the hospital.
The band leader of the group is the soft, sensitive Leo, who is as close to the manic pixie dream guy I've ever seen. It seems like everyone from Emma (a broadly drawn stereotype of an arty kid with her trademark fedora), to Dash who man-crushes on him pretty heavily, to the nurses, is inexplicably drawn to him.
The show also heightens the romance angle a little too much and it's moderately disappointing that their choosing to make romances happen with the adults. The British quack doctor is naturally attracted to the only other black woman on the show as if it's simply not OK to have unattached characters. Likewise, the handsome doctor claims to be bad with women even though but has bedded every character he's set his eyes on.
For some reason, the show (because of the novelty factor and a few strong performances) is still watchable and there might be a range of opinions on how people respond to these characters.
Perhaps its initial audience tuned in expecting a more traditional adult medical drama. None stuck around long enough to catch that the dialog and jokes were far from juvenile. Any families expecting a cute and corny feel good pick-me up would be turned off the by its seriousness and mature dialog: "More like 68. You do me and I'll owe you one".
The drama might have been designed to be short lived. The patients had life threatening illnesses and not all can be survivors. Had there been another season it would be a different cast of sick kids each year, with only doctors and nurses roles recurring. That's not the formula at all. Would another character enter a coma to be the wise and sarcastic narrator watching events play out?
The series went so far as to treat mental disease seriously and shun pity. A scene where a cancer patient crashes a homecoming dance turned pity party for an undeserving cheerleader queen (also a terminally ill patient), dissing her on stage (much to her delight), should have become a classic. Once I might have been upset that a clever, original show not fitting the mold was too unpopular to continue, while Kardashians and formula procedural dramas reign on for years. Now only count myself privileged for having seen it.
It was bad like really bad, the precious 15yr old fans with their tumblrs and taylor swift posters were doing everything to keep this piece of fecal matter above water but they failed. haha
First it's a bunch of teens living in a hospital/5 star resort. they Dr. Mcdreamy Jack McAndrew where you KNOW they will have an episode where some fat ugly girl throws herself at him.
Then octiva just yells at people like some she is on crazy pills.
The teens are so one dimensional and terrible at acting, they just throw side comments and wear try and "act nerdy/cool/deep" the show is just painfully written, this some of the worst writing I have ever seen on television, thumbed me down all you want it's not going to bring back this steaming pile of fecal matter.
didn't like my review? does it matter? Did you read it? you did read it, so I wasted your time.
Me: 1 Red band society fans: 0