A new TV sea­son, a new crop of cops and doc­tors

We love these shows be­cause they teach us about our­selves

StarMetro Vancouver - - DAILY LIFE - Jo­hanna Sch­neller

It’s net­work TV fall launch time and you know what that means: Cops and doc­tors!

Clas­sic pro­gram­mers love these gen­res so much, I’m amazed they haven’t yet com­bined them in a one-hour drama: Cops han­dle shoot­ings and ac­ci­dents in the first half; doc­tors stitch vic­tims and perps back to­gether in the sec­ond. Call it Law and Or­derly. You’re wel­come.

But why are these se­ries so beloved, be­sides their im­me­di­ate stakes and open-and­shut sto­ry­lines?

Be­cause, dear reader, they teach us about our­selves. The se­ries that suc­ceed are snapshots of our cul­tural con­cerns.

The new hospi­tal drama New Am­s­ter­dam (Global, Tues­days), for ex­am­ple, set in “Amer­ica’s old­est pub­lic hospi­tal,” re­as­sures us that though North Amer­ica’s med­i­cal sys­tem is bro­ken, it’s not ir­repara­ble.

Its hero, Dr. Max Good­win (Ryan Eg­gold), wants to do Max­i­mum Good (get it?).

He spends his days ask­ing, “How can I help?” and say­ing things like, “Let’s be doc­tors again.”

It’s a “Let’s feel bad so we can feel good again” kind of show.

But in case watch­ing doc­tors and hos­pi­tals fight against their own de­sire to earn a lot of money isn’t dra­matic enough for you, Episode 1 also fea­tures an Ebola scare and a can­cer sur­prise.

OK now, what are the new cop shows telling us? Well, ac­cord­ing to FBI (also on Global, New Am­s­ter­dam, star­ring Ryan Eg­gold as Dr. Max Good­win, re­as­sures us that though North Amer­ica’s med­i­cal sys­tem is bro­ken, it’s not ir­repara­ble, writes Jo­hanna Sch­neller. In FBI we learn that cops, even fed­eral ones, re­ally care. Tues­days), from TV over­lord Dick Wolf — he cre­ated the Law & Or­der fran­chise, as well as the Chicago fran­chise (Med, Fire, Jus­tice, P.D.) — it’s that cops, even fed­eral ones, re­ally care.

Its hero, Mag­gie (Missy Pere­grym, grad­u­at­ing from Rookie Blue), is an FBI agent in the New York of­fice who sure seems to cry a lot. Nathan Fil­lion teaches us that it’s never too late to find out what you’re made of.

She says things like, “He’s young and he’s scared — I know how to han­dle him.”

Un­for­tu­nately for view­ers who don’t like their di­a­logue spoon-fed to them, she also says things like, “Isn’t that place the crème de la crème of the white supremacy move­ment?”

I sup­pose FBI is also telling us this: Net­works are bank­ing that there are still enough view­ers who are too tired at the end of their work days for ca­ble/stream­ing se­ries and want TV com­fort food.

Plus, FBI is a re­ally good train­ing ground for ac­tors look­ing to per­fect their “star­ing in­tently at com­puter screen” ex­pres­sions.

More binge watch­ing at thes­tar.com/en­ter­tain­ment

FRAN­CISCO RO­MAN/NBC

MICHAEL PARMELEE/CORUS EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

TONY RIVETTI/BELL ME­DIA

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