"Monday Mornings" Requires Patience

When you combine the writing skills of CNN Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta with the producing skills of David E. Kelley, you get a TV series with some very high credentials. This is the case with "Monday Mornings" the new TNT series which is based on Gupta's novel and is being produced by Kelley. There may be an abundance of medical shows on television already but this one has "special" written all over it.

The title of the series refers to a weekly post mortem of the cases the doctors have handled during the past week. They get together on Monday mornings and go over what happened and how it can all be done better. The meeting is chaired by Dr. Harding Hooten (Alfred Molina), the chief of surgery.

Some of the doctors under Hooten's care are Dr. Jorge Villanueva (Ving Rhames), Dr. Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber), Dr. Tina Ridgeway (Jennifer Finnegan), Dr. Sydney Napur (Sarayu Rao), Dr. Sung Park (Keong Sim) and Dr. Buck Tierney (Bill Irwin). They make up a fascinating group and their professional and personal lives are explored in this series.

The main thing this series has going for it is Kelley's brilliance in putting a show like this together. In the past he did it with "LA Law," "Picket Fences," "Boston Public," "Chicago Hope," "Ally McBeal," "The Practice/Boston Legal" and the underappreciated "Harry's Law."
He always staffs his shows with solid actors and then provides then with intriguing storylines.

What this series has going against it is the fact it seems to be a rehash of "Gray's Anatomy" mixed with "ER". So much of it seems old and there is nothing quirky or unique on display to grab the immediate attention of the public. Perhaps Molina's character will become the standout with his display of softness towards the patients and toughness towards the doctors. Or even Bamber who at first is just this side of blah. He is no McDreamy yet by a long shot.

If "Monday Mornings" lives up to Kelley's potential it could prove to be a huge hit for TNT who will have a solid one two punch on Monday nights with "Dallas" at 9 and this one at 10. Let's hope the two shows enhance each other and draw a crowd.

Although it didn't start off with a bang there would seem to be a pretty good chance Kelley's show will pull in an audience and end up being one of TNT's best and most entertaining shows. Keep an eye on it for a few weeks and watch that happen - or not.

"Monday Mornings" premieres Monday, February 4 at 10PM on TNT.