Tag Archives: The Mob Doctor

Fall 2012 Review: The Mob Doctor

2 Oct

The hardest shows to write about aren’t the worst or the best, but the most, well, blah. That’s the level of wordsmithery I’m consigned to. The Mob Doctor isn’t very good, but it’s hardly horrible.  Jordana Spiro plays a young doctor, Grace Devlin, who wants to progress in her medical career, but who is also in debt to the mob. That’s essentially the long and short of it; it’s two different shows that connect at a nexus in an attempt to put a twist on either of those genres, medical and mob, but mostly end up as a generic show that spans two genres rather than one.

Here’s the medical show: Grace is a classic doctor-who-cares-too-much who is trying to move up in the cuthroat world of surgery with a boss she doesn’t like, and who doesn’t like her, and an even higher boss that she both likes and is liked by, played my all-time blog favorite Zeljko Ivanek. She’s got a boyfriend (played by Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights’s QB1, Matty Saracen), a rival, and angers both by her willingness to break the rules and the law to help someone out of a jam, and by her tendency to whistle blow on her boss, which makes a viewer want to yell a classic The Wire “Chain of command!”  She’s clearly good at what she does but she risks alienating her coworkers with her attitudes and her recklessness.

Here’s the mob show: Spiro agreed to take on her brother’s debt to prevent him from being gunned down by mobster Morretti (The War at Home’s Michael Rappaport). She’s also buddy buddy with allegedly retired mobster Constantine (mob character veteran William Forsythe, who just played Manny Horvitz in Boardwalk Empire), having known him since childhood.  In the first episode, Moretti threatens Grace’s family if she doesn’t kill a patient in witness protection for him.  When she doesn’t, she makes a beeline to her friend Constantine’s house.  It turns out the witness was all part of a set up to take Moretti down so Constantine can reclaim his rightful position as Head of Mob.  He offers Grace a choice; get the hell out of Dodge (Chicago) or if she decides to say, she owes him now, with unspecified mob medical favors.  She, not wanting to leave her life and family, takes the latter. So, she’s torn between the two worlds, and you’ve got what’s likely twin procedural action.  She’ll have to do a surgery for the hospital, and do a surgery for the mob, all while avoiding on stepping on many sets of toes.

Note:  Two characters got to tell Spiro alternately, “we’re done here,” and “this isn’t over,” two phrases I would kill to have a chance to properly roll off in a nautral conversation and then walk away, authoratitvely but smoothly.

Will you watch it again? Nope. Honestly, it was much more blah (that’s that non-word again) than out and out bad, but there’s so many other shows to watch that one has to make their viewing choices carefully, and affirmatively;  when choosing, it makes sense to watch shows that you excited to see the next episode of rather than shows which you finish and merely say, “you know, that really was watchable,” and mean that as a backhand compliment.

Fall 2012 Previews and Predictions: Fox

18 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

Fox, loaded with terrible competition shows, which kill scripted tv, and with an hour less of programming than CBS, ABC and NBC, only features three new shows this fall, coming off a fairly successful season.  Let’s take a look.

The Mindy Project – 9/25

Mindy Kaling, The Office’s Kelly Kapur plays a gynecologist just over 30 who is only now realizing that her life is not a romantic comedy and trying to put it together.  If I created some sort of buzzometer based on internet chatter, this would go up near the top.  She’s basically a slightly more fleshed out, less extreme, and more competent version of Kelly, and co-stars include Groundhog’s Day Ned Ryerson, Stephen Tobolowsky, recurring character actor Chris Messina (The Newsroom, Six Feet Under, Ruby Sparks), True Blood anti-vampire crusader Anna Camp, and some British dude named Ed Weeks.  I’ve seen it, and while it’s not great off the bat, I have hope.

Verdict:  Renewal – I think Fox will be all behind The Mindy Project and looking to make it a success in any way possible, and pairing it with New Girl is a fantastic idea.  If it opens even okay, I think it’ll cruise towards renewal and hopefully develop into part of the new answer to the dying NBC Thursday night comedy block.

Ben and Kate – 9/25

Academy Award-winning writer Nat Faxon takes on the titular role as Ben, a mid-30s happy screw up who moves back home to live with his mores responsible and serious sister Kate, and help watch over Kate’s young daughter.  The premise does not sound particularly good, and the previews didn’t look great, but I’ve seen it, and it’s definitely promising.

Verdict: Renewal – I would never have given it this review if I hadn’t watched it already, and I honestly shouldn’t be giving it this review now, since it’s more of a vote based on my personal thoughts than on it’s objectively likelihood which always leads one to trouble (see:  picking 2 Broke Girls to fail quickly).  That said, it looks pretty good, and it’s on what could shape up to be a nice little Fox tuesday comedy block, so maybe if it gets caught up in that with New Girl and Mindy Project it’ll get just enough love.

The Mob Doctor – 9/17

My Boys’ own Jordana Spiro is a doctor with old famiy mob connections.  Somehow or other she gets pulled into managing some combination of regular doctoring and doctoring for the mob, and well, I’m not really sure.  I guess it was only a matter of time before we figured out a way to merge doctor show and gangster show.  I’m glad we did in theory, but probably not in practice.  It also co-stars fantastic that guy William Forsythe (He already has gangster experience as Manny Horvitz on Boardwalk Empire), former Dillon High QB Zach Gilford, and my all-time favorite TV recurring character actor Zeljko Ivanek.

Verdict:  13-  On my confidence meter, I think I’d be put this one up as fairly likely to be cancelled.  Looks bad, not supposed to be good, not a whole lot of advertising, and I’m just not feeling it, in my arbitrary “feel” method of prediction.