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'New Amsterdam' review: Medical drama arrives on life support

Ryan Eggold stars as Dr. Max Goodwin in

Ryan Eggold stars as Dr. Max Goodwin in the hospital drama "New Amsterdam." Credit: NBC/Francisco Roman

THE SERIES "New Amsterdam"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m.  on NBC/4

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Brilliant, charming, bilingual and, of course, devilishly handsome Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is the new medical director of the oldest public hospital in America, New Amsterdam. He's arrived to cut through the bureaucracy and get doctors back to doing what they do best, which is cure the sick. On his first day at his first meeting, he fires some of the deadwood, then all heck breaks loose. Meanwhile, new cardiac surgical chief Dr. Floyd Reynolds  (Jocko Sims); another brilliant doctor, Dr. Lauren  Bloom (Janet Montgomery), and head of psychiatry Dr. Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) are each trying to make sense of this new force of nature in their midst, while juggling their own personal and professional crises.

This hospital drama was largely inspired by Dr. Eric Manheimer's nonfiction account of Bellevue Hospital ("Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital"), where he served as medical director.

MY SAY Why do the networks continue to make shows like this? Because viewers keep watching them. (Duh) Hospital dramas will be with us until the continents rejoin, until the sun flames out, until Earth is a cold black ember floating through the great empty void of the universe. Somewhere on this dark rock there will be a TV set, and on that set, a flickering image — the image, you guessed it, of a hospital drama.

That's OK. We get it. Hospital dramas are nuclear engines of plot production. People live, people die. Doctors hook up then unhook. There's passion! Love! Disease! There's a runaway girl whom only the good-hearted doctor can save. There's the pregnant woman who may lose the baby. There's the immigrant couple who just have to see their family again before the matriarch dies. The A, B and C stories intertwine like yarns rolled in a ball, and resolve — miraculously, joyfully — by the last act.

Cue to the emo cover of the Coldplay tearjerker "Fix You" -- "When the tears come streaming down your face/Cause you lose something you can't replace."

And in fact, "New Amsterdam" does cue to that emo cover, which is just about unforgivable — the only truly unforgivable moment in a pilot that teams with melodrama, sick kids, gorgeous doctors and the overwhelming cuteness of  Eggold.

"New Amsterdam" — not to be confused, by the way, with the 2008 Fox drama of the same name about a 400-year-old homicide detective — isn't bad so much as it is wearily predictable. We've seen this all before, but we keep coming back for more. Don't blame NBC, blame ourselves.

And the flickering image on the TV on the dead asteroid? That will be Eggold's kind, brilliant, soulful Dr. Goodwin looking into the camera, and then, with a rakish smile, saying: "Let's get into trouble again. Let's be doctors!"

BOTTOM LINE No, seriously, another network hospital show with all the same old predictable beats? Yes, sigh. Another one of those. Seriously.


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