Those wanting a great new take on the network medical drama need not apply here, The Night Shift isn’t interested in shaking things up too much I’ll admit. But for me that was more than just fine, as I’ve been looking for a show to come along and fill the E.R.-shaped hole in my heart for years now. The cast of characters have a few clichés to be sure, and sometimes feel as though they’re trying to hit some sort of quota. There’s the in-the-closet gay doctor/military veteran who doesn’t want to be defined by his sexual orientation; the bumbling newbie who just can’t seem to get things right, making his getting something right a great victory; even the small-statured, hot-headed boss who we slowly discover has a heart of gold.
But for all of its clichés, it also has a lot of heart, and a great pace. Maybe I’m just a sucker, but I loved most of the characters on the show, even those that were predictable, and the trails they suffered while manning the night shift at their fictional San Antonio hospital. The focus is on the characters and their relationships first, and the medicine second, and that’s just the way it should be in a series such as this. Add to that the great pacing and writing that you’ll be treated to, including not some excellent character development, but also a willingness to surprise every now and again, and you have the making of a show worthy of filling that aforementioned hole I suffer from. I also must mention the a few stand out cast members including the always charming Jill Flint (Royal Pains), who seems right at home on the show, Freddy Rodríguez (Six Feet Under), a wonderful surprise in the show who is a bit of a slow burn, and Ken Leung (Rush Hour), who makes Topher the kind of character you want to grab a beer with.
The Night Shift is the kind of show any lover of the classic medical drama, any USA Network show, or just any feel good television generally should certainly take a look at sooner, rather than later. Sure you sometimes know what’s going to happen before it ever does, but not always, and there’s something to be said for that if you ask me. So if it’s your thing, then sit back, relax, and get invested in what I hope becomes a show that sees many season to come.