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Previewing NBC's 'Saving Hope'

Saving Hope is not just another medical drama. It’s a medical drama with ghosts. At least that’s how the show’s star, Erica Durance, described it in a network media session to promote the new show, which will air 13 episodes simultaneously on NBC and Canada’s CTV Thursdays this summer.

Saving Hope is not just another medical drama. It’s a medical drama with ghosts. At least that’s how the show’s star, Erica Durance, described it in a network media session to promote the new show, which will air 13 episodes simultaneously on NBC and Canada’s CTV Thursdays this summer.

Durance, best known for playing Lois Lane on Smallville for seven seasons, stars as Dr. Alex Reid, the chief surgical resident at Hope Zion. Alex is engaged to the hospital’s chief of surgery, Dr. Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks). Like Durance, Shanks is no stranger to the science fiction genre. He appeared on Smallville for several episodes as Carter Hall/Hawkman and is widely known for his role as Dr. Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1. When describing Alex and Charlie’s relationship at the media session, Shanks said simply, “She is the love of his life.”

In the pilot, Alex and Charlie are in the back of a cab on the way to their wedding when the cab gets into an accident. Charlie hits his head hard on the door, but he thinks he’s okay at first as he and Alex rush to help the cab driver and the driver of the other car. Then Charlie collapses and is rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage that leaves him in a coma. Alex is distraught and Charlie is confused as he witnesses the entire scene from outside his body, which sets up the “ghost” premise for the show.

Shanks described Charlie’s journey as being “a bit of a tourist in the in-between realm” and he said that because of whom Charlie is and what he knows about the hospital, he’s able to give the viewer inside information. “He’s able to tie together the different stories and what’s happening and why people are behaving a certain way,” Shanks explained, “And why certain people can be saved and certain people can’t.”

While Charlie tries to adjust to his new reality, Alex is doing everything she can to hold herself together as her life falls apart. “They’re in two different universes and they’re dealing with this tumultuous experience,” Durance said. “They’re both lonely and trying to figure out how to get their way back to each other.” One of the big dilemmas Durance’s character faces is overcoming her reliance on science and trying everything and anything she can to bring Charlie back. (That includes coma arousal therapy which leads to an awkward moment between Alex and another doctor). But she’s also dealing with the possibility that Charlie might already be gone and she has to figure out if she’s ready to say goodbye.

The arrival of hotshot orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Joel Goran, further complicates Alex’s life. Daniel Gillies, best known for his recurring role of Elijah on The Vampire Diaries, plays the surgeon and said that he would hesitate to call Joel a narcissist. “But I think that he is somebody who fairly vehemently puts himself at the center of his own universe,” Gillies went on to say at the media session. Joel and Alex had a bad breakup and she’s not thrilled that he’s back at the hospital while she’s trying to cope with Charlie’s crisis.

Each episode will feature flashbacks that show what Alex and Charlie’s life together was like before the accident to help the viewers understand their relationship better. Judging by the clips that have been released so far, I think there will be plenty of drama between all the doctors, personally and professionally as well as the patient subplots that a viewer would expect from a medical drama.

But for me, the best thing about this show is going to be the three main actors. Durance, Gillies and Shanks all have dynamic screen present and Durance seems to have great chemistry with both men, to the point there are already fanbase wars on Twitter and the show has not even aired yet.

Saving Hope is produced by Ilana C. Frank Films (ICFF) with Entertainment One (eOne), in association with CTV and NBC.  The series is executive-produced by Ilana Frank and David Wellington for ICFF, John Morayniss (The Firm, Haven) for Entertainment One and Lesley Harrison. Executive producers and show-runners are Morwyn Brebner (Rookie Blue) and Aaron Martin (Being Erica).  The series was created by Malcolm MacRury (Crash and Burn, Republic of Doyle) and Morwyn Brebner.  David Wellington directed the pilot. The show will air Thursdays on NBC at 9 pm beginning June 7.

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About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.