Monday Mornings: Just What the Doctor Ordered?

MondayMornings_castTNT on Monday night premiered Monday Mornings, from David E. Kelley and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D. (on whose book the series is based). On a TV landscape that plays host to only one  resilient hospital drama, is it just what the doctor ordered?

MM (love it just for the monogram!) follows the doctors of Chelsea General as they go about saving lives and, with less enthusiasm, face Morbidity & Mortality meetings in the dreaded Room 311, in which they are called on the carpet to account for (sometimes fatal) shortcomings in patient care.

Alfred Molina stars as Dr. Harding Hooten, the chief of staff who leads the M&Ms with an iron fist and steely glare. Among his staff, you met:

* Dr. Jorge Villanueva (played by Ving Rhames), a highly respected trauma chief as gentle as he is imposing in appearance. If pressed for a knee-jerk and most likely spot-on diagnosis, he’s your guy.

* Dr. Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber), an elite neurosurgeon who in the premiere made a call that came back (and will continue) to haunt him, rattling as it did old demons. He is very close with…

* Dr. Tina Ridgeway (Jennifer Finnigan), a brilliant neuro whose home life is an apparent mess. Seriously, you may as well stamp an expiration date on the beleaguered husband’s forehead. She is besties with…

* Dr. Sydney Napur (Sarayu Rao), a pitbull who suffers no fools. She regularly butts heads with Dr. Lieberman (played by Jonathan Silverman aka Finnigan’s real-life hubby), and where there’s smoke…. etcetera.

* Transplant specialist Dr. Buck Tierney, played by Bill Irwin, is the resident ass — and that’s exactly what he makes of himself next week when circling a dying patient, waiting for organs. David E. Kelley, while otherwise restrained here when it comes to his trademark character quirks, gave this guy squeaky shoes.

* Dr. Sung Park (Keong Sim) is dangerously game to play with the latest toys and techniques. He received from Kelley an absurdly fractured grasp of English and zero bedside manner. Next week he delivers the memorable prognosis, “Do not? Dead.”

* Dr. Michelle Robidaux (Emily Swallow), a mere 20-something resident, is the typical eager beaver amongst weary vets.

The pilot, I thought, was strong, though I’d argue that Week 2 really illustrated the show’s promise, when several of the doctors gets involved in the case of a child prodigy, and Tierney is targeted by an M&M. But what did you think of Monday Mornings?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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45 Comments
  1. Perhaps Emily Owens should transfer to another hospital for her internship. ;)

  2. PJfan says:

    I thought it was pretty good.
    Hearing Pearl Jam’s “JUST BREATHE” in the opening segment helped set the tone for me!

    • SoS says:

      TNT should send you something as a thank you. I wanted to give this a pass despite Jamie Bamber, but using PJ in the pilot has to be rewarded…

      • Magically Suspicious says:

        I was going to watch this ONLY for Mr. Bamber, but hearing that PJ….especially “Just Breathe”…. is in the pilot, I’ll definitely see if I can catch a replay or find it online.

  3. jasie says:

    I really enjoyed it and think it can shape up to be a really strong show.

  4. forwarddad says:

    Liked a lot .

  5. Lola says:

    I may be in the minority, but I thought it was really, really bad. Poorly acted (which is odd because I normally like the stars), poorly written, kind of boring, all over the place, and cliche to boot.

  6. tp says:

    I enjoyed it. The stark whiteness of the o.r. threw me for a loop especially after on Grey’s it’s dark.

  7. susela says:

    A stark relief from the cloying cuteness that Grey’s has become. Real medicine, gripping stories, fine cast. My hands were sweating during the M&Ms! I’m looking forward to making this a regular Monday appointment.

  8. Paul8148 says:

    It was good. I was interesting to see if it work with Dallas (by the way how are they going to write Ann out of that?) and it works fine.

  9. M3rc Nate says:

    Loved it. Im shocked at the ratings (on this site). It was the perfect mixture of up-lifting, in depth, realistic, dramatic, and gritty IMO. Only negative is i know they are building up to the blonde (married) cheating on her husband with Jamie Bamber, and i hate cheating story lines. However i get it…doctors cheat, so it wouldn’t exactly be realistic if every doctor was faithful.

    It scares me so much how i bet its true there are people like “007” that are still practicing after “x” deaths from negligence. I assume some are sued by the patients families and from the suits they lose their license to practice..but still.

  10. The OR scene with little Quinn was far more intense than I expected. There were times I wish music or scores weren’t playing in the background because silence would have done the job just as well but otherwise I thought it was finely done. The show really won me over when, in the beginning, we are introduced to Dr. Tyler Wilson as the ultimate of ultimates in neurosurgery, giving us the belief that he is infallible and that if his patients die its because of other factors… until we find out in the M&M that, no, it was his screw-up that really have Quinn a lesser chance of surviving. I felt that flip was nicely executed.

    On a different note, I’m just happy Jennifer Finnigan and Jamie Bamber are back on TV. I’ve been a fan of Jennifer since “Committed” all those years ago, and Jamie Bamber was, and always will be, Lee “Apollo” Adama of “Battlestar Galactica”.

  11. ajaxxx2000 says:

    Wow! I’m surprised there are any sets remaining due to all of the overacting. Really, really bad. Chewing on the scenery was visible

  12. jericho says:

    All I could do throughout the hour was think… damn if this show was done by Sorkin instead of David E. Kelley it could have been so much better.

    The show screams that it wants to be intelligent but, in the end it just comes off so much less than that. Maybe we have all been brainwashed by other medical dramas, but the show just didn’t click. As much as I loved the cast, it was just not the show I had hoped it would be when I first read about it or saw the commercials promoting it.

    • mw says:

      Your comment hit the nail directly on the head. It can be better, its lacking something, maybe more interactions between hospital personnel, but it somehow feels cold.
      Then there are some weird camera angles of peoples faces walking down hallways, don’t like it. Stick to the wide shots.
      Alfred Molina and Ving Rhames were the reasons that I actually watched the first episode, not sure if I will continue.

  13. Annika says:

    I liked it for the realism – patients die all the time, every day. Ving Rhames was awesome, Jennifer Finnigan was good and Dr. Sung Park is the new House.

  14. Melanie says:

    I found myself wanting to like it (I like many of the cast), but disappointed. The opening scenes felt disjointed, impersonal, and didn’t hook me. Who are the doctors? Who is the patient? Why should I care about them going into the Monday morning presentation in the theatre and it’s outcome? That is important as it’s a central to how they are differentiating themselves from other medical dramas, so this is a big ball dropped.
    In the first several minutes the most we got for character reveal was that one doctor’s love life was shaky, but we were given no reason to care about her or if she was getting engaged. The storytelling definitely needs improving.

    The camera work in the opening moments (and in places through the episode) was awkward. Too many cuts between what was happening in the ER and during “will they live?” moments in operations, over-use of refocusing, and some high and low placements on close ups that felt weird. Not that it was wholly bad. The lighting departs from the darker styling from Greys in the operating rooms, and shots in many scenes were fine. Between the camera work and the lighting (and flares) it had a bit of a British and Canadian feel (like a cross of Saving Hope and Monroe). If they just reign some of the flares and cuts in they will be on to something.

    The acting was OK given what they had to work with in the scripting when it came to the core players, but some of the extras were not believable and the main players at times over and under-acted for the scene.

    Due to not knowing who anyone was or caring about them I found myself paying less attention to the show and more to wondering if Jamie Bamber is going to spend the next 22 episodes moping and getting emotional over giving bad news, and if Jennifer Finnigan is going to spend them perpetually looking understanding and sympathetic.

    I will probably give episode 2 a chance, but I doubt I’ll stick around beyond that if it’s similarly lacking.

  15. intelliwoman says:

    Bad time slot against Following

  16. Walkie says:

    The network doesn’t have much faith in the show because I hadn’t even heard of it or had any idea that it was premiering. There has been alm

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Actually, they’ve been airing promo commercials for months … and there was a big ad in TV Guide this week. I think there have even been some banner ads on certain entertainment websites.

      But its not on a major network so that cuts out some of the potential audience.

  17. Sandrine says:

    It’s a little slow for me but as a doctor, I’ll continue to watch the show. I love M&Ms.

  18. dhg says:

    I read the book and this first episode followed the book as closely as possible and be a tv show.The key will be when they go beyond the book.I liked it and will continue to watch.

  19. Nichole says:

    Disappointed with some of the acting, Wilson came across really well dealing with the death of a young patient, but the others all seemed a little over egged, especially Napur, can’t imagine a doctor acting like that in real life actually managing to keep a job. The whole show came across a little too dramatic for the content that was actually in it, especially the MM meeting where Wilson was in the spot light. While I know this is TV and dramatic liesence is taken to make it more interesting then real life, can you really see a group of medical staff clapping congratulations to a Doctor after a surgery, especially when the patient is actually awake, seriously people!!! Hopefully the next episodes are better, or TNT picks up Emily Owens MD to replace it!!! :P

  20. Daisy says:

    The title is just so bad. After having just survived a Monday morning I really don’t want to watch a show called Monday Morning about Monday morning meetings. Perhaps they should’ve called it Sh*t Happens. I would watch the heck out of that show.

    • MrMank says:

      It’s a play on the alliteration. MM also stands for Morbidity and Mortality, which are the meetings the show revolves around.

  21. liz says:

    I miss [H]OUSE!! :(

  22. MrMank says:

    Love that Ving Rhames, Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnegan (although her acting bothered me a little in this) are back on TV!! I have so missed Chicago Hope that when I heard there was a David E. Kelley medical drama coming to TNT I had to jump on it. Not as good as Hope was, but I’m more than willing to let it find its legs. Needs to rely less on music (that’s what we have Grey’s Anatomy for…though I dug the Pink Floyd track when the kid died) and slo-mo shots, and the super bright OR has to go. Very distracting.

  23. Christy says:

    I found it so dull. The overdramatic, cliched speeches and boring predictable plot lines…Zzzz.

  24. csr says:

    I thought it was engaging and well done.

  25. Seahare says:

    This is a American copy of Monroe, a recent UK series starring James Nesbitt. Even the dripping hands cutting to commercial….. Having seen the excellent original series, I’ll give this one a pass

  26. wheresmykid says:

    Medical mistakes as entertainment? I’ll pass, thanks.

  27. Betty Thorpe says:

    Not a bad movie could anyone tell me what song the chief of staff was playing on the piano?

  28. Tom Carmody says:

    Any one know the name of the song Dr. Hooten (Alfred Molina) played in the episode this week?

  29. GG Stokes says:

    I loved it very much. Very refreshing and just what I needed !!!

  30. Margo Mann says:

    Best medical show I have ever seen. Fabulous acting. Great stories. So realistic. Loved it and want it back for another season.
    “Show not dead”.

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