Heartbeat Review NBC

Heartbeat Review: [Insert Your Own 'Dead on Arrival' Zinger Here]

grade_D+Like a mom blasting Iggy Azalea from her Kia Sedona in the middle-school pickup lane, NBC’s new medical drama Heartbeat is so desperate to be cool, it’ll make you reflexively wince, then pretend you can’t see it.

Melissa George (The Slap, Alias) stars as Dr. Alex Panttiere, a woman who requests a fire-department escort to a routine biopsy just so she can test the ability of her convertible to go from zero to 80, then drops groan-inducing one-liners like, “I love the smell of lung burning first thing in the morning!”

Heartbeat Melissa GeorgeAll of Alex’s quirks (she has a tendency to spit while talking) and surgical brilliance (practically on a whim, she pulls off a heart transplant procedure that only four others have managed before her) can’t mask the grim fact that she’s ultimately a collection of threadbare drama-series clichés: She hasn’t got time or use for her hospital’s ethics committee — potential lawsuits be damned! She doesn’t know how to make friends — but dammit, her med-school colleague and current boss Millicent (Shelly Conn) has a soft spot for her anyhow. Alex snuggles on the regular with her gay ex-husband, while her two kids get about as much character development as her scalpel and clamps. She reduces her interns to dismissive nicknames, then chooses the shortest one as her sidekick, demanding he “show up, shut up and be beige.” (It remains unclear whether this is an instruction to blend into the background or a meta commentary on his skin color/ability to bring diversity to her team.)

While NBC notes that Heartbeat (previewing Tuesday at 9/8c before moving into its regular Wednesday 8/7c timeslot) is “inspired by the real life and achievements of Dr. Kathy Magliato,” its initial medical cases are remarkable only in that they’ll probably make you think, “Wait, didn’t I see something similar on Grey’s in Season 2 or maybe E.R. back in the day?”

Even worse, the show’s supporting characters are all some combination of bland, unbelievable, and/or reprehensible. Jamie Kennedy shows up as a brilliant surgeon with terrible body odor who refers to Maya Erskine’s Korean-American nurse as “Ping Pang Pong.” Instead of reporting him to H.R., though, she’s already beginning to develop a crush on the creep by the end of Episode 2. (If it makes you feel any better, Kennedy’s brutally unfunny racism/sexism/lecherousness extends to non-Asian characters, too, like how he’s given another colleague the nickname “One-Eyed Black Man.”)

Heartbeat Don HanyHeartbeat also finds Alex torn between two lovers (who conveniently work alongside her): There’s her long-suffering hunk of a boyfriend Pierce (Dave Annable), who can’t quite break down Alex’s walls, and Jesse (Don Hany), Alex’s aloof erstwhile mentor who’s back in town with his Aussie accent and his rugged jawline.

You’ll want Alex to choose the latter surgeon — if only to free the charming and charismatic Annable from having to deliver wretched lines like “Isn’t it usually the girl who wants to talk about their feelings?” (Come on, TV networks, can’t we find a quality role for the infinitely watchable Brothers & Sisters star already?)

In fact, if anyone at NBC has any sense, they’ll have already negotiated a longer-term deal to lock in Annable for some future, juicier role on its 2016-2017 lineup. Heartbeat, after all, looks destined to flatline.

The TVLine Bottom Line: Put down the shock paddles. There is no saving NBC’s newest medical drama.

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67 Comments
  1. kirads09 says:

    Well, just the promos flatlined with me so….

  2. jj says:

    I almost want to watch the pilot just because it sounds so terrible

  3. Mr. Tran K says:

    Hope it won’t last that long. Maybe no more than three episodes tops.

  4. Luis says:

    Hollywood has never found a show to fit Melissa George into; at this point, maybe the problem is her.
    Why does anyone cast Jamie Kennedy in anything? Within five minutes of seeing him on screen, I want to Elvis the T.V. Did Seth Green turn the role down?

    • Eran says:

      It might sound a bit out there but I blame the fake American accent she has to put on for every US role. Maybe it’s nonsense but I personally couldn’t help but notice how much more natural, raw and believable her performance was on the original Australian slap where she got to sound like her actual self and maybe focus more on actual character work. Who knows…

      • lechatnoir says:

        I have always thought that both the made up American accent and the body language are not in sync with the character most of those aussie actors and British are supposed to be portraying. It looks awkward most times. And in Melissas case it just looks dreadful. These actors always look like they are covering up their original accent. I have the same problem with Alfred enoch on htgawm. That guy’s allure screams British and his American accent is forced and contrived.

        • Eran says:

          Agreed. As much as I loved and miss Archie Panjabi’s Kalinda on The Good Wife, my friends and I at one point actually considered starting a drinking game each time AP had a British slip. Some admittedly are better than others (Rose Byrne on Damages I thought did a fantastic dialect job for instance) but more often than not, it makes the acting so self conscious and it shows, in the body language, in the performance. If you watch Lucifer, you’ll notice how cringe worthy Lesley Ann Brandt’s American accent is. For heaven’s sake, if Tom Ellis got to keep his British accent, why couldn’t she have kept her South African???

      • Amanda says:

        Why are they making her use that horrible fake American accent? I imagine it’s because the real life surgeon she’s portraying doesn’t have an awesome Australian accent. Still, I agree with you Eran. Melissa George is much better at her job when she’s not having to worry about keep that terrible American accent in check. I loved her when she was actually on Grey’s Anatomy for that brief moment, which is what had me so excited for this new show of hers. I don’t know, we’re only 3 episodes in. Maybe it’ll get better.

    • quang says:

      I do think Melissa was terrific in action and horror projects like Hunted, Triangle and A Lonely Place to Die. Casting her a in a role that demands that she be relatable and likability seems to be a no go because people seem to HATE her in roles like Alias, Greys and The Slap.

  5. Jessica says:

    As a Grey’s Anatomy fan I see the promos for this & just see Merideth’s friend Sadie the terrible intern that washed out. I don’t think I could ever see her in a Doctor role & not think of her grey’s character.

    • Bwhit says:

      I always see her as Lauren from Alias. The girl that sucked up screen time and kept Sydney and Vaughn apart.

    • msalegna says:

      I was wondering if anyone else felt/thought this. I might have watched if I could take her seriously after her Grey’s role where she was a horrible doctor.

    • Amanda says:

      You know, I feel exactly the same way! I am a hardcore Grey’s Anatomy fan so all I seen when watching the promos for Heartbeat was when Melissa George was the Aussie intern at Seattle Grace hospital trying to get Meredith to help her cheat her way through the medical program. I’m trying to get past that n focus on the new character she’s portraying but it’s hard for me.

  6. Adam says:

    Melissa George is terrible. She sucked when she showed up on Grey’s Anatomy (and quickly vanished) and looks just as unbelievable playing the same type of character here. No thanks.

  7. wrstlgirl says:

    As much as I love Dave Annable I’m taking a pass. Where’s my Night Shift?!?!

  8. Bella says:

    I knew as soon as I saw the promos that I would have no interest in watching this series at all.

  9. pecola says:

    As much as I want to give this show a shot (Dave Annable!!!), I just can’t believe they cast Sadie Harris…eh, Melissa George…in another medical show.

  10. grass says:

    If this bombs, Mysteries of Laura’s renewal shot will probably go up

  11. KLS says:

    I was thinking about giving this a try, but if the pilot sucks, it can only get worse. Thanks for saving me an hour of my life!

  12. Guest says:

    Not that I think this show has any redeemable qualities even though I haven’t seen it, but “one-eyed black man” is hardly a racist comment.

  13. Dean says:

    Why not just give her a cane and an ambiguous drug addiction and caller House

  14. Hedy S. says:

    Do we REALLY need another cheesy, soap opera-y show? No! Grey’s Anatomy is disgusting, there’s a few others, and now we get more of this crap.

    • Ken says:

      Grey’s is disgusting? Hyperbolic much? Fine, you don’t like Grey’s Anatomy but calling it disgusting is exaggerating to the nth degree.

  15. Bwhit says:

    The previews make this show look unwatchable and after reading this review, it’s a solid no for me. So Dave Annable is reduced to being in a love triangle? No thanks.

  16. Maryann says:

    I love medical shows and currently watch all on tv except Grey’s Anatomy. However, the previews for this one were just totally cringeworthy. The lead character is unlikeable and unwatchable, so how is she supposed to generate the empathy to head up a show?

  17. JScout says:

    This review doesn’t surprise me. The promos were cringe-worthy.

  18. Well, after she bombed so hard on Grey’s that her storyline was cut short, it’s no surprise that she can’t pull of her own medical drama. Color me unsurprised (and having forgotten this show was even premiering)

    • Ken says:

      Need to do some homework on that Karen. She didn’t bomb on Grey’s. Her character was originally intended become a romantic rival for Callie and Dr Hahn. When ABC forced Shonda Rhimes to fire Brooke Smith (Dr Hahn), the storyline for Sadie was altered. Both ABC and Melissa George agreed that it was best to end the character since it wasn’t what they originally agreed upon. This was all around the time that ABC was being criticized for trying to ‘de-gay” their shows.

  19. Eva says:

    Hey, that’s basically all that I remember being wrong with The Night Shift, and they’re what, about to air their third season? “a collection of threadbare drama-series clichés” is a main character that people keep buying for some reason…

  20. HAP says:

    What with all the fine actresses who came from Australia, why does she keep getting work?

    • lechatnoir says:

      They should give us a break with those average actresses from down under. They are bad at pretending to be American. I’m wondering wht we never get aboriginal actors and only thw cookie cutter blonde you can fibd in the us a dime dozen. What’s that all about.

  21. VI says:

    Her best role was in Hunted.. Great show and it only got one season. This review made me laugh and confirmed that I don’t even need to watch the pilot episode. The promos were so off putting. Have no idea how this got green lit.

  22. Eric says:

    Seeing Dave Annable in a hospital just makes me miss Red Band Society.

  23. Bigdede says:

    She’s a show killer. It amazes me ppl still hire her. She killed Alias. Shonda fired her from Grey’s before she ruined that show. She was horrible on Good Wife. Bye Lie to Me

  24. Kelly says:

    There are some actors/actresses that just don’t have that “it” factor and I can’t understand why they keep getting work. While I’m sure she is a lovely person, Melissa George is one of those actors. I get frustrated with having people that are uninspiring on screen crammed down our throats. She recently did an interview on the Today Show (an NBC program promoting and NBC program) in roller skates – I’ll stop there.

    • quang says:

      The roller skate thing isn’t a surprise. Any Australian knows that she’s a roller skating champion and that it is her thing.

  25. Kaya says:

    My favorite are the ads that say “from the studio that brought you House.” Um… congrats NBC Universal on producing a medical drama that premiered 12 years ago? That’s not exactly a pedigree.

  26. liame says:

    Deleted. Thanks for the recap.

  27. Chloe says:

    The promos turned me off. She looks like an arrogant, obnoxious biotch. Thank you for confirming that the show is a waste of time.

  28. coneyro says:

    Was going to give it a try, but now I don’t think so. Usually I don’t listen to the critics beforehand and make up my own mind. Mysteries of Laura had stinky reviews, but after giving it a try, winded up loving it.

  29. Hedy S. says:

    Ken, Greys Anatomy is disgusting. We watched half to 3/4 of the very first episode. It was a complete bore, and then there were two people (doctors- I don’t remember) having spontaneous sex in a broom closet. And I think one of the characters was married. So, if you approve of adultry and sex in a hospital where patients are being treated nearby, then have at it.

  30. LolaS says:

    Well, I turned the channel after 30 minutes. The whole show is old and cliched. Everything has been done before and it’s boring. I actual work with doctors on a daily basis, and – yes, they can be self absorbed and completely oblivious to how ridiculous they are. But, this is just not entertaining. This show will not last.

  31. JT says:

    Just watched this show, loved it and re-watched it again, hopefully 2nd ep will be as good

  32. Ro says:

    As a nurse, it was the WORST medical show I have ever seen. Do they have Consultants on this show???? She actually made a comment, “I need to go yell at a nurse”! In what universe are the writers living in?

  33. Elizabeth Kennedy says:

    I thought both of the shows were great. I was entertained from start to finish. I am not a Doctor so don’t know technical things. I would like to see it continue. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, but don’t spoil it for the rest of us. Thank You

  34. CT says:

    I loved both of episodes! Can’t take everything too seriously….it’s a TV show! Anyways, I was entertained and looking forward to the 3rd episode.

  35. Jo says:

    I’ve been a Greys fan since the beginning…and maybe they should get Shonda to do some writing for them..this show borders on “corny”…should be on Sat Niight Live!!!! Sorry it’s awful.🍋🍋🍋

  36. Anna says:

    I loved it

  37. dogs says:

    This show reeks. Silly music and everyone is horny. Hope it’s cancelled soon. Should be billed as a pathetic comedy.

  38. Fan of Heartbeat says:

    I LOVE THIS SHOW!! I have not missed an episode and don’t plan on it. I love the actors/actresses, storyline, & just about all of it. I’ve worked in the medical field and I get the show. If you don’t like this show then please do us all a favor and switch the channel. No one is forcing you to watch it. Grow up and stop writing these stupid negative comments.

  39. Jan says:

    I love this show you’re stupid I can’t get enough of it and hope to make many more episodes

  40. Jim Borton says:

    Heartbeat is one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a long time. The writing seams to try to make them hip and smart but it misses the mark, the show is just; lack of a better word, it just stupid!! I will not be watching a second episode, my time is more valuable. Jim

  41. Mitha says:

    Omg you guys I know sometime it’s cringy but the love is definitely seen through! I know it’ll be soo cheesy but it makes me realize how a life will be so worth to save.

  42. tony says:

    I spotted this as a total turkey from the trailers. I managed to chringe through one complete episode. TLC call it unmissable drama!! For one, I will never believe anything TLC says again and two, it’s totally missable!

  43. Jamie VAN DE CAR says:

    I love this show i have no idea what this writer is talking about