June 18, 2013

The Short-Lived, The Cancelled. Part #1: Emily Owens, M.D.

Ah, summer. The time when all our favorite television shows go on hiatus, and the networks break in with shows they expect to tank and burn off episodes of shows they've cancelled. Basically, summer is a wasteland on the networks. Because of this, I probably will be posting fewer reviews over the next two months or so. But back to the cancellations: TVLine put together this fantastic "scorecard" of cancelled and returning shows on all the major networks.

Two of the shows that met their untimely ends in 2013 I'm actually sorry to see go. I also feel a little guilty that I didn't get to know them better before they bit the dust. In this post and my next one, I'll tell you why I'm going to miss two short-lived shows of this past television season.

I'll admit it: I generally avoid shows with a medical premise. I'm squeamish and I know it. But Emily Owens, M.D. looked promising, so I watched a few episodes over the season. The show wasn't very well-recieved by critics, but I was impressed. Most impressive was Mamie Gummer in the title role. Gummer, the daughter of Meryl Streep, inherited more than her mother's distinctive features; She's a heck of an actress as well. The story followed the title character, a young doctor interning at a large hospital, as she navigated her professional and love lives. It also gave the viewers a look inside Emily's thoughts through Carrie Bradshaw style monologues. Unfortunately, Emily Owens was cancelled November 28th, just over a month after its premiere.

Emily Owens, M.D. didn't follow the conventional structure of a CW show. Though lovely, Gummer isn't the typical CW "it" girl. She's almost a "born loser" type. She didn't have the confidence of a Serena van der Woodsen or even a Zoe Hart. (There is classic beauty on the Y-chromosome side of things. Emily's two major love interests were played by CW veteran Justin Hartley and ABC Family alum Michael Rady.)

The show approached its medical plot lines with a more serious tone than the network's other show about a doctor, making it more similar to Grey's Anatomy than anything found on the CW. But I found that to be one of the show's strongest points. It was authentic. But authenticity isn't enough for the CW. I'm afraid the show's lack of paranormal or superheroic characters may have been its downfall, despite how similar Emily's workplace drama was to high school. Simply put, Emily Owens was on the wrong network. It couldn't capture the CW demographic, and it couldn't pull the right audience over to the typically teens-to-twenties channel. I bet if she had been on Fox, Emily Owens would have broken 13 episodes.

A word of warning, which contains a spoiler: If you think this sounds like a show you should watch in your free TV time this summer, know that the final episode ends with a choice. Both of the handsome loves pictured above are enamored of Emily, and she must decide between them. I say this as a warning because you might not like her choice. Most unfortunate of all - now that the show has been cancelled, she won't get the chance to change her mind.

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