First Aired: 29th August 2005
Cast: (All Doctors)
Ellen Pompeo Meredith Grey
Sandra Oh Christina Yang
Katherine Heigl Izzy Stevens
T R Knight George ‘007’ O’Malley
Justin Chambers Alex Karev
Chandra Wilson Miranda Bailey
James Pickens Jr Richard Webber
Isiah Washingon Preston Burke
Patrick Dempsey Derek Shepherd
Kate Burton Ellis Grey
Plot: A young woman wakes up after a one night stand, late for work as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital. Meredith manages to get there relatively on time after shoving the guy from the previous night, a charming and cheerful Derek and meets the brusque Christina Yang, the cheerful Izzy Stevens and the kind-hearted but out of his depth George O’Malley. They are assigned to resident Miranda Bailey, dubbed the Nazi, who earns her name as with vitriol assigns them work. In the process of this work George earns the ire of senior cardio attending Preston Burke, who brings him in on a surgery. George chokes, risking the patient, earning himself the nickname 007, while looking for a neuro consult, Meredith finds her one night stand, the head of neurology Derek Shepherd.
Later Meredith almost loses a patient, who is suffering an unknown malady. Derek speaks to the interns and asks them to help diagnose it, the one who does scrubs in on any subsequent procedure in this case. Christina and Meredith work together, while George has to tell the wife of a patient that he died in surgery, after assuring her earlier that there was nothing to worry about. Meredith offers to help fellow intern, the boorish Alex, but when he knocks back her help, the patient is getting worse and when Chief Webber asks what’s going on Meredith embarasses Alex by knowing the right answer. Richard recognises Meredith as the daughter of the famous Ellis Grey, noting that Meredith does look like her mother.
Meredith scrubs in with Derek, becoming addicted to the highs of a successful surgery. She finishes her 48 hour shift and visits her mother and we learn that the famous Ellis Grey suffers from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember much of her storied medical career, a career her daughter now follows in.
Notes: There are a lot of types of procedural on TV, legal dramas, mystery/police thrillers and the like. Certain jobs lend themselves to TV shows well, police, fire, paramedics, lawyers and relevant to this, doctors.
With police and lawyers you need bad guys, or at least antagonists and opponents to create the conflict, but with anything of a medical bent, you don’t really need that, the illness/accident does that for you and you get to spend more time with the cast and so there are a large number of this kind of show and have been for almost as long as there has been television. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good (Yes ER, I am looking at you) so I was obviously going to have a go at one of them sooner or later and I am glad that I started with this one.
The premise is a good one, we get to see these interns move up the ranks of this hospital and bit by bit we see the rest of the staff and we see how the cases affect each one and how each one copes. For this to work, the cast has to be top notch. To be honest, we do get that. Ellen Pompeo is not an actress I had ever heard of before, but Meredith is a fleshed out, but guarded character played well. Sandra Oh is certainly playing her own kind of game with an annoyed expression on her face the whole time as she is forced to deal with these idiots in her quest to be the best. The rest of the interns are varying degrees of ignorant or out of their depth and if there are any not worth watching, it’s because they’re not given much to do yet. The stand outs are hard edged Bailey (a entertainingly harsh Chandra Wilson) and the affably charming Derek (Patrick Dempsey in the only role I’ve seen him do that didn’t annoy me) and it all comes together as an ensemble show that is full of characters that you want to get to know. Yes it’s full of melodrama and the will they won’t they romance of Derek and Meredith is pointed out straight away as the main thrust of the show at this point, but there’s so much else going on. This was a well constructed show that I will be honest, hooked me straight away.
Does it work? Yes with a solid premise and engaging actors, I was pulled into the story straight away.
Does much need fixing? The rest of the cast need more to do, but that’s about it.
Does it stand up? Yes medical procedurals usually hold up even years later.
Do I want to watch the next one? Want to? Am on season 10 now.
Did I enjoy it? Yes I did.
Overall: This program hooked me and has yet to let go, it was interesting going back 8 years and watching how it started again. 4/5