On Thursday nights, Rock Center with Brian Williams has been drawing truly terrible ratings for NBC. Will replacement drama Do No Harm do any better or will it do even worse? Will it be quickly cancelled or run for years? Is it worth watching?
A Jekyll and Hyde series, Do No Harm revolves around a respected neurosurgeon (Steven Pasquale) who has a dangerous and sociopathic alter ego. The doctor’s bad side has been controlled by medication but all hell breaks lose when the drug stops working. The cast also includes Alana De La Garza, Michael Esper, Ruta Gedmintas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phylicia Rashad, John Carroll Lynch, and Samm Levine.
Does the show sound interesting or is it an automatic pass? Here’s what the critics have to say:
LA Times: “Of course, there’s only so much an actor can do with a villain who does things like put out cigarettes in his “nice” alter ego’s shoes. Ian doesn’t kill anyone or hold up a liquor store or burn down the family manse — he just goes to Vegas… All of which makes “Do No Harm” not so much a thrilling psychological drama as a mismatched roommate comedy. Oscar and Felix, if one of them was a doctor and they had to share the same body. Either way, no serious harm seems in danger of being done, no, nor any serious storytelling either.”
Salt Lake Tribune: “TV executives are always telling us no one sets out to make a bad show. Which, with the exception of those cheesy Syfy movies, is probably true. But when you see something like Do No Harm, you’ve got to wonder. This show is so bad it almost seems it would have to be intentionally awful… You’ve got to laugh. Or else you’ll cry at the wasted effort in Do No Harm. The lead character may have two personalities, but this is one big piece of you-know-what.”
New York Magazine: “Do No Harm’s biggest fault, besides lackluster dialogue, is its overall air of deep insecurity, a quality that’s unfortunately too common on network dramas. Many of its scenes might be quite effective if the series would just calm down and focus on the actors, hold shots for more than a few seconds at a time, and give us enough dramatic breathing space (and soundtrack quiet) to consider what’s happening in the characters’ heads as they interact. Unfortunately the show is so terrified of boring us that it overcompensates by hyping every second with fast cuts and intrusively ominous synth music.”
Miami Herald: “Pasquale is, honestly, pretty convincing at changing from good to evil and back without weird makeup or photo effects. The plot is no more innately preposterous than any other Jekyll and Hyde tale, including the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. But somehow the whole thing never really gets untracked. Maybe it’s because Do No Harm often seems like a crude first draft of My Own Worst Enemy.”
Star Ledger: “The talented Pasquale gamely gives it a go, but the dialogue is excessively cheesy, with Price constantly tossing out double entendres about his condition, and the set-up is just too ridiculous. Last season’s Awake, about a cop who leads two lives, one in which his wife is alive and his son his dead, one in which the reverse is true, also strained credulity, but the plotting was more restrained and the tone so much more even, that I felt invested in both realities. In Do No Harm, I do not care about either.”
Detroit News: “This show is so far-fetched it makes 24 look like political reporting and Lost seem like a nature documentary. Jekyll-and-Hyde premises can work — look at Jekyll and Hyde — but they have to be handled carefully. Do No Harm doesn’t seem to be handled at all; it just runs around crazy, daring you to believe. You won’t.”
NY Daily News: “Pasquale plays the hunky perfect doctor nicely and De La Garza seems like she’d be worth his time. This bad-self business, though, does too much harm to what could have been a better show.
Boston Globe: “It’s hard to believe that of all the pilot ideas flying around Hollywood, this is the best that NBC can do. Like Deception, Do No Harm is built on such a faulty, dated premise that it’s hard to imagine anyone in his or her right mind going for it. Maybe Ian Price has gone into the TV business?”
Chicago Sun Times: “The only thing hokier than the show’s preposterous premise is the writing. ‘I’m going to filet you open like a fish, slowly, and let you bleed,’ a man growls cartoonishly in the second episode to Dr. Cole, thinking he’s talking to Ian Price. Here’s hoping Do No Harm gets toe-tagged sooner rather than later.”
What do you think? Is Do No Harm worth watching? Do you agree with the critics? If you’ve seen it, will you watch again?