It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of the first official week of the new fall season. There are lots more shows to come but, tonight, CBS unveils the last of the week. It’s called A Gifted Man, a drama that’s part House and part Ghost Whisperer.
Patrick Wilson stars as gifted and very successful surgeon who is wrapped up in his materialistic world. His life gets turned around when his late wife (Jennifer Ehle), the love of his life, appears to him and starts to change his point of view about what’s important. Julie Benz, Liam Aiken, and Margo Martindale also star.
Is A Gifted Man worth your time? Here’s what the critics are saying:
NY Daily News: “The cast here nails their roles, from Wilson down to support players like Emmy winner Margo Martindale as his loyal assistant, Rita. Ehle has a much trickier role and handles it well. It’s a show that wants to say something. Now it needs viewers who want to listen.”
LA Times: “If coming to understand that poor people need MRIs too is not lesson enough, Michael’s Grinch-sized heart also needs to warm to his own family — a troubled nephew and a loving but decidedly dippy sister, Christina (Julie Benz), who not only takes the whole ghost scenario instantly in stride, she sees it as the ‘cosmic gift’ it clearly is. With just a few tiny modifications, A Gifted Man could be a smart satiric comedy, but I don’t think that is what Grant is shooting for.”
Boston Globe: “ER did a lot of interesting storytelling around national health care issues. But with all its ghost whispering, A Gifted Man runs a lot closer to the Dead Denny category of medical-drama narratives. Grey’s Anatomy viewers will flinchingly recall the exhausting and absurd Dead Denny plot, which had Katherine Heigl’s Izzie undergoing hallucinations of – and sex with – her late fiance. A Gifted Man needs to transcend that limited and overused construct, and set the characters free from endless debate over whether Anna is real or not. Let the actors find drama in more earthly concerns. I think they’re up to it.”
USA Today: “Thanks to all the talent, what could have been an incredibly hokey Ghost Whisperer retread has much more moody potential. Wilson has the magnetism and acting chops to lead a network series, and while Ehle’s Anna starts off a bit too angelic, we’re promised she’ll become more complex. The producers have also promised that Martindale’s Rita will do more than read Michael’s schedule off a clipboard. Gifted Man could not have been given better actors. It needs to give them better in return.”
AV Club: “As a pilot, A Gifted Man works, early clunkiness aside. Will it work as a series? Only time will tell. There’s a good show in here about a man who learns what it is to be good, thanks to unusual circumstances, sort of a Breaking Bad in reverse. But there’s also a clumsy medical drama that frequently goes in for goopy New Age mysticism. Demme helps the pilot mostly avoid that tone, but he won’t be around every week, even if he’s serving as a producer on the series. On the other hand, CBS is the network where a similarly high-concept drama—The Good Wife—popped up a few years ago, only to gradually evolve into one of the best shows on television. With time and patience, this is a show that could be that good. But the fear, as always, is that this will simply collapse into an ocean of overly maudlin syrup, dragging the audience down with hard to stomach sentimentality. And while that’s probably the most likely scenario, even if that happens, we’ll always have the pilot.”
What do you think? Are you going to watch A Gifted Man? Do you think it has a chance on Friday nights or is already doomed to be cancelled?
Image courtesy CBS.