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Series premiere: Nurse Jackie

In series debut, summer 2009, television on 06/08/2009 at 10:12 am

Series name
Nurse Jackie

Debuts
Monday, June 8,  at 10 p.m. ET on The Movie Network

Regularly airs
Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on The Movie Network

Premise
Dedicated emeregency-room nurse at NYC’s All Saints Hospital tries to do good at home and work despite bad back, mucho medication required by former, ridiculously long hours and occasionally incompetent doctors. Loves her coworkers, her family and … well that would be telling.

Primary cast and crew
Edie Falco (The Sopranos) is title character Jackie Peyton.

Eve Best is her best friend, tart-t0ngued cool customer Dr. Eleanor O’Hara.

Peter Facinelli (Twilight, Damages) is Dr. Fitch Cooper, lover of Blackberry. He suffers from a very special condition.

Paul Schulze (The Sopranos, 24, Journeyman) is the pharmacist, Eddie Walzer.

Haaz  Sleiman (The Visitor) is Mo Mo, a fellow nurse and other best friend.

Merritt Wever (Studio 60 Live on the Sunset Strip, Conviction) is nursing student Zoey Barkow. Dear, sweet, trying so hard Zoey.

Linda Wallem (Cybill, That ’70s Show, The Comeback) and Liz Brixius are writer/exec producers and John Melfi (Sex and the City, The Comeback) and Caryn Mandabach (Roseanne, Cybill, Third Rock from the Sun, That ’70s Show) is exec producer.

Buzz buzz
If I read one more freaking time that Nurse Jackie is either House a la femme or ER a la nurse I will reach through this computer screen and punch whoever’s doing the writing.

But what do I know anyway? After having gorged on the first six episodes I do declare …
If you read the above paragraph, with its threat of violence, you have something of the mood with which I approached the two DVDs of previews. Can EVERY show be the next House? Does every show HAVE to be? I am happy to say that not only is this show not House and not ER it is not even vaguely Sopranos-like. It is exactly like … Nurse Jackie! Am I’m not trying to just be annoying here. This dark half-hour comedy is a note-perfect brilliant, diamond-hard look at someone trying to get by. And failing just slightly less often than she succeeds. She keeps secrets. She cheats. Mostly for good. She is surrounded by failure and yet she keeps crushing the Percocet and adding it to her coffee and somehow she finds it in her to give $20 to a rank bee-atch demanding a pregnancy test or to console the pregnant woman who has just asked for the heart of her dead fiance. And not the Valentine-type heart. And speaking of heart, Jackie has a huge one. And if there is justice, it will beat for many seasons to come. Enough seasons, I’ll wager, that in 2012, I’ll be writing “If I read of another show that is Nurse Jackie, but with doctors…” Oh yeah. You should ignore the fact that Jackie also quotes St. Augustine and T.S. Eliot. Everyone knows that spiritual writing and poetry have no place on TV or in everyday life, not even on pay cable. So just forget it.

Here’s a scene from tonight’s pilot.

Other reviews
Well, Doug Norrie at Cinemablend and Kate Taylor at the Globe and Mail were not swept away. But Jamie Poniewozick at Time also loves it.

Official website
The Movie Network site offers little, although for a few more hours it allows online previewing of June 8’s pilot episode. The Showtime site has some great behind the scenes.

Can’t wait for the next new-series preview?
I’ll have a look tomorrow at Space’s Watchmen: The Motion Comic, which also debuts tomorrow, June. 9.

Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of summer premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

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