TV Review: “The Night Shift” Season 3 – ER Entertainment

Written by Danielle Sing August 29, 2016

the night shift

Medical shows are a dime a dozen; there’s always a new one and most don’t last long. This makes the third season of summer medical drama “The Night Shift” even more impressive. It combines both army doctors and ER night shifts – both ideas done before separately – in fast paced and often over-the-top medical situations. “The Night Shift” is entertaining and energetic but it also plays on many clichés and has medical inaccuracies. Though it is impressive to have multiple seasons among the disposable medical shows, it is far from perfect.

“The Night Shift” season 3 returns to the ER of San Antonio Medical Centre as Dr. Topher Zia (Ken Leung) takes on his new role of hospital administrator, and Dr. Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint) returns to work after her miscarriage of Dr. TC Callahan’s (Eoin Macken) baby. Dr. Alexander hires a new intern, Dr. Shannon Rivera (Tanaya Beatly), who is quickly initiated to the night shift by Nurse Kenny Fournette (J.R. Lemon) and surgeon Dr. Paul Cummings (Robert Baily Jr.). The ER receives two car crash victims, and the doctors run into moral and legal complications when the victim’s parents are discovered to not be a bone marrow match for their son. Dr. Drew Alister (Brendan Fehr) is sent on tour in Afghanistan where he works with army doctor Dr. Syd Jennings (Jennifer Beals) as they clash with Afghani law and customs.

“That’s the problem with battlefield docs. They think they can do anything.”

Let’s focus on the positives. “The Night Shift” is fast paced and entertaining thanks to the ER setting of the series. Most medical dramas tend to follow a slower pace to extend the drama, but the fast pace of “The Night Shift” works well. It creates a real sense of urgency while focusing on the medical aspect but still makes time for the drama, especially PTSD related drama. “The Night Shift” has a fresh energy to it among other medical dramas due to the short summer season. The episodes and plot lines are not unnecessarily drawn out to fill out a full 22 episode season, and this most likely aids in its constant season renewals  (though “The Night Shift” has not yet been renewed for a fourth season).

the night shift

The main problem with “The Night Shift” is the constant clichés and medical inaccuracies. Clichés are quite common within medical dramas, as if they are unable to avoid them, but “The Night Shift” takes it to a new level. Not only do characters just quote clichés and have cliché drama, but the medical cases that occur on the showing are the personification of clichés or common metaphors. One occurrence is a patient with a fish hook in their eye, which is used as a metaphor for a dysfunctional relationship (two doctors treating the patients have a dysfunctional relationship after a miscarriage and a bad break-up). That may be digging too deep into a situation, but “The Night Shift” does seem to set up medical cases just to have a cliché punch line about it. The medical inaccuracies in this show are also quite obvious. While it may be interesting to do spinal surgery via a throat, it probably would not work. Now, I usually would not question the accuracy of medical dramas, but when they do a single lung transplant on a patient with cystic fibrosis, it’s obvious that it’s wrong (only double lung transplants are done, not single as they are counter-intuitive).

“The night shift at a busy trauma center like this is the wild west.”

“The Night Shift” is fast-paced, energetic and entertaining. The ER setting works with the short summer seasons and the army doctor element adds interest into the medical process of the series. There is a good balance between medicine and drama, but the clichés and medical inaccuracies are blatantly obvious and hard to ignore. If you are over the hype of “Grey’s Anatomy” and bored by “Code Black”, try watching “The Night Shift”, but don’t expect “House”.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Night Shift

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