3 Lbs -- an early look
I was pleasantly surprised by 3 lbs, a medical drama that is making an early appearance on CBS since Smith failed earlier this fall. I've seen a few promos for it on CBS lately and they really don't do it justice-- which could spell disaster for this outstanding show. The title, by the way, refers to the weight of a human brain.
3 lbs stars Stanley Tucci, who was most recently seen in The Devil Wears Prada, and Mark Feuerstein, last seen in this Lazy Sunday spoof and also on Good Morning, Miami (3 lbs is far better for him). Feuerstein plays Dr. Jonathan Singer, a brain surgeon who likes to get to know the souls of his patients before he operates on their brains. Tucci plays Dr. Doug Hanson, a brilliant neurosurgeon who is cold as ice toward his patients and everyone around him. Let me say this right off the top: the casting is perfect!
The pilot begins with a case-- during a concert, a teen-ager suddenly loses her ability to play the violin. The show takes a page from Jerry Bruckheimer's manual by giving us an x-ray view of what is happening in the girl's brain to cause her fingers to fail. It's a stunning special effect that does a terrific job of telling us where the brain is failing, without bombarding us with techno-speak.
During the pilot, we also meet Dr. Singer (Feuerstein) on his first day as Dr. Hanson's (Tucci) fellow at a reknowned neuro hospital in NYC. He and Hanson don't mesh. Singer is very touchy-feely with his patients and their families, while Hanson only speaks in technical terms. I was a little weary of the premise because we see that kind of relationship in so many shows-- Cristina versus Burke on Grey's Anatomy, Tom versus Ron on Justice, and Catherine versus Grissom on CSI-- but this one works well. I think it's because we're automatically given so much more of Stanley Tucci's character in this first episode than just his icy demeanor. (He does have a seemingly sexually-charged relationship with a woman whom I swear called him "dad"-- wha?)
There is a lot more, too. On top of the main storyline about the violinist, there's also a sub-plot about a gentleman with memory problems that actually brought tears to my eyes. Also, one of the other doctors is in competition with Hanson and keeps trying to steal his patients (Hanson's retaliation is pretty sweet). And, there's a hot, barefoot neurologist who already has sexual tension building with Dr. Singer and has a mysterious past with Dr. Hanson.
I am honestly very impressed with the pilot. There is a lot of exhibition that has to happen but it's done in a very smooth, understated way. Plus, the medical topics are super interesting. CBS says it has neurologists on staff to approve each story, of which there are infinite possibilities. I just hope that the characters' stories will be as interesting as the cases. I am going to get a Season Pass to 3 lbs on my TiVo, in hopes that subsequent episodes can live up to the pilot (unlike Smith, The Nine, and Justice).
What I also like about this show is it is not ridiculous. I consider House, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and ER to be ridiculous shows. They're all over the top and at least two of them are super goofy. 3 lbs is a straight shooter- a smart show about smart people. There aren't any wacky one-liners and the medical information seems sound (although, I'm no brain surgeon).
Starting today, you can preview 3 lbs on Innertube. It premieres on CBS on Tuesday, November 14th at 10 pm.