I didn’t budget much time for this uplifting drama about a teenaged, autistic genius doctor, but it managed to escape an early death with a quirky beginning.
We see Freddie Highmore preparing for the day through a series of oddly cropped camera shots, reminiscent of the opening credits to Dexter.
Wordlessly, they establish that he’s obsessive, intelligent, a surgeon, and not quite normal. A very slick piece of cinematography to open the series.
Then there’s an oddly tacked-on scene where he cuts across a soccer field, and an errant ball causes him to flash back to being bullied as a child. Never mind that an uber organized, autistic doctor would never take a short-cut across a field, the entire scene seems to gratuitous and sharply out of tone with the rest of the show—like a producer decided at the last minute that the audience might not be sharp enough to keep up & needed some spoon feeding.
Then the doctor reaches the airport and we get another series of quirky shots, showing the sensory overload that he would be experiencing.
An accident by a maintenance crew injures a traveler, and we finally get our first line from the main character, as he tells a doctor who stepped up to perform first aid, “You’re killing him.”
Highmore is grating and awkward but still likeable, and I’m hooked, even before we get our first scene with Richard Schiff, YELLING AT PEOPLE who ANNOY HIM.
The show drags as we meet the other people in the hospital where Highmore will eventually take a job, but the scenes with him and Schiff sing, keeping us dialed in, at least through the premiere episode.
It’s hard to imagine that the show has legs to survive long-term. After all, they already resorted to the medical show crutch of doing a chest-tube in the field for the premiere, although they do add an interesting twist on it.
Time of death: Still alive. We’ll see how episode two fares.