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Third-episode verdict: 3 Lbs

Posted on November 29, 2006 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


So here we are at episode three of 3 Lbs. (aka the sub's nightmare: is it 3lbs? 3 Lbs? 3lbs.? All these spellings and more are available from CBS). Time for some sort of verdict.

Unfortunately, it's still too early for the Carusometer, since the show isn't obviously bad or obviously brilliant. It's also been rushed onto the screen to fill a Smith-shaped hole in CBS's schedule, so we should probably make allowances while the production team catch their collective breath. Therefore, I'm going to stick with it for a couple of more episodes before passing final verdict.

All the same, although it started off reasonably well, it's already developed a formula. While it's not House's formula, to which the show bears more than a passing resemblance, it's a formula all the same:

  1. a couple of people come down with brain problems of some variety (this week: an aneurism and prosopagnosia, handily also the cover story of the current issue of New Scientist, for those who want to know more), the symptoms of which are then mocked up with CGI, dream sequences, etc
  2. the brilliant surgeon, Stanley Tucci, who's more like Alec Baldwin in Malice than Hugh Laurie in House, says he's going to fix it and explains how
  3. his touchy-feely co-surgeon, Mark Feuerstein, argues about how to deal with the family and the patient's feelings
  4. they operate and mop up the general emotional/physical mess afterwards.

Meanwhile, Indira Varma gets to be kooky with the b-story patient, and we all learn a little something about the brain at the same time. Marvellous.

Without the mystery that is the central element of each episode of House, we're left merely to gawp at how great/caring these surgeons are and discover how weird the brain can make things when it goes wrong. The characters aren't quite compelling enough to make up for this deficiency, so we're left with a show that comes across more like a Discovery Science documentary on how particular conditions can be treated than a drama in which we can become involved.

Still maintaining a general thumbs up for it, but as House learnt early on, it needs some variety if it's going to become a fixture in our viewing diaries.

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