Categorised | US TV reviews

Review: Rush 1x1 (USA)

Posted on July 18, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

USA Network's Rush

In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, USA Network

A while ago, I remarked that of all the people from Coupling whom you might have expected to see as a US action hero, Englishman Richard Coyle was probably at the bottom of the list, since he played poor old put-upon, terminally unconfident Welshman Jeff.

Well, it seems the season for such surprises because over on basic cable, USA has decided that absolutely the best person to head up its new dark, gritty – well, darker, grittier – medical show Rush is Welshman Tom Ellis. From Miranda. Yes, Miranda.

Here, let Blog Goddess and Welshwoman Joanna Page talk you through Tom Ellis’s Miranda highlights.

As Ellis himself remarks, "If Rush was a show in the UK, I don't think that they would think of me to play that part."

All power to him, though, because despite being forced to play American, Tom Ellis is actually very good in Rush. Tom Ellis is not Rush’s problem.

And Rush does have problems. Many of them. The most obvious of these is it’s basically Royal Pains crossed with the anaemic US version of Rake. Just like Dr Hank, Ellis’s eponymous Rush is a concierge doctor to the rich and famous, rushing to their side whenever they’re in medical trouble and using his ingenuity and network of connections to solve the trickiest of medical concerns.

But just like Rake’s Cleaver Greene, Rush is in it for himself and is a drug-taking, near moral vacuum who likes to screw around, smoke at his godson’s party, sabotages his relationships, exploits his female assistant and will take the worst scum of humanity as his clients, as long as they pay cash up front or hold a gun to his head.

Except this is basic cable so Rush has a heart. And it’s the USA Network, where characters are welcome and dark and gritty aren’t. Which means if you’re expecting a rush from Rush, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Here’s a trailer:

RUSH examines the world of renegade physician Dr. William P. Rush (Tom Ellis, “Miranda”), a “medical fixer” who privately caters to LA’s elite and whose service comes with a hefty price tag. Though the hard-partying doctor claims that he doesn’t make judgments about his less-than-squeaky-clean clients, he’s not immune to the ugliness that he encounters. From Fox21 (“Homeland”) and writer/director Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies”), along with Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo (“Missing,” “13 Going on 30”) and Executive Producer Adam Fierro (“The Shield”), the series is set to film in Vancouver, Canada.  

Is it any good?
Much like that first episode of Royal Pains, it’s appalling toothless rubbish for its first 20 minutes. While Ellis is charming, he’s saddled with USA ‘character lines’ that make you think his Rush is a complete cock – and not in an interesting House-like way but in a ‘I take too much cocaine and think I’m God’s gift. And gosh! Aren’t I funny?’-like way. Every joke falls flat and every situation designed to make him look amoral, immoral and self-centred is so full of basic cable’s lack of daring that it comes across like a 13-year-old saying the word ‘bum’ a lot in order to shock and outrage.

Again, this isn’t Ellis’s fault – it’s the writing. OMG! He has to operate on a bloke with dick problems! Oh no. How outrageous this programme is.

However, by about the mid-point of the show, when it’s stopped trying to show how close to the knuckle it is and failing hopelessly, it does begin to even out. Rush becomes a bit more like the innovative Dr Hank, there’s a genuinely interesting operation scene, and he begins to show emotions that aren’t merely surface deep and glib. The end twists aren’t extraordinary but they at least show a little promise.

Nevertheless, you’ll have seen all of this before. It’s West Coast Royal Pains. It’s Rake (US) with a doctor. It’s Necessary Roughness with slightly worse behaved sports stars. None of the supporting characters, particularly Odette Annable’s massively underwritten ex-girlfriend, get much by way of development time. We already have evil Hank revealing his inner softy, neutralising any truly dark edge to which the show could have aspired.

It’s just all so insipid. There’s nothing really to latch onto, no element to it that makes you go, “Yes, I must tune in next week to watch that.”

Apart from Tom Ellis. Maybe.

Related entries

  • July 18, 2014: Mini-review: You're The Worst 1x1 (FX)
    A review of FX’s You’re The Worst
  • July 18, 2014: What have you been watching? Including Extant, Tyrant, The Last Ship, Suits, 24 and Halt and Catch Fire
    A look back at the TV that aired in the week ending July 11 2014
  • September 2, 2014: Mini-review: The Cosmopolitans 1x1 (Amazon Prime)
    A review of the first episode of Amazon Prime’s The Cosmopolitans
  • May 28, 2015: Preview: Mr Robot 1x1 (US: USA Network)
    A review of the first episode of USA Network’s Mr Robot
  • May 15, 2015: Trailers for USA's upcoming shows Mr Robot and Complications
    Trailers for USA’s Mr Robot and Complications
  • May 12, 2015: Watch trailers for all the new Fox 2015-6 shows
    Trailers for Fox’s 2015-16 shows
  • June 25, 2015: Review: The Astronaut Wives Club 1x1 (US: ABC)
    A review of the first episode of ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club
  • September 8, 2015: Preview: Lucifer 1x1 (US: Fox)
    A preview of Fox’s Lucifer
  • November 6, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Legends, Dim Ond y Gwir, Arrow, 800 Words and Limitless
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Friday 6 November 2015

Read other posts about: , ,

Allowable comments

You can leave just about any kind of comment you like. You can argue, suggest I am (or anyone else is) wrong, leaving general messages of love – anything. However, you absolutely can't leave messages that attack other commenters (or me), are simple variations of "your review sucks" or that are misogynistic, racist, homophobic, etc: your comment will either be edited or deleted and you'll be barred from leaving any further comments. We want to keep it civil here.


You can hide a spoiler by putting <spoiler> before it and </spoiler> after it. Hover over a spoiler to reveal it!

Featured Articles

The Bold Type

Journalism for people who can't read more than a Tweet