‘Good Sam’ 1×01 Review: “Pilot”

In the vast landscapes of medical shows TV fans have to choose from, Good Sam has burst onto the scene with a new story to tell. .With the sheer number of choices to choose from for medical drama fans, Good Sam has already distinguished itself from its very first episode.

Out of the gate, Sophia Bush is a revelation as the indomitable Dr. Sam Griffith, who steps into a leadership role as a cardiac surgeon at Lakeshore Sentinel Hospital after her father, Dr. Rob Griffith (Jason Isaacs) falls into a coma. It is such a treat for TV fans to see Bush back on the small screen after seeing her in iconic TV roles in One Tree Hill and Chicago P.D. among many others. Dr. Sam Griffith is the perfect role for Bush. Her energy, compassion, and all-around rockstar vibe are exactly what Bush has brought to every role she’s had to date.

Jason Isaacs is also clearly in his element as the boorish, arrogant father of an incredible daughter that out-shines him at every turn. The villainy of an emotionally cruel and distant parent is so relatable, which makes him that much easier to hate. His undermining of his own daughter in the workplace is also chillingly relatable to anyone who has had their professionalism and accomplishments dismissed simply due to their gender. Viewers got a hint that awful behavior is due to long unresolved trauma on the elder Griffiths’ part, and while it’s not at all an excuse to treat anyone terribly, it looks like we’ll get to see this character develop a lot more through the series.

Photo Credit: CBS

Good Sam has also given us a whole group of lovable secondary characters. Edwin Hodge as trust-fund kid Malcolm A. Kingsley had incredible chemistry with Bush. The fact that they hit it off so quickly is a sign that we will see a lot more of these two and their relationship to come. Dr. Lex Trulie (Skye P. Marshall) was the definition of drama with her entanglement with the elder Dr. Griffith, and we know for sure that story isn’t over. Finally, although he seems nice, Dr. Caleb Tucker (Michael Stahl-David) clearly doesn’t appreciate Dr. Sam’s greatness enough.

The actual medical drama in Good Sam’s premiere episode revolved around the case of Julio Vargas (Carlos Albornoz) and his mystery symptoms that develop after being confronted by his wife Daisy (Yarine Pernia) about his marital infidelity. It remains a poignant commentary on the American healthcare system where a team of compassionate, dedicated healthcare professionals who will stop at nothing to reach a patient’s diagnosis is a fantasy that so many viewers are drawn to. With that said, Good Sam may be leaning towards portraying fantastical and rare illnesses and medical situations rather than a more realistic, grounded approach to the medical profession.

Skye P. Marshall. ‘Good Sam’. Photo Credit: CBS

Good Sam is also such a clearly female centered project that is particularly timely given how many shows revolving around the medical profession continue to put men center stage. Produced, created by, shot by, and written by women, it’s so clear that this show has committed to showing it’s female characters in particular with such delicious complexity and depth. Their male counterparts are only able to shine brighter with fully realized female characters. It’s also impossible to talk about Good Sam’s phenomenal debut without talking about the score. American violinist Lindsey Stirling completely outdid herself with the music for the premiere episode, and it just highlighted all of the emotions viewers felt at each crucial moment.

Good Sam is off to a terrific start, and has the potential to cement itself as one of the best medical shows to have aired in the last several years. A tall order, perhaps, but viewers have been introduced to a cast of compelling characters and stories that are sure to continue entertaining us. We are definitely along for the ride, and will hopefully continue to be enthralled and inspired as the shoe continues.

Good Sam airs Wednesdays 10/9c  on CBS.

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