1. Yes, the narrator is in a coma
FOX’s new show about a hospital’s pediatric ward is already unrealistic with the lengths of its patients’ stays, but its use of voiceover is the most brazen rejection of reality. Lying in his coma, Charlie’s narration serves to introduce viewers to the hospital and patients, but becomes a dangerous crutch as the episode wears on. He observes events in other rooms, shares other characters' thoughts and even interacts with other patients who fall unconscious. The show may be proud of this boldness now, but must be careful to temper the voiceover so it doesn’t overshadow the actors on screen.
2. Kids will be kids
The show brings together a group who want nothing to do with each other outside the hospital walls, almost like “The Breakfast Club.” Leader Leo, cool kid Dash with cystic fibrosis, cheerleader Kara in need of a heart transplant, scholarly anorexic Emma, comatose Charlie and new kid Jordi make up the titular society, a band united in their plight. As a group, they fall into typical teenage antics, forming a love rectangle between former couple Leo and Emma and newcomers Kara and Jordi and attempting to get beer and smoke medical marijuana. Dash’s attempt to seduce young nurse Brittany by exposing himself during his sponge bath is much creepier than a youthful prank and is a bad first impression for the character.
3. Early stages of a bromance
Unable to get a room to himself, Leo is forced to accommodate Jordi, an orphan from Mexico who’s come seeking the best doctors. Leo reluctantly takes Jordi under his wing, showing him around the hospital and throwing a party to celebrate his last day with two legs. In a highlight of the episode, Leo explains what it’s like to live with a leg amputation. Hopefully, the boys don’t allow their common interest in Emma to come between them.
4. Strong adult cast
Though the show is mostly devoid of parents other than Charlie’s father, the kids are surrounded by interesting chaperones like Nurses Jackson, Kenji and Brittany, kind–hearted Dr. McAndrew and the hospital benefactor/hypochondriac Ruben Garcia. The one to keep an eye on here is Nurse Jackson, who uses a commanding tone to run the ward, but shows a soft heart for the children. Though she appears to be a supporting character, I doubt the script will let Oscar–winner Octavia Spencer fade into the background.
5. Final thoughts
In a solid first episode, the show managed to mix a typical teenage show with the tear–jerking moments of a hospital drama to strong effect. It would benefit from less use of voiceover and fewer of Dash’s creepy actions, but if it can otherwise maintain this episode’s tone, it just might be capable of making the audience both laugh and cry each week while enjoying time with the characters.