There was some controversy in the world of TV in April. Dr. McDreamy has died and many Grey’s Anatomy’s fans are disturbed about the loss of a favorite character. I hadn’t jumped on the Grey’s Anatomy bandwagon (I can be slow about that sort of thing) so I started watching it on Netflix out of curiosity to see what the fuss is about. So far I’ve watched the first three episodes of the first season, and for the most part it’s a good show, and funny in many ways, but I’ll say more about that later.
First of all, I do know how you can get attached to a character; I would hate for anything to happen to the characters on my current favorite shows, NCIS New Orleans and Once Upon a Time, particularly Agent Pride or Rumple. I get that killing off a popular central character may not be the wisest move if the show is going to last, and I understand a show being cancelled is disappointing. Bobby Simone from NYPD Blue, Mark Green from ER, and Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap are among my favorite characters from past shows. I was sad when Bobby and Mark were killed off and Sam didn’t make it home, but I wasn’t angry at anyone. TV shows and characters don’t last forever; things change. I admit I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to NYPD Blue or ER after Jimmy Smits and Tony Edwards left, although Dennis Franz was wonderful as Andy Sipowicz, and Rick Schroder did a good job with the Danny Sorenson character. NYPD Blue ran for 12 years and ER ran for 15 years in spite of the cast changes though, so people must have been watching the programs.
Whether a show is character or plot-driven makes a difference. At least part of the reason the original Law and Order lasted as long (20 years) as it did through the various cast changes is because the focus was more on the cases than the characters, and people wanted to know if the bad guy was convicted.
My take on Grey’s Anatomy is that the acting is excellent. Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey are likable, if flawed, characters. (Patrick Dempsey was adorable in Enchanted by the way). The medical cases are interesting, and the portrayal of what people training as doctors have to deal with appears to be accurate. Meredith’s relationship with her mother, a well-known doctor who now has Alzheimer’s, is touching. Going back to what I said about plot, so far the storylines are essentially about people being stupid or selfish. Getting drunk and having a one-night stand with a stranger is just…dumb. This does set up what happens later, and there is an element of humor when Meredith and Derek see each other later at the hospital. However, it’s still dumb for any number of reasons. Meredith does acknowledge this, and she does make an effort to learn from her experiences and mistakes. Of course human beings aren’t perfect and a perfect character would be boring and unrealistic. The characters need to have challenges or conflict to overcome, but there should be other aspects for balance. After watching the first few episodes, I like, don’t love the show, although I like Derek and Meredith very much. I will likely finish the first season and decide at that stage whether to continue watching Grey’s Anatomy.
The point is, there’s something to be said for relaxing and enjoying a show and the characters while you can. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with having a favorite show or character, but the world isn’t going to end because a character leaves or a show has been cancelled.
You never know; they brought Bobby Simone back as a ghost in an episode later, and people were so ticked off when they killed off Bobby Ewing’s character on Dallas they rewrote the story so that it was a dream his wife Pam had. They might do something similar with Derek Shepherd.