Judge David Johnson wishes he studied to be a smartass brilliant neurosurgeon with a God complex.
This all seems so familiar…
Monroe wants to be House, M.D. and it's not secretive about it. You've got a brilliantly sarcastic doctor, with an ego larger than an Eastern European country, who enjoys verbally abusing his subordinates. He rides a bike to work, has no respect for authority, and makes inappropriate racial jokes. In each episode, he faces off with immense medical challenges that push his skills to the limit, the solution to which are often preceded by a series of red herrings. He says things like "Every person who wakes up in the morning and isn't angry, is an idiot." And when the camera shoots him at certain angles, lead actor James Nesbitt (Coriolanus) even looks like Hugh Laurie. All that's missing is the limp.
It's difficult to separate the two shows, especially since Monroe isn't a remake. Taken on its own, this show is a passable hospital drama, anchored by a moderately charismatic character, and written well enough to separate it from mediocre doctor fare. The medical whodunits are fairly interesting, including a man who has religious visions, a dual gunshot injury with an unseemly cause, and a devastating brain malfunction that debilitates one of Monroe's team members.
So there's that. But wow…is it hard to separate the two shows. Watching both in a vacuum would likely yield less friction, yet measured up to each other House comes out on top and not because "it was there first." Nesbitt's Monroe is an okay doc, a little bit nicer than House and more likely to strike up meaningful relationships with other people. Although, he's far less complex and interesting, making him merely a smart sort-of-dickish doctor.
His crack support team isn't as interesting either. Monroe, as hit-and-miss as he may be, is still the best character on screen at any time, surrounded by a fairly stiff set of supporting characters. The exception: His wife. That fractured relationship is explored throughout the six episodes and culminates in a nice moment at the end. Everything else? Boilerplate medical drama, which you will enjoy based on your love of the genre.
Six episodes on two discs, totaling 274 minutes, each installment transferred in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby 2.0 stereo mixes. No extras.
Not Guilty, but this House clone falls short of its muse.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
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