Tuesday, June 4, 2019

TV Show Review: New Amsterdam

One of the shows that I have been watching on the Fox TV app is the medical drama New Amsterdam, starring former 90210 and Blacklist actor Ryan Eggold. It is based on a book called Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital. It is about a young medical director named Max who is trying to make changes in one of the oldest public hospitals in the US, aiming to give the best care to his patients. His methods are out of the box and it sometimes rubs people the wrong way, but he has been able to make things work. 

What I found interesting about the show is the lead character. Max is trying to change the status quo to find better ways to serve their patients, even if it means ruffling a few feathers in the process. I also love that instead of pointing out what’s wrong, he is often found saying his favorite line: “How can I help?” I’d love to work for someone like that. 

I have to admit that when I first started watching this, I was mostly just playing this in the background while I did other things. I still caught on to the gist of things, but I never really paid attention until this one scene where Max is on the rooftop of the hospital talking to his friend and oncologist Helen caught me off guard. 

Having followed the show mostly by listening to the dialogue, I knew that Max and Helen were more than just colleagues and had more than a doctor-patient relationship. There was an unspoken of connection, a spark/chemistry that was undeniable between them. 

Max and Helen were good friends, to the point where they were so close that even the man Helen was dating thought there was something between them. Based on that one rooftop scene, it was obvious that they were finally acknowledging it (in their own way) and I had to stop what I was doing to watch it.  

That scene was SO GOOD. I loved how they were talking about their relationship without directly talking about it. The subtext of it all and the phenomenal acting on the part of Ryan Eggold and Freema Agyeman made it such a powerful and moving scene!  

The lines were so well-written: how they were talking about the recent events in the hospital where Max didn’t want to choose one option but wanted to take every option instead — then it was flipped to compare it to how Max was also doing the same with his role as a medical director while undergoing cancer treatment AND his relationship with Helen as both her patient and her colleague. He wanted it all, even if he had to choose just one.  

In reality, the issue was Max not wanting to choose between the obvious relationship he has with Helen and the fact that he has a wife and a baby on the way. You could really tell that when Max says he wants Helen, it’s not just as his doctor. And when Helen replies that it’s not an option because they all want him, it’s obvious she means the same thing. I love, love, loved that scene! I cannot get over it! It made me feel so bad to be rooting for them when I knew that Max had a wife and (soon to arrive) child. I feel like the writers are either going to fix this with the recent season finale and kill off either Helen or the wife. That or they are just going to take things next level with the conflict next season by keeping both of them on the show. 

One thing’s for sure, I’ll be watching the next season when it comes out later this year. 

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