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A Gifted Man: Pilot

In a nutshell? Grey's Anatomy meets Ghost Whisperer.

Michael Holz is a brilliant, arrogant neurosurgeon with his own top-of-the-line practice. His busy, well-regimented life changes when he unexpectedly runs into his ex-wife Anna, they spend a casual evening together, and the next morning he discovers that she died in a car accident two weeks before.

Anna shows up repeatedly in this pilot, getting Michael to help resolve her unfinished business -- she ran a low income medical clinic, and the employees and patients are devastated by her loss. Michael makes a couple of half-hearted attempts to get rid of Anna, including a new age-y scene with incense and chanting that could have been funnier. In the end, Michael does exactly what Anna wanted him to do, which is help the needy patients at her clinic. In the process, he becomes more open to the problems of his flaky sister and her rebellious teenage son.

I'm not sure if this is the show for me, probably because it's hard to tell from a pilot just where they're going with this. Is it just a medical show with a supernatural twist? We certainly got a lot of the medical, which is so not my thing. But of course, they're signaling that this show is also very much about what it takes to be a good person. It's obvious that this is why Anna is haunting Michael. She loves him and wants him to be aware of how short life can be and what good he can do. She wants him to be a better person.

Patrick Wilson is believable as the driven but confused Michael, and Jennifer Ehle (star of the best version of Pride and Prejudice) projects non-threatening sweetness as Anna. I liked them both, but didn't feel that they had any chemistry as a couple. Julie Benz, who plays Michael's dippy sister, is a long-time favorite of mine from Buffy and Dexter, and I'd really like to see her land on another good series. Margo Martindale, who just won a well-deserved Emmy for her work on the second season of Justified, plays Michael's efficient staff assistant, who is none too happy when he starts scheduling MRIs for people who can't pay for them.

I may give this series a few more episodes and see what direction they go. But I don't care for medical dramas and I wasn't wowed. I like being wowed. Wow me, please.
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Yeah- Right there next to you on this one. I liked ghost whisperer- the early seasons, and really liked Medium, as it was mostly handled in a realistic professional manner. And noting this along the " I don't care for procedurals" caveat:)

    I enjoyed watching this show, but as I sat down to review and recap, I found myself inserting more corrections and suggestions, than raves and praise.

    I have trained as a medicine person, so I had a particular interest in this show. I don't know what the long-term aim is: what they hope it will become... I was hoping for a show that would be edgier and delve into the nooks and crannies of both the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of Life.

    If you're interested- I did explain and overview the Shamanic-healing aspects of the show http://beingherd.com

    I hope this show takes that leap off the cliff. I suspect it will try to tiptoe around the edges of the esoteric, whilst still catering to the mainstream procedural audience. I suspect audience looking for more and more of the really innovative shows will be migrating to the cable channels:)

    I'll give this a few episodes and see where it goes.. and will be really interested to see what your take is on them as well.

    btw- WP login being a bit dodgy. very strange. sorry if anonymous login is a nuisance.


  2. Thanks for your comment, Teri. We'll see how it goes. It's unlikely that I'll review more than the pilot, unless I fall in the love with the series.

  3. Heya Billie,

    Are you planning to tune in next friday? if so, maybe we should book a chat session for the episode, lol:)

    I will probably stick with at least a couple of episodes.. every hopeful.. but it also could depend on whether the pilot was actually the best bit of it.

    I do also appreciate that no really good show, with VERY few exceptions, are a hit out the starting gate. west wing, battlestar galactica, and a couple of others come to mind. The real question is- will the execs and creators be risky and daring and take the chances with being innovative and original- or will they stick with safe, staid, safe-predictable...

    Remember, even shows like NCIS- which, while predictable and procedural, is a solid hit for the network-- did NOT become a success overnight. It crept along very quietly for several years, collected a slow following and them wham.

    Let's hope AGM can evolve and develop and that they do not continue to play our stale stereo-types;)

    nice to meet you. looking forward to comparing notes. what else are you looking at this season?


  4. Hey, Teri: This season, I'm reviewing Supernatural and Dexter, and the premiere only of Terra Nova. I'd really like Terra Nova to be good because I seem to be majoring in vampires these days. Love vampires, but I also love sci-fi. Here's what we're all covering this season:


  5. not too sure on the terra nova premise- cuold turn out sharp and savvy. I do love the sci-fi genre shows, more than the horror-zombie shows. UK being human excellent. walking dead being well done, but I don't know if it will stay on this side of the zom-pocolypse line. Falling skies was pretty well done, actually. More and more of the quality shows are on the cable networks. game of thrones- blew me away. loved it!

    But there really isn't too much good supernatural right now ( not the supernatural) stuff, that is well done. None of it delves into lore, cultural and/ or anthropological- most seem to go for shock value and gore. My deal re he vampire thing, is that it is a huge reflection on where our culture is at. Vampires literally feeding off of others in order to survive. We in western culture have become energy-junkies. war for oil, undocumented workers, and fast food.. all reflect our inability to connect with our own sources of power-energy and taking advantage of what we can beg, borrow or steal:)

    enough on that soap-box though. I will probably check out terra nova, because I think it does have some of the quality names behind it. And I will be patiently waiting for the next Great show to come along. The next BSG, or LOST. Or even something like Saving Grace, which was never afraid of delving into our shadows/ characters shadows.

    Looking forward to what you see in the next AGM episode, and will take a look at your other reviews.


  6. It started out good - witty, fast-paced, quite promising... right up until the ghost part.... which in theory should have been THE interesting part. I don't know for me it lacks an intrigue. And it's more or less predictable, that now he's going to save lives of those who actually want to live rather than those who can pay for it and end up complaining. That tenis "pro" girl needs some serious reality check.

    Though I did watch it until the end, I am not coming back to it, not even for Julie Benz.

    p.s. I find pilots this season to be very disappointing...

  7. I agree about the chemistry problem. Mostly I kept thinking that Michael was like Dr. Strange (Marvel version) pre-car accident. Not that that's a bad thing necessarily.


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