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I went into watching the series premiere of Jada Pinkett Smith’s HawthoRNe (no that’s not a typo) really wanting to like it. Pinkett-Smith stars as Christina Hawthorne, the head of nursing at the hospital where her good friend (Michael Vartan, for heaven’s sake) runs the show. She’s sassy, she has a heart of gold, she sticks up for her nurses, and that’s all well and good. But the show lacks something that the other TNT strong women dramas have – and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it just yet.
On the surface, the idea is solid. A strong woman, in the vein of The Closer and Saving Grace who has her share of troubles, like a mischievous teenage daughter, and doctors who thinks nurses don’t matter. In addition to that, the cast is great and includes just about everyone you all recognize (among others): the hooker with a heart of gold from Men in Trees (Suleka Mathew), Donna from Judging Amy (Jillian Armenante), Roxy from American Dreams (Vanessa Lengies), Janet from October Road (Rebecca Field), the cute guy from Coyote Ugly (Adam Garcia). The show just doesn’t deliver where it should. There’s just no sass to the show. It’s not as whip smart as Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. It feels a little forced, and the chemistry isn’t there just yet.
I don’t want to write it off just yet; I think that the show could be good, could get better, and is lucky to be on TNT to get a chance to try. I just hope that it doesn’t get swallowed up in the shadow of other old favorites and new shows like Dark Blue.
HawthoRNe Series Premiere Airs Tuesday, June 16th On TNT 9PM EST