Saving Hope Review: The Space Between

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A medical drama with a supernatural twist, Saving Hope is a compelling hour of television.

And if nothing else Daniel Gillies is back on my screen, which is enough reason to watch if there was ever a reason to watch. (Even if he's not playing the calculating, family-centered member of the undead like his character on The Vampire Diaries.)

Saving Hope Premiere Pic

The Pilot begins with a car crash as Dr. Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks) and his fiance' Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance) are on the way to their wedding. After saving the woman who caused the crash, Charlie falls unconscious and is in a coma. From his coma he can see and hear everything that happens at the hospital, including the patients who are dead and dying. Through them, he learns that there's more to life and being a doctor than he previously thought.

It's this supernatural element that sets Saving Hope apart from its hospital-drama predecessors.

As an in-betweener, Charlie watches the interactions of his fiance' and colleagues and comments on the roles of doctors in the lives of patients, specifically his role as a surgeon. This is the "Greek Chorus" that Daniel Gillies spoke of in his recent interview with TV Fanatic.

Gillies' character, Dr. Joel Goran, is new to Hope Zion Hospital having taken a paycut to practice there as an orthopedic surgeon and is Charlie's foil. He and Dr. Reid have a romantic past and while he's apparently a womanizer and all-around not nice guy, he doesn't seem like it. (Maybe it's the hair. Or the hint of an accent.) He and Charlie are also quite different in their approaches to surgical medicine.

Charlie is certain, swift and precise. He's methodical and he'll choose the sure outcome over the risk. Goran, on the other hand, is more conservative in his approach, choosing to understand why patients make the decisions they make. They seem so different, in fact, that I have a hard time picturing Goran as the jerk he's supposed to be.

Nothing about him implies that he's anything but a nice guy. None of this is to say that Charlie isn't a nice guy who is hopelessly in love with his fiance' or is the stereotypical surgeon certain he can cure the world's ills with a scalpel, but Charlie's monologues indicate that there's a bit of this tendency trapped inside his coma-stricken body. (To read some of Charlie's musings, check out the Saving Hope quotes page.)

Their differences are shown in their approach to a patient who has a tumor that requires surgery. Charlie is prepared to amputate the man's arm and has convinced the patient that this is the best course of action. When he ends up in his coma, Goran takes over his patients and can't amputate the man's arm opting instead to remove the tumor. In the end, the patient seems appreciative that he still has his limb, despite promising to sue Goran. Charlie muses that this must be what it's like when doctors take the time to get to know their patients.

Charlie's ghost-like interactions with Alex are, for lack of a better word, haunting. Whenever he reaches out to her, she panics. When she tries to reach out to him, she panics then, too. Alex seems comfortable in her role as doctor, but very unsteady without Charlie as a grounding force in her personal life. In fact, she's so grounded in her professional life that she's ready to give up hope on Charlie making a recovery because she realizes, as a doctor, that his chances of survival are slim.

She loses a patient and helps a father connect with his premature son but breaks down when she realizes she may lose the connection she has with Charlie. She's very compartmentalized which makes her emotional moments that much stronger and more human.

In addition to Charlie, Alex, and Goran, there's also the rag-tag bunch of residents and other doctors to fill out the staff, one of whom reminds me of a young John Carter, except female. Maggie Lin (Julia Taylor Ross) seems so eager for Alex's approval, paging her with every question she has as she starts her surgical residency, not unlike Carter to Dr. Benton early in ER's run. She's uncertain of herself but admiring of her superiors. She wants to do well and please but lacks confidence in her abilities.

Saving Hope isn't perfect. There are things that I don't understand, among them is why Alex is continually paged on a pregnant patient's case after they transfer the girl to the proper floor. I also don't see Joel Goran as the womanizing, cocky, can-do-no-wrong surgeon he's supposed to be while Charlie's monologues tend to paint him as someone who is faithful to his fiance' but very much thinks surgeons are gods among doctors.

However, there's always something about a hospital that provides an excellent backdrop for television dramas. Maybe it's the revolving door of patients with problems and watching the way the doctors interact with and have their lives affected by those patients. Maybe it's that medical situations in general can sometimes be high drama themselves. Maybe it's that once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a doctor before I realized 1) I really hate needles and 2) well, I really hate needles. No matter the reason, this is a show I'll be watching.

What did you think of the Saving Hope pilot?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (89 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


I am sick to death of shows stealing other plot lines. This show pretty much stole everything from "A Gifted Man" No originality. I loved a Gifted Man and I was very upset when this was cancelled. Yet this use the same sort of thing like being able to a dead person, or talking to the dead person...This will never take the place of A Gifted Man and it needs to give up.


I would like to encourage the writers not to turn Saving Hope into a Soap Opera where people change partners like they change shoes, cheat left and right, can't be faithful because being a player somehow is sexier. People who go through thick and thin for another person, do what they need to do to solve problems between them and deepen their relationship in the process... live 60 years together... that should be what is "valued" and sexy if we want this world to become a better place where people feel stable, healthy, safe and can have confidence in other people rather than not. Enough of the violence and deceit as a belief system.


I just started watching this show so I can catch up before it comes back 8/16/12 and I loved it. Of course I have to watch it Daniel Gillie is on it. I started watching for him, but I really like the storyline and the episode and he is an added bonus. I can't wait to see what is in store!


I was a little too harsh in my previous assessment. I get the feeling this show is more like "the dead zone.." This guy wakes up from a coma and can see the future. The dead Zone combined with the procedural from medical drama. Altho the surgeons personality bugs me a little (Will getting to know patients HELP doctors? (Uh, yeah? Isn't that the problem with our doctors today?) And Joel the cheating ex seems like the nicest person so far on the show.


I'm only 13 minutes through the pilot and I went to google to type in.. "BRIGHT BLUE LIGHTS SAVING HOPE" to see what was up and.. I get this review. Nope, they are not going away. I told the poll I would give it another chance.. because I hate reality shows. But I dont know if I will.. For some reason legal dramas have a formula of built in drama that i appreciate but with medical dramas... After shows like Mercy (NbS- starring a blond Iraqi war vet with a drinking problem) and Grey's Anatomy I don't know if anything I see will live up to those two! I did like Cbs's A Gifted Man- it grew on me- but to answer the person who commented, they cancelled that when it was midway through-- the ratings weren't good enough. Anyway, I guess I'll be "saving hope" I can watch the rest of this episode. Undecided.. Why did they have to take away Unforgettable and Ringer and The Secret Circle and Awake and Pan Am and the Breakout Kings only to put this blue light thing on lol? They had such a good line up last year..




What a cliche: "Well, I guess things might be different if I got to know my patients." Really? What a waste of time, and with the tone of preaching to the audience. And the over-the-top can't keep their hands off each other. No subtlety at all, no originality, and very poorly paced. Very, very boring. I turned it off after the replacement doctor told the patient that he looked him up on the internet and then psychoanalyzed him. Didn't even have the decency to say why he was the new surgeon.


I don't know how far this show can really go. Especially on this network where shows rarely make it in the first place. I like the characters and everything, but how long can they keep the guy in a coma, for real? It moves really slow throughout. And if they eventually decide to wake him and he retains the ability to see dead people then it's kind of like that other show on another network, CBS' A Gifted Man, which also might be cancelled.

Miranda wicker

Maybe the blue filter will be like the crow and the fog from the beginning of The Vampire Diaries and after an episode or three the producers will tire of it and it'll disappear. I hope.


I'm thinking that they will wake Charlie up at some point, and he'll still have the 'gift' that he has while he is in the coma - probably a little Haley Joel Osment in the 6th Sense. I hope it's sooner rather than later though, as the whole coma thing, and associated blue filter over the screen is getting old already.

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Saving Hope Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Joel: It's gonna be weird, isn't it? I mean you and me. You didn't invite me to the wedding so presumably you're still in love with me.
Alex: Right. I totally forgot. I like to remember the poems you wrote me, the breakfast in bed, the nurses you were banging.
Joel: Okay, we can stop right there.

This is how it happens. You leave it all behind. Everything you love. Everything you know. You belong to the hospital now. And all you can do is hope.