Emily Owens, M.D. Review: Freaks and Geeks

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Emily Owens, M.D. is a show with a lot of heart. Unlike the other programs in this genre that debuted this year, EO feels like a winner. The narrative is cohesive. It's quirky and smartly written, while still treating the medical cases seriously.

As the CW's foray into the medical drama arena, I'm giving it two thumbs up.

First Day of Work

The pilot did a great job of explaining both the series and introducing the characters.

The premise is this: Emily starts the first day of a surgical residency feeling that she's finally "grown up." She's left the anxiety and insecurity of her younger years behind her. That is, at least until she finds that the hospital is an awful lot like high school. The issues of belonging, insecurity and jealousy remain as do the cliques, as Tyra Dupre, daughter of the hospital's Chief of Staff, points out.

Tyra: You've got your jocks, aka the orthopedic surgeons. Mean girls go into plastics. Your All-American, girl next door types, they're gonna be in OB. The true geeks, they're the neurologists. The rebels are in the ER. Stoners, anesthesia, and peds gets your sanctimonious church-goers.
Emily: How about us.
Tyra: Surgery's a melting pot, a little bit of everything, which basically means none of us get along. | permalink

Emily is immediately confronted with her Ghost of School Years Past, Cassandra Kopelson, the girl who caused her to gain the unfortunate nickname "Pits" during a debate in high school. Cassandra, who smells blood in the water, is unable to let the past go and has the capacity to instantly transform Emily into the same girl she was back then - shy, slightly awkward, nervous.

But Cassandra's shark-like attacks are a cover for her own insecurities, setting these two up as great foils for one another. Foils with a boy in the middle.

Will Collins is Emily's friend and study partner from med school. And potential love interest, because what drama would be complete without one of those in the ensemble, right? They've both ended up at the same teaching hospital and we know from Emily's many voiceovers that she wishes things were more than just friendly between them. All of his signs point towards reciprocation of those feelings. But when Emily, at the behest of a 12-year old patient, screws up enough courage to tell him, he sends her running for a pack of Ring Dings when he says he doesn't see her like that.

At the end we see him flirting with Cassandra, which I hope isn't an attempt to force a triangle because, quite honestly, those are feeling a tad overdone these days and sparks weren't exactly flying from my television set when the two were together. It will be refreshing to see them remain platonic if the writers go in that direction, and I sincerely hope they do. That opens the door for Emily and Chief Resident Micah Barnes to get together, which might complicate things nicely since he is her superior and has an ailing mother to care for.

But back to the voiceovers for a second.

Can I just be honest and say that, while it may not be popular TV-viewing opinion, I love them? Because I do. I love a good soliloquy, especially in a show centered on one character. If Emily is my main character, the one I'm supposed to root for above all others, I want to know what's going on in her head and voiceovers do that in a way that doesn't seem like dialogue placed solely in the episode so that the character can say what she's feeling out loud to another character.

And with a character like Emily, who seems very in-her-own-head, they work. They're the equivalent of first-person narrative in the television world, and as a book lover, I appreciate a good first-person narrative.

Okay, okay, enough waxing philosophic about the voiceovers. (Though if you want to read more of them, a couple of them are here on the Emily Owens, M.D. quotes page. I couldn't help myself.)

I'll admit, the opening scene where Emily ridicules a high school student felt at best unrealistic and at worst stupid. I was kind of afraid our main character would be some completely inept, awkward bumbler regarding everything she did, including practice medicine. I crossed my fingers that the show would get better because otherwise, it would make for a long, long season of reviewing. I was happily rewarded once Emily gave herself a pep talk and stepped inside the hospital.

Emily Owens is the perfect balance of science and soul. She's confident in her professional life and insecure in her personal one. While she's intimidated by those who would see her fail for their own gain, she's sure-footed enough to keep that from happening, even if she doesn't see that about herself. In fact, I think it's how unassuming she is that makes her a likeable character. She's surrounded by a supporting cast of characters who (mostly) shine in their own right while adding to the main character's story instead of detracting from it.

So now it's your turn, TV Fanatics. What did you think of the premiere of Emily Owens, M.D.? Vote in our poll and then talk to me! I want to hear your thoughts.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (91 Votes)

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


Who else thought the high school girl eating a sandwich was younger Emily at high school. It's funny how we have grown accustom to that kind of storytelling that the writers can still pull one over on you. It got a bit annoying when she attempted to ridicule the girl, but eh. It's tough separating Hartley from his action packed character on Smallville, he seems more laid back. People have been making many comparisons to Grey's Anatomy, but we get more of a look inside Emily's head. We become her eyes, ears and thoughts. Is it just a stereotype of most teaching hospitals, or do all interns learn the way of the hospital like this? If so then this pilot is being used to introduce all characters with this tactic. It does however make you want to see how Emily deals with her awkward adulthood teen life. Do we ever really grow up?


When I heard that Emily Owens was going to be a main character in a medical oriented tv show, I thought that it would be great 'cause I loved her appearance in The Good Wife and the promo looked really interesting. Maybe it was because I had high standard, but the beginning was slightly disappointing in the fact that it was a remake of Grey's Anatomy. Seriously, interns getting the pep talk with the mean boss? That was exactly like Grey's Anatomy. Sure, they changed a few things, but it was really just a remake... and a bad one at that. I do love her voiceovers, but I really hope that they won't just follow behind Grey's Anatomy like a puppy.


This was a good first episode. The only issue for me was it felt very (very) similar to the Grey's Anatomy pilot. Anyone else notice the similarities?


I love the show!I don't know why many people hated it.Emily is quite relatable..I want her to date Dr micah.he is my fave character right now..I don't want her to date will,am so over that storyline.I just pray they don't make it a love square or triangle,but since its the CW I don't have much hope...it was a decent pilot,am going to watch next weeks episode.


It wasn't impressive enough, but like all shows, you can judge it based on the pilot. I'll give it another 2 episodes or so, mostly because I have nothing else to watch in this time slot. I must say that the cast do sell it though.


Its good, not the best. We'll see how this plays out in the long run... I like that The CW is branching out. The writing was smart. I especially liked the twist at the end when we see that it's Micah's mom that has the stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Very creative of the writers. I'm looking forward to the next few eps to make a decision.


I find the actress very charming but the character she plays is annoying. I hope she gets less weird soon.
It was ok with JD on Scrubs, but this just does not seem as natural as Scrubs.


Very contrived, and totally not digging the force a gay character down our throats straight out of the gate! Every heard of something called being subtle. Nope not this show. It was screaming out , here our our "characters" lets bang you over the head with them loud and clear so you all know who is who. I felt like this show is a pale imitation of a mix of other doctor shows.


The inner monologue is torture. She's 10x too awkward.


★★☆☆☆TV Saw it last week and yeah Mamie just doesn't impress. Actually find her hard to look at; as this character. She was great on The Good Wife. It's like they wanted a Zooey Deschanel but just got the awkward. CW really missed the demo here, this belongs on TNT.

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Emily Owens, M.D. Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Tyra: You've got your jocks, aka the orthopedic surgeons. Mean girls go into plastics. Your All-American, girl next door types, they're gonna be in OB. The true geeks, they're the neurologists. The rebels are in the ER. Stoners, anesthesia, and peds gets your sanctimonious church-goers.
Emily: How about us.
Tyra: Surgery's a melting pot, a little bit of everything, which basically means none of us get along.

I wasn't one of those kids who thrived in high school. I was geeky. Alright, I was very geeky...high school was rough. But, you know what got me through? The knowledge that I'd outgrow all those feelings of insecurity and in