3 LBS: CBS Brings Out The Big Guns!

Stanley TucciWith programs like Grey's Anatomy, House, M.D. and the resurgent ER doing well, I suppose it was just a matter of time before some network decided that it was time to unleash a new medical series. With 3 LBS [Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT], CBS brings out the big guns – Stanley Tucci and Mark Feuerstein play a pair of brilliant brain surgeons with differing approaches…

When teenaged violinist Cassie Mack [Madeline Zima] loses the use the use of her left, hand – and then collapses – during a concert, she is rushed to Hanson Neuro – headed by Dr. Douglas Hanson [Tucci], a supremely talented and equally arrogant brain surgeon. His department keeps the nameless [at least in the pilot] hospital going – no wonder he's arrogant.

Even as Hanson is speaking with Cassie's mom, Dr. Jonathan Seger [Feuerstein] arrives, is greeted by Melania Ortiz [Zabryna Guevara] and is ushered into Hanson's office. Hanson is brusque as he outlines the procedure he's planning, and the newly arrived Seger finds himself explaining Hanson's terms to the mother.

Right away we know that Hanson is one of those misanthropic geniuses who are golden in surgery but are baser metals anywhere else. Seger, we are given to understand, likes to know the people he has to deal with. For Hanson, the brain is "wires in a box." Seger likes to know whose soul he's "bumping up against."

In another examination room, Dr. Adrianne Holland [Indira Varma, Rome, Torchwood] is examining a nervous lawyer – who notes that she likes to work barefoot. When he fails to identify a pair of scissors and a toothbrush by touch, she insists on more high-tech tests.

Cast Photo

3 LBS seem to include Chicago Hope, House, M.D. and CSI in its pedigree. Like both Chicago Hope and House, 3 LBS [which, by the way, is the average weight of the human brain] has a misanthropic genius as a main character, and a number of more sympathetic characters to balance him out. Like CSI, there are those sometimes cool CG excursions into the body to show the audience what's happening inside the patient.

The script is certainly smart enough – lots of different approaches to medicine; rivalries; intriguing character developments [especially with Hanson, who is having waking hallucinations], and even a certain amount of sexual tension between Seger and Holland [which is played lightly and great good humor].

The question is, can 3 LBS flourish? Is it different enough to carve its own niche? The premiere, Lost For Words, does provide interesting characters, and sets up some intriguing relationships – both co-operative and antagonistic. We get moments that reveal a bit more humanity to Hanson; moments that show a budding respect between the two top brain surgeons; the potentially fascinating relationship between Seger and Holland, and even an odd personal/professional relationship for Hanson.

Is the series sufficiently different to escape being labeled as House, Neuro, or CSI: Neurology? Just enough that brilliant performances by Tucci, Feuerstein, et al deserve a shot at earning an audience. Considering that its timeslot places it in competition with House and The Unit, that shot will be harder earned than it might have been – but it does deserve that shot.

Grade: B

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