Welcome to the Weekly Binge, where we’ll be taking a closer look at the shows that are worth your time. This week, we’re going inside the walls of Grey Sloan Memorial for a closer look at ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
What’s the premise? Surgical interns and residents at Seattle Grace Hospital (or, Grey Sloan Memorial, as it’s now called) save lives and perform unconventional surgeries as they gossip and sleep their way to the top of the medical industry.
What’s it like? It’s like a soap opera… but good. What separates it from other soaps, though, are the empathetic characterizations, written with care and portrayed by a talented cast of believable actors. Take a little ER, blend in some General Hospital, and there you have it!
How long will it take? This is a long one, but it’s well worth it, so buckle up. Since Grey’s is in its tenth season, there are nine seasons to catch up on. All together there are 196 episodes, not including the 12 that have already aired this season, and that may sound like a huge feat, but it’s no coincidence this show has been on for ten seasons. You’ll probably need a good three to four months to catch up on this series, but that’s what the summer is for. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
What do the critics think? Every season is Fresh on the Tomatometer with the exception of season one, which was a short season that premiered in spring and earned only a handful of reviews. Otherwise, most of the critics agree that Grey’s Anatomy will suck you in. Staci Krause of IGN writes, “Grey’s Anatomy is certainly one of those guilty pleasures that many may not admit to,” while Christina Tran from TV Fanatic claims, “Like always, Shonda [Rhimes] and company know how to keep us captivated and always wanting more.”
Why should I watch this? If the words “McDreamy” and “McSteamy” mean nothing to you, you’ve clearly been living under a rock. The huge ensemble cast is one of the most talented in recent years, and the show is excellent at transitioning smoothly from old characters to new ones. Grey’s tugs at the heart in virtually every episode, and it’s so fervidly charged that it might drain you of emotion by the time its hour is up, but showrunner Shonda Rhimes knows you can’t cry with someone unless you’ve also laughed with them, so the show’s not without a sense of humor. As Cristina Yang, Sandra Oh is often oh-so-funny, and Chandra Wilson delivers some humdingers as feisty Bailey. And with all the unique medical situations that arise, it’s also got the “OMG, did you see what happened on Grey’s last night?” factor.
What’s my next step? Grey’s is Shonda Rhimes’ first success as a producer. If you like medical dramas, she also produced Private Practice and the short-lived Off the Map. Need we remind you that Rhimes is also the producer of the current hit series Scandal? One might also consider ER or Brothers & Sisters to catch a fantastic ensemble cast. Other poignant yet funny television series you may enjoy include David E. Kelley shows like Picket Fences, Boston Public and the recent short-lived medical drama Monday Mornings. Like Grey’s, those shows present humor with irony and some very unlikely situations. You may want to grab a copy of the 1991 film The Doctor starring William Hurt or Awakenings with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.