Nurse Jackie: Season 1 - Review
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Featurettes: All About Edie, Unsung Heroes, Prepping Nurse Jackie, Nurse Stories, plus Cast and Crew Commentaries.
HAVING been an integral part of one TV classic with The Sopranos, Edie Falco is well on her way to helping to create another with Nurse Jackie.
A darkly comic medical drama that airs on US cable TV, Nurse Jackie follows the fortunes of Falco’s sharp tongued, quick witted, pill-popping nurse as she attempts to survive the chaotic grind of a frantic New York City hospital while juggling a hectic home life.
On the one hand, Jackie is a caring and devoted hospital worker who does what it takes to ensure that her patients receive the very best care. She’s also a caring and loyal colleague, as well as a devoted mum and a loving wife.
On the other, though, she’s addicted to pills and having an affair with the hospital’s dispenser (Paul Schulze’s Dr Eddie Walzer), while hanging on to her sanity by a thread.
Over the course of 12 half an hour episodes we get to see if she holds it together, as well as finding out about her equally troubled colleagues – all of whom have their own insecurities to deal with.
Admittedly, it took a couple of episodes of Nurse Jackie to properly warm to its charms – the mix of humour and drama wasn’t always as even, or astute, as the likes of House.
But by episode three, Chicken Soup, and a superb guest appearance from screen veteran Eli (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly) Wallach, you should be completely sold.
You may not always like Jackie… she uses people, she’s selfish, and she’s prone to making plenty of errors of judgement (not least in her adultery), but she’s a fascinating character to spend time with, expertly layered by Falco to ensure that our sympathies are continually shifting towards her.
There’s strong support, too from the likes of Haaz (The Visitor) Sleiman as Nurse Jackie’s gay colleague Mohammed ‘Mo-Mo’ De La Cruz, Twilight‘s Peter Facinelli as Dr Fitch Cooper, Schulze as Jackie’s lover, and Eve Best as Jackie’s best friend and confidante Dr Elenor O’Hara.
The direction, too, is first rate: snappy, fast-moving yet subtle in the way it handles the various emotional highs and lows, and supplied by a number of familiar names (from Steve Buscemi to Sopranos‘ veteran Allen Coulter).
And needless to say for a top-end US TV production, the script positively sparkles, whether it’s via Jackie’s innumerable put-downs or the poignant – if brief – insights afforded into the various characters’ private lives (from which shows like Grey’s Anatomy could well take a lesson!).
By the final two episodes – Pill O-Matix and Health Care and Cinema – you’ll be absolutely riveted, and doubtless screaming out for more once the final end credits roll in suitably open-ended fashion.
Nurse Jackie is another US imported hit that really shouldn’t be missed. Kudos to BBC2 for landing it and refusing to mess around too much with its scheduling.
Personally, we can’t wait for Season 2!
Running time: 338mins
UK DVD Release: March 1, 2010
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