“I don’t like FOX’s new show, Red Band Society,” said no one EVER. Critics give the show a lot of flack because it’s unconventional, but it’s damn hard not to enjoy it. Unorthodox? Absolutely! But the fact that there is NOTHING like it happening anywhere else on television adds to the show’s charm. With all the repetitive themes on TV nowadays, Red Band Society is a much-needed breath of fresh air. If you’re like me, and so tired of the witches, werewolves, vampires, FBI agents, and all these damn medieval royal houses killing each other; RBS is the show for you.
I have to start out by saying that I had no real intention of tuning into this show because I’m not a big fan of FOX. (They’ve canceled every show I’ve ever liked after 1 or 2 season, except for GLEE.) However, Youtube.com did a great job shoving ads for the show down my throat as I checked out a Chris Brown video mix while doing some fall cleaning. After every 2 videos there was a placement showing the highlights of the show, so I felt like I had already seen it. But, when 9 o’clock rolled around I turned to FOX and let me tell you, I was a glad I made that choice.
Set in SoCal near the Mexican border, the show follows the adventures of 6 youths of varying ages and ailments during their stay at a teaching hospital with long term care.
Red Band Society features a well-rounded cast of Hollywood newbies and vets. Oscar award winner Octavia Spencer from The Help leads the cast as edgy Nurse Jackson. Her morning barista would fittingly refer to as the “Scary Bitch.” Type cast as the “angry black woman,” Spencer does a great job as the no-nonsense head nurse that tries to keep the teens’ mischief to a minimum. The show’s eye candy comes in the form of Dr. McDreamy II- excuse me, *cough cough* Dr. McAndrew, played by Dave Annable best known for his roles on ABC shows 666 Park Avenue and Brothers and Sisters.
The main focus of the show are the sick teens who actually wear the Red Bands- Charlie, Leo, Jordi, Dash, Emma, and Kara; played by: Griffin Gluck, Charlie Rowe, Nolan Sotillo, Astro, Ciara Bravo, and Zoe Levin. Collectively, the teen cast has a wide variety of experience which includes minor features in films like Echo, Pirate Radio, The Way Way Back, and Just Go With It, as well as voice acting performances in several children’s’ movies. Though they had prior minor features, the cast has major potential based on their performances in the show’s pilot last night.
Narrated by its youngest character Charlie, who is in a coma, we look on as the group tries to stay positive amongst their bad health. Though ill, they still manage to do normal teenage stuff, like go for joy rides, try to purchase beer and weed on the low, and have parties. The group shows us how to find a balance in life and take the good with the bad.
One of the many motivating one-liners from the pilot was a message from Charlie to Leo during his big surgery. – Luck isn’t getting what you want. It’s surviving what you don’t want.” Let that settle in for a minute. It’s a very touching statement that each of us can apply to our own lives.
In my opinion the true power of the show lies in the fact that, though there are differences present within the characters, they all have a common thread. Each of them is doing their best to survive despite the odds. As on lookers into their lives, we can’t help but appreciate our own lives, no matter how good or bad.
The tale of these teens is seen as source of inspiration for us to face our fears, find our true selves, and claim our place in the crazy world in which we live. And YES, this was all made apparent in the VERY FIRST EPISODE!!
Humorous, brilliantly written and chock full of life lessons, FOX definitely has a winner with Red Band Society. Though critics may have their gripes with the show, it’s going to be hard to get rid of this one. With Emmy award winning Margaret Nagle as the creator and the living legend Steven Spielberg as producer, this proactive dramedy has lots of promise. I’m looking forward to tuning in each week to see how the group is coming along.
The hospital, its staff, and its red band-wearing patients, are giving up a much-needed dose of hope, inspiration, and refreshment for all of us in TV Land. Be sure to tune in and jump on the “Red Band –Wagon” and #bandtogether Wednesday nights at 9pm on FOX.