and Paul Chi
April 05, 2010 12:00 PM

Miami Medical

CBS, April 2, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

This Miami trauma-hospital drama is marginally better than Three Rivers, the Pittsburgh transplant-center drama that CBS tried last season. The sunlight has a tropical glow, and the blood has a sticky, visceral sheen-this is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, after all. And Jeremy Northam is an intriguing choice to play Dr. Proctor (yes, that’s his name), a surgeon who’s seen combat. He doesn’t overdo the gonzo shtick; if anything, he underplays the man’s coolness to the point of seeming merely amused. What the show lacks is any core intelligence. In the premiere a top surgeon suffers a meltdown in the OR. He stumbles into the corridor, strips and ambles off in a daze. Not one member of his surgical team goes after him-they just stare. If you want this squad to stitch up your trauma, be my guest.

In Plain Sight

USA, March 31, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

Season 2 ended in a bad way as U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon took a bullet from a gang thug. But she has a Schwarzeneggerian resilience, and in the new season fights her way out of the hospital to work on a case: One of the clients she oversees in witness protection has been having a rough time making ends meet and may have gone back to a sideline of robbery. Mary McCormack’s performance as Mary was good from the get-go, and it’s gotten better. Her face can be a mask of formidable stoniness, but humor and vulnerability surface too. Lesley Ann Warren makes a nice contrast as her desperately fluttery mama.

Jessica Simpson‘s the Price of Beauty

VH1, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET/PT|

REALITY

This global exploration of cultural beauty, inner and outer, might have gained in seriousness if Jessica Simpson and her pals didn’t start off the first two episodes visiting exotic luxury spas. And making jokes about the hair of the poor guy taxiing your elephant? That’s where we get the phrase “Ugly American.” But Simpson takes time to look at instances of beauty abused-an anorexic model in Paris, a Thai woman who ruined her pigmentation with cosmetics-and these are valuable moments.

Fringe

FOX, April 1, 9 p.m. ET/PT

SCI FI

As that swollen singing python American Idol digests its performers and starts slimming down, the paranoid fantasy Fringe returns. The April 1 episode is full of “No way!” moments and one great twist. No spoiler alert necessary: It’s just that we find real feeling beneath all the sinister slithering. The show, journeying to an alternate past, explains the secret of the relationship between Peter (Joshua Jackson) and his nutty dad (John Noble). I’m so glad FOX has renewed Fringe. It’s one of life’s most enjoyable nightmares.

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