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Fall '98: "L.A. Doctors"

To call L.A. Doctors dull is to do a disservice to double-entry accountancy. The show surpasses dull, leaps dull, transcends dull. L.A. Doctors manages to be the kind of astoundingly, incomprehensibly dull that makes you wonder how they filmed the pilot without subjecting the entire crew to massive narcolepsy.

It's not bad, mind you. The production quality is fine, the acting is passable, even the dialogue is OK. But at some point during the development process, someone must have green-lighted the series just to have a handy place to store every medical show cliché ever created.

The crusading youngster, seeing the humanity in every patient! The rapidly-aging ladies man, secretly longing for a family! Dramatic rescues! Ethical dilemmas! Impassioned speeches! Blah, blah, blah. At least ER gives us a guy with a knife in his head every once in a while.

But Doctors is only half the title. L.A. gets basically the same treatment, and it makes Baywatch look like a documentary. Laker games, models, convertibles, publicity agents, shirts and ties of the same color -- OK, we get it. They're in L.A., right? Great. Thanks for the update. The title pretty much establishes the location, Jeb, you don't need to keep beating us over the head with it.

It's hard to believe that Ken Olin's last project was EZ Streets.

Ken, babe, for future reference: If, in your first episode, you haul out the pregnant-daughter-of-a-colleague bit, you're in trouble. If, in your first episode, you dust off the doctor-sits-with-lonely-old-man scene, you're in deep trouble. If, in your first episode, you resort to the child's-drawing-denotes-home gag, you should avoid taking any phone calls from Les Moonves, because they will just depress you.

L.A. Doctors might end up pretty good, simply because the producers appear intent on using up every cliche there is, right out of the gate. Eventually, they'll be forced to turn to originality, out of desperation.

But until then, L.A. Doctors is little more than fodder for a count-the-cliches drinking game -- a drinking game that will leave a beautiful young UCLA coed clinging to life, after a frat party gone horribly wrong.

Which, I believe, is an upcoming storyline.


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