(P)review: Nurse Jackie

This summer, Showtime is bringing a new dark comedy to the game in the form of Nurse Jackie.

Edie Falco (aka Carmela Soprano) plays Nurse Jackie Peyton, who invites comparison to Hugh Laurie’s Dr. Gregory House. But instead of being a mystery show, Nurse Jackie is a black comedy/slice-of-life story.

And of course, instead of following the rockstar lifestyle of doctors ala ER, House, Grey’s Anatomy, etc, this show obviously focuses on nurses. Jackie is given a neophyte nurse “Zoey” to train, swaps stories with her fellow nurse “Mo Mo.” Between this and the deathy-serious setting (an inner-city NYC hospital, and a trauma-ward focus at that).

Jackie is compassionate and abrasive, troubled and dedicated woman who is as much a bundle of indiscretions as any HBO lead or Oscar-movie star. By the end of the first half-hour episode, we’ve seen a full (extra-long) day in Jackie’s life and all the troubles and triumphs that come along with it.

The series promises to be compelling through alternating between uplifting and disturbing, with a visceral sense of reality and lack of Medical Drama glamour. It’s not for the squemish, however, given the amount to which they strive for verisimilitude in the visuals.

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