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TV Series Review

Bunker Hill ain't just any ol' hospital.

The place is an amalgamation of the latest medical gizmos and bleeding-edge internet tech. It's staffed by doctors and experts who got tired of bureaucracy, red tape and all those pesky rules. Every patient who goes there is terribly sick, walks out completely better and never, ever has to pay a cent.

Bunker Hill is what might happen if Mark Zuckerberg cashed out his billions and funneled them all into one nifty medical building, a health care utopia built in the only place such a thing could exist: television.

Code Green, Code Green

James Bell is this CBS drama's Zuckerberg, a tech titan who's funneled much of his fortune into Bunker Hill. And since he owns the place, he feels he can waltz around the hospital in bare feet. (Wait, wouldn't that be, like, horrifically unsanitary?)

Why spend so much money on one San Francisco medical facility? James is just that kind of swell guy. Well, that and he has Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome, a rare neurodegenerative disease that could rob the mogul of both his body and brain before it's through with him.

But James knows that his own treatment is a long way off. In the meantime, he simply hopes to help the common man. To do so, he recruits a bevy of skilled, dedicated doctors. Dr. Walter Wallace leads the pack: The gifted physician was booted from his own hospital after he used an unapproved cancer treatment on an 8-year-old boy. Sure, the boy died, but Dr. Wallace's go-for-the-gusto moxie is just what James is looking for.

A bevy of other physicians fill out Bunker Hill's narrative prescription. Dr. Zoe Brockett and Dr. Malik Verlaine care for patients with aplomb. (And when they're not curing their charges from the incurable, they're giving each other longing looks.) Dr. Scott Strauss doubles as a Catholic priest, much to the chagrin of tech maven Angie Cheng, who has eyes for the handsome doc. Dr. Talaikha Channarayapatra is the hospital's resident neurosurgeon who, alas, has no one to bat her eyelids at. But if CBS gets enough episodes, you can bet your bottom medical form that will change.

Critical Condition

Our newsfeeds are filled with stories about government health care, ever-rising medical costs and overcrowded waiting rooms. CBS probably hoped Pure Genius would scratch some felt itch it thinks we all have, to give us a vision of what medical care should look like … if cost wasn't an issue, if all the doctors were brilliant and pretty, and if technology had the ability to make all of our pains go away.

The result feels like a mix of Star Trek and Gray's Anatomy—a soapy medical drama wherein most patients are cured with what seems to be a magic wand. (In one recent episode, Angie brags that their machines can detect the presence of E. coli in water in eight seconds whereas everywhere else it takes eight hours. Well, that's great, Angie. Maybe you could share that tech with, say, a hospital in Bangladesh?)

Content problems in Pure Genius are less numerous than many medical dramas. Viewers smell more romance than cleaning agents in Bunker Hill's air, but the show rarely traipses off to the nearest bedroom, Gray's style, for explicit hanky-panky. And while we do see our fine doctors operate on always grateful patients, the hospital's sci-fi environs (and the show's cheaper special effects) staunch the blood a bit. We sometimes hear minor profanities, but nothing more. And there's no question that Bunker Hill is filled with admirable folks doing admirable work.

Alas, sparse content does not always equate to a great show. I wish it did. As it is, Pure Genius falls somewhat short of its name.

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Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

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Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

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Plot Summary

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Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Pure Genius: Dec. 1, 2016 "Bunker Hill, We Have a Problem"



Readability Age Range



Dermot Mulroney as Dr. Walter Wallace; Augustus Prew as James Bell; Odette Annable as Dr. Zoe Brockett; Reshma Shetty as Dr. Talaikha Channarayapatra; Aaron Jennings as Dr. Malik Verlaine; Brenda Song as Angie Cheng; Ward Horton as Dr. Scott Strauss






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On Video

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Paul Asay

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