Pure Genius is a new medical drama on TV and it’s unlike any other from the past. The show is about a state-of-the-art hospital with an ultramodern and high-tech approach to treating patients. Bunker Hill Hospital was built by billionaire genius, James Bell (Augustus Prew), to revolutionize the way hospitals are run and patients are treated. He chose Dr. Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney) as Chief of Staff. Together with his staff, which consists of Dr. Zoe Brockett (Odette Annable), Dr. Talaikha Channarayapatra (Reshma Shetty), Dr. Malik Verlaine (Aaron Jennings), Dr. Scott Strauss (Ward Horton), and Angie Cheng (Brenda Song), this group takes technology in the medical field to a whole new level.
Executive Producer, Jason Katims, recently spoke with members of the press. “There’s a wish fulfillment,” Katims said in regard to the theme of the show. “There is hope. And I think in the world that we’re living in now, you turn on your TV, you look outside, and there’s a need for that. There’s sort of a want for that. And I think we sort of want to definitely balance that, though, against the obstacles, that these are not in every episode. Our characters will be dealing with the obstacles of trying to push medicine forward through the use of technology, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It certainly is a show that we think of as hopeful and aspirational, but we also want to sort of make it real.”
What excites Katims is that the storylines are not based on science fiction. On the contrary: “All the technology and all the stuff that is used in the show is all based on real things that are being developed in the world, all over the world. It’s not stuff that’s being used yet, not stuff that’s at the stage that we see it in the show where it’s actually being used, but there are things being developed and tested, and we’re looking at the world five minutes from now or ten minutes from now or, in some cases, a few years from now. And that’s very exciting.” It definitely is an aspect of the show that will give viewers hope for the future. The medical field is on the brink of many major advancements. When they will happen is not known, but they are coming.
“A few years ago, four or five years ago, I had a situation where I had two very close people in my life, my wife and my dad, who both got very ill. And I spent a year in hospitals back and forth as a supporter of them and an advocate for them. And what I found in that experience was a couple things. One is it renewed my admiration in doctors and their commitment, their passion for what they do,” explained Katims who has a very personal stake in this project.
“But, on the other hand, it also made me feel frustrated by the system that they were working in. I felt like the red tape, the bureaucracy, the one person not talking to the other, and I yearned for a hospital like Bunker Hill Hospital. I yearned for a place where best idea wins, where everybody’s talking to each other, where things didn’t fall through the cracks, and so I tried to sort of imagine what that hospital would look like, what would it be, and that sort of led to the idea of merging the worlds of medicine and technology, not only in terms of technology in terms of the gadgetry and the programming and that kind of thing, but also in terms of the philosophical approach to solving problems, you know, a world without a hierarchy, a world where best idea wins, where there are no offices, where everybody has access to all information. That was very exciting to me. It was very exciting to me to do in a television show and it’s very exciting for me to imagine something like that actually happening.”
In the past, TV had doctors like Marcus Welby who made house calls and did everything he could for his patients. Just try to find that kind of doctor these days. It’s almost impossible and with the bureaucracy it is probably improbable. Pure Genius provides an entertaining show that is wish fulfillment for Katims, the cast, and the viewers.
Pure Genius premiers Thursday, Oct. 27 on CBS.