Three Rivers

three-riversIf you’re going to get youself an organ transplant, pray you wind up at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers hospital.

It’s the Hilton of hospitals.

This place is so decked out you even get 1000 channels on the TV in your private room. They might all be tuned to CBS, but hey don’t let that put you off.

In this most shiny of television hospitals the transplant wing of Three Rivers has it all. Big screen monitors, lots of glass, wood panelling and more lights than a Christmas tree. When it isn’t attending to medical patients it could well be refuelling the Starship Enterprise.

The title draws upon the river lifelines of the city of Pittsburgh: the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, which doubles as a neat metaphor for the human heart.

The opening sequence of this drama begins with two medical cases (one is in Cleveland) as a construction foreman has a fatal accident and a schoolboy faints during a Spelling Bee. It’s the kind of set-up common to House, or more aptly, a crime or legal drama. Here they are decidedly hurried, frenetic and histrionic. With its driving soundtrack and zippy edits this is a long way from Dr. Kildare.

A fourth patient will prove to be a pregnant woman in need of a heart transplant while a fourth is an Ethiopian man who walks into Three Rivers seeking out Dr. Andy Yablonski (Moonlight‘s Alex O’Loughlin). With just six months to live, he declares, “This is the best transplant hospital in the United States, and you are the best transplant doctor here.” Backstory solved. But I’m already getting the feeling there won’t be enough hearts to go around.

In the centre of the hospital is an open plan office for our surgeons and nurses. Again it resembles the desks of citybeat cops: ringing phones, hurried extras, handheld cameras, everything but warning, “let’s be careful out there.”

Calm prevails in a high-tech situation room overseen by hospital boss Dr. Sophia Jordan (Desperate Housewives’ Alfre Woodard) and a bunch of white coat young docs. Here Dr. Yablonski lays out the medical case of one of our patients, aided by a glass wall that doubles as some sort of hologram powerpoint show. How much are the medical fees for this place again?

Filling out the central characters are Dr. Miranda Foster (The L Word‘s Katherine Moennig) and Dr. David Lee (Daniel Henney). Foster demonstrates she doesn’t like to work by the book, but has a caring nature. Lee is a go-getter, charged with retrieving the heart from Cleveland against the racing clock. The pilot, reportedly the second shot, is noticably devoid of imposed sexual tension.

After its uneven start, this drama settles down, thanks largely to O’Loughlin adding some earthiness to the panicky tone. It could well be an indication of the series as a whole. Moennig too is reason for optimism.

Whether Three Rivers proves too earnest remains to be seen. And whether in a crowded genre it can find a point of difference -other than its super-duper medical wing- is also a question racing against a ticking clock.

With Dr. House waiting in the wings this may need to find character quick smart or TEN could transplant them.

35_starsThree Rivers airs 9:30pm Wednesday on TEN.


  1. Please bring to back.!!!! Not only was it a great show, but it was addressing a very important part of the medical proffesion and the puplic awareness of Organ Donor’s World wide. Surely public damned is proof of it’s need to be returned. Not Happy Jan!!

  2. I can’t believe Three Rivers is axed. It is such a great show with a great cast and not to mention good looking cast. What’s wrong with a show that isn’t all about who is sleeping with who like that TV show with the name from a famous medical book?

  3. It is hardly giving the show a ‘fair go’ to dump it before it even had a chance to build a following, as I am sure it would have given the chance! They should a least give it one season it is a fantastic show, I have seen all the eps so far and it gets better with each episode! I fell in love with it from episode one and I am sure that given the chance so would many more!

  4. So is the show not on air anymore? what happened? I loved the first ep and looking forward to the next one but it seems that it’s not showing anymore.

  5. I watched it last night.
    I’m still undecided about it, though.
    It got better as it went along.
    But I’m not sure, even with the gorgeous Alex, if it will last.

  6. Originally “Ryan’s First Day” was suppose to be the first episode and “A Place Of Life” was supposed to be the second, so for reason’s we’re not sure why CBS did the switch in the US a week before Three Rivers premiered…….so Channel 10 is actually airing the episodes in the right order.

  7. Whats with that. So they are doing a “Nine” and shuffling the episodes. What a joke. They may as well not show the show at all. I hate networks who like to screw with us. Not happy TEN. I mean the reviews are not crash hot but i want to check it out for myself.

  8. Looks good to be honest..

    House could actually be good on Mondays for TEN, even Fridays at 8.30. If House could pull 800k on Fridays Im sure TEN would be happy.

  9. @russel, it has been in schedule since before the US ratings were released. if ten waited a few more days to schedule it i doubt they would have bothered.

  10. As with most new shows that break new ground (unlike the gazillion spin-offs we are flooded with these days), the networks need to give these shows time and the word is that CBS will nurse (no pun intended) this one through a bit. Episode 2 which was supposed to be aired first packs a lot more punch than ep 1, so it is worth hanging in there. I love the wizz bang hospital set. If it had of been an ER look alike, people would still be whinging that it looked old fashioned. I think the modern look and the storylines break the rules and they set a new benchmark for medical drama’s. I am loving this show and thank you Ten for fast-tracking it.

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