Hospital dramas aren’t rare on television, from “ER” to “Grey’s Anatomy”. Usually, they’re about doctors and nurses dealing with their work life and personal lives intermingling through a sordid affair or unwanted visitors. Rarely do they focus on the patients, unless said patient helps push the doctor’s storyline. This isn’t the case for Red Band Society, where the patients take center stage.
Red Band Society is about a group of teenagers in a hospital as they deal with their lives and loves while trying to get well. The teens have a variety of disorders, ranging from anorexia to cancer. Each teen has their own disease, and coupling that with drama and angst can lead them to danger. The main storylines are narrated by Charlie, played by Griffin Gluck, a young man in a coma who narrates the show and makes his presence known in other ways.
Casting a television show is a finicky process-it takes a mix of known and unknown actors to both catch the watcher’s attention and keep them interested and get them invested in new actors. Red Band Society does just that, adding a few favorite actors to the cast of mostly new ones. The most notable being Octavia Spencer as Nurse Jackson, the head nurse of the ward. The other actors are all up and coming, some having a few acting credits and others not so much. A few stars of the show are Dave Annable as Dr. McAndrew, X-Factor contestant Astro as Dash, Ciara Bravo as Emma, and Charlie Rowe as Leo Roth.
The show is still fairly new, only airing earlier this year and only airing for ten episodes in the first season. It’s already garnered some attention, however, including a People’s Choice Award nomination for Best New TV Drama. Along with award nominations, it’s garnered great reviews, including one from People magazine, saying, “Red Band Society, which could turn out to be one of the best new shows of the fall, is like that, constantly catching you unexpectedly. A show about young people dealing with terrible illnesses (cancer, failing hearts, eating disorders) could have us weeping nonstop without even having to try – it could go for broke either with reminders of early death or life-affirming lessons about the enduring human spirit.” Not many shows would take on such serious illnesses in children, but it’s time television made people remember that these illnesses don’t just happen to adults.
Much like the patients the show circles around, fans of the show now ask the big question: can the show be saved? Such serious content may have worked against it, since the ratings and views were less than FOX hoped they would be. 3.5 million viewers may seem like a lot, but when more popular shows rank upwards into the 8 to 10 range, it is not so staggering. Despite the setback, reports that FOX has ordered more scripts for the show, but warns that it doesn’t mean it will come back for a second season. Red Band Society finished its first season, but all episodes are available to stream on FOX’s website. No notice has been given for a renewel.

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