Near the end of the emotionally draining second-season opener of CTV’s Saving Hope, doctors Alex Reid and Charlie Harris discuss whether they are lucky or cursed.
After taking in the drama that befalls Hope Zion during Tuesday’s hour-long episode, viewers might lean toward the latter. When we left the action in Season 1, former chief of surgery Charlie (played by Michael Shanks), finally emerged from the coma he slipped into after a car wreck at the beginning of Season 1. As fans will recall, this happened while he and Alex (Calgary-born Erica Durance) were in a cab en route to their marriage ceremony. Now, as Season 2 begins, the pair’s romantic plans are again interrupted when they happen upon a violent shooting that eventually throws the entire hospital into turmoil.
“It certainly looks at the beginning that there is a certain curse on them,” says Durance, on a break from filming Season 2 in Toronto. “It creates a situation where people will want to rally behind them and want them to power through.”
And, as with most medical dramas, there is plenty to power through. Season 2 will continue to offer glimpses of the paranormal, which was a major arc in Season 1 and a way for the Canadian series to differentiate itself from the crowded field of hospital-set dramas. Despite being out of his own coma, Charlie will realize that he can still see dead people, or at least those who are comatose. This occurs to him when a young father-to-be and shooting victim happens to slip into a coma. Meanwhile, Alex deals with a teen who overdoses and requires a new liver, while new chief of surgery Joel Goran (Daniel Gillies) helps a single mother (Jasper’s Erin Karpluk, who will have a recurring role this season) by conducting a risky operation.
Yes, at least the surface, this does not appear to leave much time for personal growth and long chats about relationships. But this is television, and since Charlie is no longer clinging to life in a coma, the dynamic is sure to change, says Durance.
“It’s continuing in the metamorphosis of what happens when you’re trying to push play back on a life that has been on pause for so long,” Durance says. “So you see all of the characters going through that process of ‘What do we do now?’ For my character, it allows me to show the audience other sides of her. She can take a full breath now. Charlie is not in a life or death state. As far as her involvement as a doctor, you get to see a little more of that side of her. There’s more humour, Everybody is allowed to flesh out more of their character. There’s just a lot more melody to the music, I think.”
Durance, 35, is no stranger to long-running dramas that deal with the supernatural. She played a young Lois Lane for seven years on the cult hit Smallville. But this is the first time that the actress, who grew up in the small town of Three Hills, has worked on a show as both star and producer.
“I wanted to learn more about what was going on in the show and be a part of the creative process from that side; actually getting in the door of the script readings,” she said. “Everyone has been really gracious to let me shadow them and get me into the editing room a little bit. Knowledge is power, it will inform my other abilities. The trick is to know when to take that cap off and focus on my primary job, which is the acting side of things.”
Of course, this also makes her all the more qualified to comment on the series’ less-than successful run as an American drama. Saving Hope premiered in June of 2012 on CTV and NBC simultaneously. In America, the show attracted 3.1-million viewers, making it the highest summer premiere of 2012. But NBC pulled the plug on it before the season was even finished, opting to air the final two episodes only on its website. The U.S. network will not air the second season, Durance confirmed. But she seemed reluctant to speculate what prompted NBC’s decision, particularly since Saving Hope seemed to have such a promising start.
“It found its audience in both countries and has avid fans in both countries,” Durance says “It’s more about whether people choose to give it that exposure there or not. I’m really proud of what we did last year. The ratings were very good and sometimes it’s about more than that … There are other shows that had less ratings than we had and they are still there. To me, it’s one of those mysterious things and I don’t concern myself with it too much. At that point, it’s outside of my control.”
The fact that CTV has also rolled out a web series as a companion piece to the series is a testament to fan demand. Last Call will find the doctors of Hope Zion unwinding at the local watering hole, allowing the libations to loosen their tongues about their personal and professional woes. The episodes will be available on CTV.ca/SavingHope, the CTV App, and CTV Mobile.
“It’s something that a lot of TV series are doing now to just give a little bit more to the audience members that are ravenous,” Durance says. “There’s a high demand for it. So they started it to create a few scenarios so people can see the characters outside of the hospital once a week.”
The second season on Saving Hope premieres Tuesday on CTV.
Source: Calgary Herald – © Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald