Gideon’s Crossing

Jim 2000s

Aired: 2000 ABC Gideon's Crossing

DAD: Dr. Ben Gideon (Andre Braugher) / Unknown


KIDS: Charlie(Brian Wiltshire), Eli (Jascha Washington), Rose (Meagan Gregory)

WHERE’S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown

Uh-oh: didn’t ABC just DO this show the previous year, and wasn’t it called Wonderland? This show is stacked like a checklist of What’s Needed in a Hospital Show: You’ve got the “unorthodox doctor” main character, the wacky comedic sidekick chief resident, the bright-eyed intern ready for disillusionment, and oh yes, the overworked doctor (played last year by Ted Levine, this year by Eric Dane) whose marriage is crumbling.

There are more than enough noble stereotypes to go around. I wanted more info about the details of single fatherhood on this show but the series caved in November.

After watching the first couple episodes, I figured out the problem – too much script for one hour. The banter is at a Howard Hawks level, exhausting the viewer and swimming in formulaic stories. It’s also filmed in the thirtysomething school of power-failure lighting. Do real hospitals work without lightbulbs?

Here’s how ABC wanted you to think of the characters:

Ben Gideon (Braugher) is the voice of reason, empathy and wisdom in a world of medical chaos, bureaucracy and hypocrisy. He is a doctor we should all be so lucky to have. Highly skilled, on the cutting edge of technology and experimental medicine but possessing the gentlest and most inspirational of bedside manners, he is Disease’s mortal enemy.

Ben Gideon, it seems, could will his patients to wellness. He is compassionate, of course, but equally relentless and demanding – of himself, of his students and of his patients.

He will not give up in his quest for cures. His students love him, want to be him, but they also fear him just a little. He challenges his patients to examine their lives and to make changes if those lives don’t have meaning. Ben Gideon treats the whole person, not just the illness.

Here’s a factoid to ponder: in the history of African-American TV Single Dads up to the 2000’s, 25% were named “Gideon,” and 37.5% were named “Benjamin” – what’s THAT about?

Update: ABC pulled the plug on this gabfest. So long, Dr. Gideon.