General Hospital: Night Shift - The Complete First Season
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rob Fields (21st February 2008).
The Show

I remember first seeing soap operas when I was just 6 years old. I don't know how long my mother had been watching them, but she has been from then up until now. I remember "The Young and the Restless" (1973-Current), "As the World Turns" (1956-Current), and "Guiding Light" (1952-Current). These three have always been on. I also remember a few others that have come along: "Capitol" (1982-1987), "The Edge of Night" (1956-1984), and "The Bold and the Beautiful" (1987-Current). All these, of course are/were on CBS. I've also managed to catch a glimpse of a few soaps on NBC: "Days of Our Lives" (1965-Current), "Another World" (1964-1999), and "Santa Barbara" (1984-1993). I also remember a few that were on ABC: "One Life to Live" (1968-Current), "Ryan's Hope" (1975-1989), "All My Children" (1970-Current), and "General Hospital" (1963-Current). So, just what are these daytime dramas exactly? They're basically continuing serials that deal with love, crime, tension, and everything based on real life. I've seen a few far-fetched things in "Days of Our Lives". Christmas episodes have depicted that Santa Claus is a real person. There have even been a few storylines dealing with the paranormal. Personally, I think those are better left for "Dark Shadows" (1966-1971). Then I found out that the first season of "General Hospital: Night Shift" was to come my way for this very review. To my knowledge, "General Hospital" is the only daytime soap that has actually had a primetime spin-off. Of course, I didn't know that since: a.) I don't watch soaps. b.) I don't have cable or satellite television, which means I don't have access to SOAP net and c.) Even if I did, I probably would never watch it. Sigh...isn't it amazing what you discover when random DVD's are presented to you for review? "Night Shift" was definitely not the first spin-off however. "Port Charles" (1997-2003) was a daytime spin-off of "General Hospital" that was short-lived. Will "Night Shift" be short-lived? Only time will tell.

"General Hospital: Night Shift : The Complete First Season" is from the creative minds who brought you the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama "General Hospital", which comes in the form of a highly anticipated spin-off for primetime on SOAP net. If you can't get enough of the excitement, schemes and romances of Port Charles during the day, you'll get an even steamier and intimate look on the night shift. When the sun goes down in Port Charles, matters of life and death grip the hospital. And when the sun rises the next day, nothing is ever the same as the day before : not for the patients or the doctors. Featuring an all-star cast, including celebrated actor Billy Dee Williams as well as Steve Burton, Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson, "General Hospital: Night Shift" goes to places that "General Hospital" has never gone before. Follow the trials and tribulations of the hospital staff as they cope with drug addictions, parenthood, promiscuity and a host of other personal complications. Their conflicts are heightened by a series of unfortunate "accidents" at the hospital that put everyone's lives at risk.

From what I'm seeing about this spin-off series, it doesn't altogether play like a daytime soap. Being that it's a primetime series, it plays more along the lines of "Chicago Hope" (1994-2000), "ER" (1994-Current), or "Grey's Anatomy" (2005-Current). In the first episode alone, I've already seen a few things that normally would NOT be in its parent daytime soap. I won't go into details here on the count of my personal rule about not giving out spoilers.

I liked that the series is easy to watch. In this, the characters are easy to like. Given, there are a few that are just as easy to dislike, I guess this offset helps make any series of this kind worth watching. As long as you have good characters and good stories, the show will continue. The show will have a second season according to the sticker that came on the front of my review copy. I think the biggest part of this season is Billy Dee Williams. I had to read this twice to see if I was reading his name right. Lando Calrissian is actually in this series?! Yup, I saw his picture on the back cover, which pretty much confirmed it. Whenever he's around and keeping the floors clean, he seems to be the voice of reason. It's like he's a guardian angel for some of the characters who are misguided. So what's his story? Again, that would be a spoiler. You'll just have to watch and find out for yourself. What I can reveal without giving spoilers is that there are a couple of season-long storylines. The first is that the hospital is in jeopardy of possibly being taken over. The second is that somebody is sabotaging things. You will learn that some people are getting the wrong treatments. In fact, one person almost goes under the knife for the wrong reasons. This was by no means an accident. Even murder is no object for the saboteur. So the question is...WHO?! I also liked that this spin-off isn't the "60 Minutes 2" of the original daytime drama. "Night Shift" stands alone.

My final word: After watching all 13 episodes of this series, I feel it's more or less for the people who are into the soaps themselves. If you are someone who is into the major network primetime hospital dramas, then you probably won't think too highly of this series. I've seen a couple of episodes of "ER" in the past and "Night Shift" doesn't measure up. Don't get me wrong, the season was good for what it was worth. If you're a fan of the daytime parent series, then you may want to give the "Night Shift" a shot. You'll find that it's different from the daytime version. I think if I have to sum it up, it's probably a hybrid between a daytime soap and a nighttime hospital drama. Again, if you're watching "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy", this may not be for you. Of course, I'm not going to pretend to know what your particular fan base likes and dislikes. If you feel you might want to see it, then by all means...as far as the DVD release itself, not worth the buy. You would be better off renting this one.

This DVD set includes all 13 episodes from the first season:

- "Frayed Anatomies" (45:29) Robin and Patrick are assigned to the night shift at General Hospital because they went against the hospital's policy and treated an underprivileged patient.

- "Skin Deep" (40:45) Jason, now a janitor at the hospital, learns some valuable lessons from Toussaint. Leo almost commits a career-threatening error. Epiphany is upset when she learns Stan is involved with a strike. Maxie learns she has a staph infection.

- "Paternity Ward" (39:46) Jason gets to spend time with Jake when Elizabeth is needed in surgery. Patrick confronts his past while he treats a trouble teen. Cody goes to extremes to get his medication. Andy's methods wind up with dangerous results. Stan changes his opinion of Toussaint. Spinelli introduces Jolene to his "girlfriend" Lulu.

- "Keep the Change" (40:48) Robin and Patrick are upset by Stacey's difficult pregnancy because it hits so close to home. A patient's death attracts unwanted attention from the police. Epiphany has an outburst when she learns of Toussaint's past. Ms. Sneed hears Patrick and Lainey talking about her father's surgery. Stan takes the lead in a strike of hospital workers. Dr. Ford tells Patrick that Lainey's father's health insurance does not cover the surgery that he needs, and that he should be transferred to county.

- "Bed, Bath and Be Gone" (39:28) Maxie's health is in serious jeopardy. Kelly gets on a patient's bad side. Andy questions a patients claimed sickness. Spinelli deals with his fear of clowns as one is brought into the ER. Georgie tells Maxie to just go ahead and die, which she later regrets saying to her. Robin sees Patrick and Leyla embracing on the roof. Dr. Ford and Ms. Sneed tell Kelly that she is being sued for sexual harassment.

- "Love's Labors" (38:34) Stacey goes into labor in the hospital elevator and must rely on the most unlikely of people to help her and her unborn child. Regina opens up to Jolene that she aborted her baby before the started the program at General Hospital. Toussaint tells Stan that he discovered the elevator shutting down was no accident.

- "Mother's Day" (38:05) Toussaint starts to feel dizzy while working the elevators. Spinelli and Jason are relieved when the baby starts crying. The power to the elevators is restored and Stacey is taken to the O.R. Jason must deal with the consequences of performing emergency surgery on Stacey and her baby after Robin lashes out at him for not waiting.

- "Employee of the Month" (39:42) Patrick tells Robin that she got personally involved when it came to Stacy. Jason then confronts Robin. Dr. Julian tells Maxie that she has something in her heart. Dr. Ford is told that MedCam is going to acquire General Hospital. Lainey is pushed across the room when her father is having an episode.

- "Gutter Ball" (41:11) Robin and Patrick argue about Stacey's daughter. Patrick doesn't want to be a father, but Robin really wants to be a mother. Jolene asks Jason out, and Spinelli finds out Epiphany kicks Stan out of the hospital for not showing respect. Jordan tells a willing Jolene to kill another patient. Lainey's father has surgery.

- "Falling Star" (40:44) After the father of Stacey's daughter comes forward, there is a private arbitration between him and Robin. Troussaint staggers throughout his shift, eventually falling and needing medical attention.

- "Fools In Love" (41:01) Robin tells Jason that she isn't just going to abandon Stacey's baby. Lainey tells Cody that she doesn't know if she can let go of her father. Patrick tells Troussaint that one of the blood vessels in his brain is leaking. Robin is shocked to learn that Patrick is sleeping with Leyla after he admits it.

- "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" (40:18) Troussaint flatlines during surgery and sees his life flash before his eyes. Mac arrests Lainey for the mercy killing of her father. Spinelli refuses to believe it when Jason tells him of his suspicions that one of the staff is capable of murder.

- "Time Served" (41:50) In the series' first season finale, two rival street gangs bring their turf war into General Hospital, resulting in a deadly shoot-out that leaves several lives in peril. Patrick tells Robin that because of what happened doesn't mean that he doesn't still care about her. Jason tells everyone to get behind the desk as someone stands up and starts shooting.

Video

All thirteen episodes are presented in full screen format (1.33:1 ratio). I didn't see any pixels, but I can see very light grain in the background. It's almost unnoticeable though, unless you look at darkness or darker colors. I feel that some of the scenes suffer from not enough light when there is darkness or lowly-lit areas. On the contrary, I found that there were scenes with a little too much lighting. On the fourth episode, I picked up on a bit of blur on the outside of a few pink uniforms of the women in a break room scene. Just by watching this, you can tell that series is not of the same caliber as the network primetime hospital soaps. However, this does not make the picture totally unwatchable. Keep in mind, I'm not here to try and nit-pick every little thing I see about the picture. It just happens to be what I'm seeing. There are no chapter selection menus, but there are chapter stops present for every episode. Also, each disc has a 'Play All Episodes' option in case you want to have a continuous marathon.

Audio

Each episode is accompanied by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack. The audio itself sounds more like a 2.0 mono soundtrack. I've managed to catch a few shows on cable, through other channels (my friend Brad mostly). Being that this series is for SOAP net, a cable / satellite channel, it doesn't have the same quality as the mostly-watched major networks. While you can hear the audio, I feel that it could have been better. There are optional English subtitles available for all 13 episodes and the featurette on Disc 3.

Extras

Buena Vista has included a featurette and a bonus trailer as extras on this set, all these extras are on the third disc of this set. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

There is a featurette entitled "On the Set At Night Shift" which runs for 7 minutes and 43 seconds. You see interview clips with members of the cast. There are also clips from the show itself. You also get to see a brief clip of the photo shoot for the front cover of the DVD. There is also some behind-the-scenes footage. Was "General Hospital: Night Shift" filmed during the night shift? Watch this featurette and find out. And then there's Billy Dee Williams...optional English subtitles are available for this featurette.

There is a 34 second bonus trailer for "SOAPnet" spot. This feature does not have subtitles.

Overall

The Show: B Video: B- Audio: B Extras: C- Overall: B-

 


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