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Futuristic Medical Drama ‘Mercy Point’ Is Lost in Space

TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC

Too late with too little.

It’s flip to label “Mercy Point"--UPN’s new medical drama that arrives tonight--"ER” in space. It’s also accurate.

The difference is that “Mercy Point” occurs at a distant spot in the galaxy inside a 23rd century deep-space facility where the aliens are icky-pooh slimy-oozy, but nearly everyone else is looking just . . . marvelous.

Heading this parade of boys and babes (whose attitudes, dress and hairstyles are right out of the 1990s) are the android head nurse, the feuding Breslauer sisters and the hunky head of extra-vehicular medicine and his military liaison girlfriend. They’re not only looking good but being good. “While balancing complicated personal lives with the demands of working in a cutting-edge hospital can be difficult,” UPN says, “Mercy Point’s dedicated and passionate staff are able to keep sight of what’s really important--the patients.” Now there’s a novel concept for a medical series.

This one is derivative on every level, its futuristic setting and low-budget techno-gizmos an attempt to divert attention from its mustiness and lack of originality.

Tough but fair-minded, Grote Maxwell (Joe Morton) is the lead doctor here, while Haylen Breslauer (Maria Del Mar) is technically his boss but way too busy to pull rank when hyperventilating about the arrival of her doctoring younger sister, Dru (Alexandra Wilson), who was once romantically linked to Dr. C.J. Jurado (Brian McNamara). Dru and C.J. link eyes across a crowded room. But C.J. is currently reserving his house calls and bedside manner for that gorgeous military liaison.

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Meanwhile, a mysterious, fast-moving virus is causing a medical emergency and putting life forms everywhere in peril, the android nurse (Julia Pennington) gets slabbed out for a little cranial work and everyone at Mercy Point is on the move.

Somewhat interesting is a slithery alien surgeon known as Dr. Batung (Jordan Lund). Otherwise, change this bedpan fast.

* “Mercy Point” premieres at 9 tonight on UPN (Channel 13). The network has rated it TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children).


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