Hello, Nurse! Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, returning on Apr. 12 for its seventh and final season, is a show on many people’s “I’m gonna get to that” list. It’s totally binge-worthy, so here’s what you need to know before starting. Could be just what the doctor — er, nurse — ordered.
What’s the premise? A pill-popping nurse in a frenzied New York City hospital struggles to keep a handle on her addiction and deal with a destructing marriage while tending to patients in need.
What’s it like? Sort of like a Grey’s Anatomy on steroids (or Vicodin, Xanax, Oxycontin, Adderall, or Percocet), Nurse Jackie has become a reference point for shows dubbed “dramedies.” Its charming treatment of real-life anguish steers viewers into a place of hope, connecting us to these wondrous and fragile characters. Due to its succinct thirty minute episodes, Jackie often ends up on “comedy” lists for award nominations, but its comedy is fueled by an honest portrayal of tragedy, with stand-out comedic performances by Merritt Weaver (Zoey) and Anna Deavere Smith (Gloria Akalitus).
Where can I see it? Nurse Jackie can be found on Showtime (online with subscription), Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, Xbox Video, and XFinity by Comcast. All six seasons are also available on DVD/Blu-Ray for all you old-schoolers. Season seven premieres Apr. 12, on Showtime.
How long will it take? There are six seasons and a total of 66 episodes. With each episode running around 30 minutes, it’ll take you a total of 33 hours. You may want to schedule a visiting nurse to bring you food and fluff your pillows while you watch.
What do the critics think? Nurse Jackie is Fresh as far as the critics are concerned. Season one is Certified Fresh at 95 percent, while seasons two through five are 75 percent, 80 percent, 100 percent and 71 percent respectively on the Tomatometer. Season six drops a bit to 67%. Over the years, critics have responded positively to the show. Of season five, Matthew Gilbert from the Boston Globe said, “It’s honest, credible, trustworthy storytelling.” Matt Roush of TV Guide reviewed season four, calling it “one of TV’s most uncompromising dark comedies.” Of season one, Popmatters’ Michael Abernathy said Nurse Jackie “offers both gripping drama and outrageous comedy.” Since its debut in 2009, Nurse Jackie has been a standout work that has fans and critics laughing and crying along.
Why should I watch this? In the role of Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco has been nominated for five Emmys, one of which she won in 2010 (the show itself won three additional Emmys), and she’s also been nominated for six SAG Awards and four Golden Globes. But one stellar performance is not reason enough to get addicted to a TV series. Excellent supporting players and gripping scripts make Nurse Jackie a winner with its perfectly balanced combination of funny and sad. Many may suspect that Nurse Jackie is more of a “women’s show,” but the issues of addiction and adultery resonate across genders. And ultimately what keeps everyone coming back is the biting hilarity of the dialogue.
What’s my next step? Edie Falco’s award-winning performance on The Sopranos should be your first step. Grey’s Anatomy is an obvious choice for those who are addicted to medical dramas. And another current medical drama is NBC’s The Night Shift. Highly recommended, though, is the short-lived Laura Dern- and Mike White-created TV show Enlightened, which has a similar tone to Nurse Jackie. For those who enjoy more traditional medical dramas, there’s ER, Chicago Hope and the short runs of Trauma Center and Monday Mornings, but for sitcom-style medical antics, try Scrubs. Jackie costar Peter Facinelli can now be seen on American Odyssey. Fans of the show should also enjoy the Certifed Fresh shows The Good Wife and The Knick, which stars Clive Owen as the cocaine-addled Dr. Thackery in turn-of-the-century New York City. On the film side, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is worth watching for its critique of healthcare institutions and Erin Brockovich shows another funny-yet-serious depiction of strong women making a difference.
The Cannes Festival-winning Force Majeure (93 percent), a Swedish drama about a small family vacationing in the alps whose bonds are tested when its patriarch leaves them in the lurch during an avalanche scare.
Taiwanese import Stray Dogs (88 percent), a drama about a destitute man living on the streets and his two children, who encounter a mysterious woman that may change their lives.
Kill the Messenger (77 percent), a Certified Fresh thriller starring Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who publicized his findings on the birth of the crack epidemic and the shady dealings of the CIA.
Felony (74 percent), starring Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson in a crime thriller about three detectives at odds with each other after an accident that nearly kills a child.
Lynn Shelton’s Laggies (69 percent), starring Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz in a dramedy about a 28-year-old slacker who befriends a teen and falls for her father.
Addicted (8 percent), a drama about a married woman who embarks down a dark road of temptation.
HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge (95 percent), starring Frances McDormand and Bill Murray in a four-part adaptation of the Elizabeth Strout novel of the same name.
Season six of Showtime’s dark dramedy Nurse Jackie (67 percent), starring Edie Falco as a drug-addicted nurse.
And finally, two choices from the Criterion Collection: Nicolas Roeg’s classic thriller Don’t Look Now (96 percent), starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, and Jean Renoir’s A Day in the Country (100 percent), a shorter feature about a family’s idyllic vacation in the French countryside.
"Berry plays a woman who goes undercover, both on and offline, to investigate a friend’s murder. Willis will play one of the chief suspects Berry is investigating."
Originally written by Jon Bokenkamp, with subsequent rewrites by Frank Rinzulli and Todd Komarnicki, "Perfect Stranger" will be brought to the screen by James Foley, director of "Fear," "Who’s That Girl?," "Glengarry Glen Ross," among others.
Production on the Revolution Studios project is scheduled to begin early next year.