NBC’s ‘Nurses’ could be just what the doctor ordered

NBC’s “Nurses” will remind you of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

If that sounds like damning with faint praise, so be it.

The new medical drama (previewing tonight and next Monday at 10:01 p.m. before the official Jan. 5 premiere), another Canadian import getting a prime-time berth to fill NBC’s scripted series hole, follows five dedicated nurses as they begin their careers at St. Mary’s Hospital in Toronto.

Their first day rapidly descends into a nightmare: The driver of a van plows into a group of people, killing several, maiming more.

As the wounded are rushed to the hospital, these young people find themselves tested in ways they never imagined.

Tiera Skovbye, "Nurses" (Photo: NBC)
Meredith, is that you? (Tiera Skovbye as Grace).

Your Meredith Grey look-alike Grace (Tiera Skovbye) worked at another hospital, but doesn’t want anyone to know that.

She’s paired with a McDreamy look-alike, Dr. Evan Wallace (Ryan-James Hatanaka), and her romantic outlook is so cloudy, even Mere might give it an eyeroll.

Keon (Jordan Johnson-Hinds) was a star college football player before making the decision to become a nurse. His innocent rookie mistake while examining a pregnant woman wins him the derision, seemingly, of everyone at the hospital.

For those with experience in hospitals, the disdain so many doctors show nurses will ring true.

Nazneen (Sandy Sidhu) is an Indian immigrant, optimistic and naive. One veteran nurse takes an instant dislike to her.

“Nice scrubs,” she says to Nazneen. “Do they come in your size?”

Nazneen (Sandy Sidhu). (Photo: NBC)
What’s wrong with Nazneen’s (Sandy Sidhu) scrubs?

Wolf (Donald MacLean Jr.) and Ashley (Natasha Calis) are roomies and BFFs.

Wolf finds himself racing the clock to find the owner of two severed fingers and a wedding band.

Ashley decides she loathes Grace, for a reason that will not be revealed until next week.

In perhaps the show’s most unrealistic element, Ashley argues with Grace this week and next over confidentiality issues involving patients that are both above their pay grade and settled by their medical code of ethics. Watching them bicker is like watching two flight attendants argue about their plane’s altitude: They have nothing to do with it, and why would they question it?

Ryan-James Hatanaka, "Nurses" (Photo: NBC)
Paging young Dr. McDreamy (Ryan-James Hatanaka).

Like “Grey’s,” there’s a mix of patient stories – among them tonight, a devoted teacher who suddenly collapses, and a heroic passerby who turns out to be neither.

Like “Grey’s,” they build in power, and the hour’s final moments carry a weight that bodes well for the series.

Next week’s episode, “Undisclosed Conditions,” pulls the scab off of the deep, dark secrets of four of the newbie nurses, but it treats the revelations all equally, when one is just laugh-out-loud silly.

The first season of “Nurses” runs but 10 episodes, so that may explain why the writers sprint to reveal so much about their crew.

The Canadian drama has already finished filming its second season, so if enough viewers here become invested, “Nurse’s” outlook looks healthy. A series that honors medicine’s front-line workers, those who stay with patients in their darkest moments, is something to be celebrated. “Nurses” reminds you why those who watch and care are so important.