New Amsterdam: 3 takeaways that can make the show better

Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBC, acquired from NBC Media Village
Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBC, acquired from NBC Media Village /

New Amsterdam has a lot going for it, but there are three takeaways that can make the show better and bring viewers back week-after-week.

Hospital dramas make for popular television shows. Viewers love medical shows with a little love and intrigue to keep things interesting. NBC’s New Amsterdam is the latest show to join the already crowded medical space.

The pilot did everything it was supposed to, giving us an empathetic protagonist who will shake things up, but, of course, he has a secret that could derail it all. It also added a love story right away between two other physicians. And it had a medical story line or two with just enough drama to keep viewers interested.

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Here are the three biggest takeaways of New Amsterdam’s series premiere.

Freeya Agerman needs more screen time

I get that Freeya Agerman’s character, Dr. Helen Sharpe, was supposed to be seen as a celebrity doctor who is looking for something more in her life. Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is tasked with re-shaping the hospital as the new medical director. One of his goals is to keep Helen on staff instead of having her jet set around the world to go on morning talk shows.

Agerman was in the beginning and the end of the episode, and it wasn’t nearly enough. Hopefully, now that her character had decided to stay, she will get more screen time. However, there are a number of people already vying for screen time in New Amsterdam.

Great White Hope trope needs to go

I like Ryan Eggold and was excited to see him leading his own TV show since his time on Blacklist finished. But Max’s arrival was marked with firing an entire department and making waves.

He’s here to save lives, dammit, and no one nor any red tape is going to get in his way.

It’s disappointing seeing this trope with Max knowing better than everyone else and always having the right answer. He’s perfect, except when he’s not, and then it’s cute and endearing. It’s OK if he is flawed. In fact, it would be better. And cancer is not a flaw.

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Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBC, acquired from NBC Media Village /

Need to streamline storylines

There was so much going on in the New Amsterdam premiere. Just to name a few storylines for Max: He is the new medical director, Max’s wife is pregnant and has a scare, and Max has cancer. The other characters’ storylines include a psychiatrist trying to find a home for a foster child, an ER doctor tending to a boy who might have Ebola, and then trying to rekindle a romance with a fellow doctor, who got fired earlier in the day, but was reinstated. He had issues of getting into a serious relationship with her because he is black and she is white, and he doesn’t see her as the settling down material.

I’m sure I missed something, but it was a lot to take in for one episode.

A hospital setting can create difficulties because it’s easy to want to tell everyone’s story as there’s naturally a lot going on in hospital. On top of their setting, people are complicated and have so much going on in their lives.

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Yet, in television, we have to find a way not to tell every story and just the ones that bring the viewers into the show. I think New Amsterdam can get there.

Watch New Amsterdam on NBC every Tuesday night at 10/9c.