“General Hospital: Night Shift”

By Jae-Ha Kim

Spawned from the Emmy Award-winning day-time drama General Hospital, General Hospital: Night Shift ran for one season in 2007 on the cable network SOAPnet.

Taking some of the young, sexy favorites from the original soap opera and adding in a few new characters, the nighttime soap focuses on Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough)–an HIV-positive physician who is impeccable at her job but troubled when it comes to love.

Like many popular nighttime dramas (Melrose Place, Dynasty), Night Shift is big on deception, addictions, promiscuous behavior, and cleavage.            

Port Charles–another General Hospital offshoot that aired on ABC’s daytime schedule–veered away from the hospital format and added in a subplot involving vampires and the occult. Night Shift sticks close to the General Hospital formula of love, lust, and a few operations thrown in for good measure.

It moves at a quicker pace than its namesake, but that also may be one of the show’s biggest drawbacks.

Soap fans like their plot lines to move along at a languid pace. Since Night Shift aired weekly rather than daily, each episode seems more like a synopsis with too much going on. One minute Robin and her boyfriend are fine. The next, he’s left her. Too much time is spent on a student nurse who may also be murdering patients, and too little is devoted to Robin’s unhealthy attachment to a sick baby.

As for the always debonair Billy Dee Williams, he is completely underused in his role as a sage-like janitor. (You read that right.)

McCullough, who won her first Daytime Emmy at the age of 11, has literally grown up on General Hospital. Though the Night Shift plotlines are over the top even by soap standards, she shines in her role, adding levity where needed and doing a fine job of making some silly lines believable.


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