Since Jada Pinkett Smith's Hawthorne is one of only two dramas since 1974 with an African-American woman in the starring role*, I felt obligated to check it out last night. I can't say I enjoyed it.

Like Nurse Jackie, Hawthorne is an overworked nurse who juggles work and family; but she's also mourning the death of her husband. The episode began and ended with Hawthorne talking out loud — to her husband's ashes, in an urn. (I groaned.) The episode started out strong, with a grisly suicide attempt, but quickly devolved into obligatory scenes where nurses get no respect and doctors are self-centered and patients suffer needlessly. In the middle of total hospital chaos — a homeless woman brings in a newborn; an Asian doctor's accent can't be understood by a new nurse — Hawthorne gets a call from her daughter's school and has to deal with some drama there. Sure, sure. She just leaves her job and drives to find out her kid is getting detention. (Clip above.)

I found the show to be predictable, tepid, slow and monotonous, with jokes and surprises played in the least-fun, most broad way possible. Even with its quirks — Hawthorne's friend is an amputee with a prosthetic leg; patients always assume the male nurse is a doctor; one female nurse jerks off a soldier as some kind of patriotic act — the poor direction, belabored jokes, irritating music cues and clichéd plot points can't save this medical drama. Diagnosis: Flatline.

*Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is the other one.