At first glance, FOX’s new TV series, “Red Band Society” might look like a predictable story of teenagers making the most of their lives despite tough circumstances and life-threatening illnesses.
The dramedy, however, sets itself apart by digging deeper, with an honest approach to the illnesses and relationships each character faces, and a diverse cast that is hard not to love. Based on its pilot, “Red Band Society” has a promising theme of facing adulthood in an unconventional setting.
“Red Band Society” follows the lives of six patients at Ocean Park Hospital in Los Angeles. Twelve-year-old Charlie, who is in a coma at the hospital, narrates. The teenagers at Ocean Park are each there for different reasons – from cancer to eating disorders – but are united and form an unlikely group of friends, as represented by the red hospital bands they each wear.
Academy award-winning actress Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) stars in the series as the “mean” Nurse Jackson, alongside fresh faces like Charlie Rowe, who stars as charming and rebellious Leo, and Brian Bradley (Astro on the “The X Factor”) who plays the role of Leo’s best friend, Dash. Ciara Bravo plays Emma, the girl next door, and Zoe Levin (“Arrested Development”) takes on the role of mean girl cheerleader, Kara.
Each character is different, bringing diverse qualities and personalities to the series. They have complex relationships with each other, as love and friendships develop throughout the time they live together in the hospital.
The show is realistic in the situations faced, and the characters are honest with one another, never sugar-coating what they go through. They are honest about how they feel, about themselves and toward each other.
While they each are given titles from “coma boy” to “popular girl,” as the characters spend more time with each other, situations change, truth is revealed, and they learn more about one another, realizing that appearances can be misleading. The plot and memorable characters make it a show with potential to grow.
“Red Band Society” premieres at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday on FOX.