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‘Saving Hope:’ A spoonful of schmaltz makes this medicine hard to swallow

While chief surgery (Michael Shanks) is comhis spirit visits his fiancee (EricDurance) NBC's 'Saving Hope.'

While the chief of surgery (Michael Shanks) is in a coma, his spirit visits his fiancee (Erica Durance) on NBC's "Saving Hope."

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Updated: June 22, 2012 12:36PM

When a medical drama is titled “Saving Hope,” you can bet your co-pay that you’re in for a certain degree of schmaltz.

So it’s no surprise that NBC’s new hospital-based series delivers a hefty dose of sentimentality along with the usual hard-to-diagnose cases, action sequences involving crash carts and intense music, and doctors who are equal parts brilliant, beautiful and horny.

Set at Toronto’s Hope-Zion Hospital, this Canadian import stars a couple of “Smallville” alums: Michael Shanks as chief of surgery Dr. Charlie Harris and Dr. Erica Durance as his fiancée and chief surgical resident. Daniel Gillies (“The Vampire Diaries”) does an equally fine job with his turn as Durance’s former flame, hot-shot surgeon Dr. Joel Goran.

A car accident on the way to Harris’ and Durance’s wedding leaves the groom in a coma. While his body lies in a hospital bed hooked up to machines, another part of him wanders the hallways in his wedding tux, observing the goings-on at Hope-Zion and communicating with patients who are either in a similar state of limbo or on their way to the afterlife. Meanwhile, his bride-to-be divides her time between checking up on him and doing her usual rounds.

This “Ghost”-meets-“A Gifted Man”-meets-“Grey’s Anatomy” has some fun, clever and emotion-stirring moments, but they’re handicapped by cheesy montages and one too many scenarios designed to remind us of the importance of having hope.

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