What 'Emily Owens M.D.' can learn from 'Grey's Anatomy'

If you thought you were watching the ghost of Grey’s Anatomy last night on the CW, you probably weren’t alone.

Mamie Gummer’s Emily Owens M.D., which aired its series premiere Tuesday night, definitely took a few cues from the popular Shonda Rhimes show. (Quirky lead? Check. Voice overs? Check. Angry-yet-respected mentor? Check. Complicated romances? Check. You get the point.) Yet, Emily proved it still has much more to learn from current chief of medical dramas.

Here are some lessons we hope it picks up:

1. Build the ensemble
During a Grey’s Anatomy pilot re-watch, something became evident: Every single character on the show was going to shine. (Was the beautiful Izzie ever going to be taken seriously? Would dorky George ever live down his OR embarrassment? Was Cristina meant for greatness?) Though Emily showed us touches of backstory on the other First Years, we’d like to see them taken off the sidelines. On that note, more Michael Rady, please! As resident Micah, he was easily the most fleshed-out supporting character. In fact, one of the premiere’s best moments was when it was revealed that his mom was a patient at the hospital. (It hit the same emotional mark as the reveal of Meredith’s mom’s battle with Alzheimer’s.)

2. Lose the voices in her head
Did you know Emily was a funny show? Probably not. Because Emily was too busy talking over every punchline. Monologues can be effective (see: Meredith Grey) but only when used sparingly.

3. Revamp the romance
McDreamy’s debut on Grey’s was an unexpected one. Remember when we found out Meredith’s one-night stand was also her NEW BOSS?! Fantastic. And let’s not forget the eventual arrival of his ex-wife. Meanwhile, Emily’s unreciprocated romantic interest in Justin Hartley’s character — and her new-found friendship with Micah — lacks surprise so far. (There’s a triangle coming, right? Or possibly a square?) Here’s hoping Emily has a refreshing take on this classic TV conflict, which has been done — and done well! — on everything from Grey’s to Felicity.

4. Give Emily 5CCs of confidence
Meredith Grey was a damaged character, but at the hospital she put on a brave face. That’s why we loved her. Emily, in contrast, wears her insecurities on her sleeve — and it’s not fun to watch. Didn’t she get the memo? Mindy and Jess made insecurity cool. Own the inner dork, Emily, we’ll love you that much more for it.

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