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Mercy Street - (S01E07)

Drama . History

Go behind the scenes of the powerful new Civil War-era drama about Americans on the home front.

Episode Title: Inside Mercy Street
Airs: 2016-03-08 at 22:30
  • David Wiegand

    The script occasionally wanders into “Gone With the Wind”-style melodrama, but is always rescued by excellent performances. Among the best of the bunch are James, Radnor and Winstead. Butz and Summers edge delightfully close to comic relief.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Nina Terrero

    Mercy Street sets up a story that's slow-moving but stirring, with rich depiction of the social and cultural shifts taking place across the nation. [8/15 Jan 2016, p.99]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Mekeisha Madden Toby

    Subplots surrounding Green’s southern belle daughters, espionage and PTSD do little to move the series along and would’ve been better shortened or left on the cutting-room floor. That said, such distractions do little to dilute Mercy Street as the imperative Civil War narrative it truly is.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    If you can get past the sermonizing, there maybe a story worth seeing here.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    Overcrowded with plot, character and intent, the production has an earnest theatricality that can be both charming and tedious.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    Mercy Street delivers on gross-out medicine, tentatively soapy romance and and even occasionally nuanced history lessons and keeps the giggle-inducing performances to a relatively minimum. Six episodes was probably a less-than-ideal count for Lisa Wolfinger and David Zabel's drama, but the run concludes at a place that should take the show interesting places in a hypothetically better arced second season.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    It’s not so bloody to turn off viewers coming to it from lead-in “Downton Abbey,” but it’s also not so mercenary in its attempts to be compatible that it seems watered down.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Kristi Turnquist

    It would be more exciting if it took more chances. It's an earnest effort, and reminds us that all that compelling stories don't need to be told with an English accent.

    The Oregonian Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    The show can be a little disjointed or didactic, and there are many scenes of doctors confidently using techniques that viewers know to be unhelpful, a conceit that gets old relatively fast.... The more specific Mercy Street gets about individual moral, political and psychological dilemmas, and the more it gives its finest cast members scope to display the more subtle aspects of their craft, the more winning it becomes.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Trying to do justice to the stories of abolitionists, freed slaves, Confederate sympathizers, wounded warriors, their harried healers, and history itself is probably a too-tall order for the six episodes PBS envisions as a first season. The series, though, isn't afraid to be entertaining, and it shouldn't have to be.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    It’s fairly sturdy and convincingly gruesome in terms of showing a variety of battle wounds. It’s also predictable and oftentimes stilted, with the dialogue regularly preachy.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    Unfortunately the storytelling lacks subtlety. The good and evil characters are too starkly one or the other. The camera tends to flag ideas or objects in advance and make points too obviously.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Mike Hale

    Its writers aren’t working at the same level [as Downton Abbey] when it comes to turning a phrase or developing a more than one-dimensional character. And the tone, a kind of perky gravity that sits well on the early-20th-century British gentry, is a more awkward fit in a story set in the midst of a war over slavery.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Mercy Street hugs the middle of the road so steadfastly, it makes “Call the Midwife” look like something by David Lynch.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Noel Murray

    Mercy Street is mostly just mediocre, not awful. It’s busy enough--and has an unusual enough premise--not to be boring.... [But] The costumes get bloody; the characters stay bloodless.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    The cast in fact is terrific. (It also includes Norbert Leo Butz, Peter Gerety and AnnaSophia Robb.) A cramped, airless setting is the critical flaw here. Nothing comes to life--words, drama or most of all, characters.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    It's stubbornly bland, except in moments of primitive triage so graphic you may beg for mercy. [18-31 Jan 2016, p.15]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Mercy Street’s problem is an ineffable lack of cohesion and oomph. The blood is spilling, but the heart’s not pumping.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The characters are one-dimensional, so that you essentially know who they are within a minute or less, not least of all the spoiled-belle Confederate volunteer Emma Green (Hannah James), who’s straight outta “Gone With the Wind.” And the story lines about patients are didactic, there simply to provide the writers with EZ-to-read lessons about race, war, and medical progress.

    Boston Globe Full Review

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