Amidst all the excitement about American Idol and The Kennedys, we neglected to remind you of the week before last's premiere of Season Three of Showtime's top-rate dramedy Nurse Jackie, starring the superb Edie Falco. NJ airs Mondays at 10pm, with frequent encores throughout the week, and if you've been following the show you know what a tangled web Jackie weaves with her private and work lives. A terrific and humane performance by Falco heads up what is a uniformly great cast, with consistently terrific work put in by Eve Best, Merritt Wever, Anna Deveare Smith, and everybody else. Here's a preview of tonight's episode:
It's true that Nurse Jackie is one of those shows that they call a comedy, but it's just because nobody has quite figured out a proper term for shows like it. We're talking about those cable network half-hours that don't fit into the traditional sitcom mold -- they're not joke-based and have a lot of dramatic content -- but since U.S. TV doesn't do half-hour dramas, there's no place for these hybrids. Would I consider Edie Falco the best actress in a comedy for her work in Nurse Jackie? No, but the Television Academy did. She's brilliant, but Nurse Jackie isn't really a comedy. This is a conundrum that clearly isn't anywhere near being solved; ambiguity isn't a place that TV likes to play, generally, and this new type of series is full of it.
Whatever you call it, though, Nurse Jackie is tremendous television and highly recommended. If you've missed the previous seasons -- and we mean those extra-short cable seasons, so you really haven't missed much -- you can catch up via DVD or online (probably). You can also visit Showtime's Nurse Jackie website and they've got some catch-up info for you there.
You won't find a better performance on television than Edie Falco as Nurse Jackie on Showtime. That we can guarantee. Don't forget -- tonight at 10pm!