Saving Hope

Common Sense Media says

Lackluster (but bloody) medical drama does have heart.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Saving Hope raises complicated emotional and ethical issues, presenting the contrasting sides of each without bias. Characters wrestle with difficult decisions on a daily basis, reflecting the rigorous and life-saving work of doctors and nurses. Some storylines raise awareness about topics like suicide, PTSD, and particular medical conditions.

Positive role models

Doctors and hospital workers are devoted to their careers and work hard to save the lives -- and ensure the quality of the life -- of their patients. Egos sometimes interfere with coworkers' cooperation, but the patients' needs always win out as the main motivational factor. The cast is diverse, including characters of Middle Eastern, Asian, and African descent.


Hospital scenes are sometimes graphic, with frequent bloody bodies, exposed bones, surgery, corpses, and the occasional fight. There's mention of war, attempted suicide, auto accidents, and other causes of trauma.


Couples engage in simulated sex (though it's more implied than shown and nothing sensitive is visible) and lengthy make-out sessions. Women are shown in bras, and guys are shirtless. References to sex include "banging" and a woman's offer to a coworker: "I'd do you." Casual workplace sex is common.


Words like "bitch," "hell," "damn," "ass," "bastard," and "freakin'" are common.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters talk about getting a drink to take the edge off, but it's not usually shown. The same holds true for conversations about drug use and getting high.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Saving Hope features some intense scenes of patients bleeding, having surgery, and dying, and a main character is the spirit form of a comatose man. Sexuality is also an issue; casual physical encounters are common among the hospital staff, and couples are shown nearly nude (bras for women, bare chests and unzipped pants for men) and simulating intercourse. There's some intermittent language ("bitch," "damn," "hell") as well, and a range of serious topics that aren't for little kids' ears, so be sure to save this one for after their bedtime.

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What's the story?

SAVING HOPE is a medical drama set at the fictitious Hope-Zion Hospital in Toronto. The story centers on Alex Reid (Erica Durance), a general surgeon whose picture-perfect life shatters when her fiancé, Chief of Surgery Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks), slips into a coma after a car accident on the way to their wedding. Unbeknownst to Alex, Charlie's spirit still roams the halls of the hospital, watching over her and making contact with other patients teetering between life and death. As Alex presses on without Charlie by her side, it will take all her strength to keep hope alive, for his sake and for hers.

Is it any good?


This Canadian series plays out like a less sensational, more serene Grey's Anatomy, from its myriad of bizarre medical cases and injuries to spirit-form Charlie's voice-overs that lead in and out of each episode. But the similarities end there, and checking into Saving Hope after following an established American medical drama leaves a lot to be desired on the part of the underzealous, overacted Canadian series. At times it's hard to tell which is less compelling -- the relationships among the hospital staff or the brief glimpses of patients' life-and-death battles, which culminate quickly, if not always satisfactorily, to allow more time for the melodrama surrounding Alex's anguish over Charlie's state.

The series gives a subtle nod to various representations of faith, from the basic concept of an afterlife to the power of prayer and the role of religious beliefs in medical decisions. The story also dabbles in other discussion-worthy issues, like PTSD in veterans and the emotional fallout of divorce. The adult nature of these and other content reserves this show for mature teens and up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ethical issues that Saving Hope raises. How do doctors make life-saving decisions when their views conflict with those of the patients or their coworkers?

  • What messages does Saving Hope send about relationships in the workplace? Are they appropriate? What might be the fallout from a relationship gone bad when the parties work together? How might it affect patients?

  • Do you believe in spirits and an afterlife? Does believing in an afterlife make it easier to cope with loss?

TV details

Cast:Daniel Gillies, Erica Durance, Michael Shanks
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Saving Hope was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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