There are a whole lot of reasons to be bummed when you’re the star of a much-loved television series canceled before its time. But if there’s an upside, it might very well be knowing exactly how pretty much every interview you do for the next few years is going to start: “Were you as disappointed as I was that [insert brilliant show's name here] was canceled?”
Luckily for this TV Addict, EVERWOOD alum Treat Williams couldn’t be more accommodating during our recent chat, admitting that while he was “surprised that EVERWOOD was canceled,” it was “kind of a blessing in disguise.” After all, says Dr. Andy Brown’s former portrayer, “Twenty-two episodes a year is a lot of work, and it was nice to spend more time with my wife and kids this year.
With the obligatory EVERWOOD question out of the way (as if we won’t be returning to that topic eventually), we’re ready to move on and discuss the actor’s return to television with TNT’s new medical drama, HEARTLAND, premiering Monday, June 18 in the very nice 10 p.m. slot, where it will follow one of cable’s hottest hits, THE CLOSER.
HEARTLAND finds Williams once again playing doctor, this time playing a brilliant transplant surgeon named Nathaniel Grant. Of course, what’s a medical drama without the prerequisite family drama? If you’re thinking this sounds a little like EVERWOOD 2.0 – or maybe DR. ANDY’S ANATOMY, don’t tell Williams so.
“As an actor, you play the person not the occupation,” he explains. “If five of the next great parts are doctors, I’ll be playing five more doctors. Dr. Grant is a lot darker, with issues that are more deep-seated. He’s a workaholic, probably the guy that Andy Brown used to be prior the death of his wife”
A quick peek at the show proves him right. Unlike the small-town problems and teen melodrama that surrounded his previous character, this outing has a darker hue, as might be expected of a show revolving around the life-and-death world of transplant surgery. And Williams couldn’t be more pleased with those differences.
“[EVERWOOD creator] Greg Berlanti once told me that he was consistently trying to wrestle the WB from turning our great family drama into a teen show, which it never was. TNT has embraced the fact that HEARTLAND is a serious adult drama. In the history of my career, I’ve never seen such a great campaign for any film or television series.”
With a winning mix of serious medical drama and the obligatory office romance – all played out by a very television-friendly ensemble, including FIREFLY’S Morena Baccarin – TNT is betting that HEARTLAND will replicate the success of its time-slot lead-in, THE CLOSER. Concludes Williams, “I think it’s great drama and deeply moving. If you want to forget about your life for an hour and watch somebody else’s, I think HEARTLAND’S a great way to do it.”