Problems aside, there's a Wonder Years quality to Red Band Society that transports viewers back to those simple firsts in life, the coming of age rites of passage that we all instantly understand and can connect to.
The cast works well together. They just have to fight some implausible setups and jarring shifts from clever and poignant to sappy and slapstick. Did we mention that when someone faints, he or she can chat with Charlie [kid in a coma]?
Red Band Society (the name comes from their hospital bracelets) aims for the poignancy of the runaway teen bestseller The Fault in Our Stars, but the TV project is too transparent in the way it goes about tugging on your sympathies.
For starters at least, Red Band Society has enough lightness of being and appealing characters to counterbalance its overall sobering premise. There's no RX for smash hit here. But the prospects for survival perhaps approach 50-50.
Boasting a winning (if on-the-nose) mix of the aforementioned seminal John Hughes film and Glee's freshman season - Red Band Society has the potential to sneak up on and charm its samplers. Let it, and it will make you smile.