Warning: Viewing of the Red Band Society pilot is not for those averse to using copious amounts of tear-wiping products.
The new drama, from Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, revolves around a group of teens who bond with each other because they have one very big thing in common: Various illnesses have forced them to live in the pediatric unit of Ocean Park Hospital in Los Angeles.
Some are battling cancer, one boy — who narrates much of the action — is in a post-accident coma, a mean girl cheerleader needs a new heart, and long-time resident Emma (Big Time Rush alum Ciara Bravo) is dealing with an eating disorder.
It's somber subject matter, for sure. But Red Band Society's writers put a dark comedy spin on it, and a very likable cast — yes, that is The X Factor Season 1 finalist Brian "Astro" Bradley playing randy patient Dash — keeps the tone from becoming unbearably sad, and at times, even funny and sweet.
As for the adult cast — sorry, kids, somebody's gotta enforce the rules — Oscar winner Octavia Spencer is no-nonsense, kind-hearted Nurse Jackson, Brothers & Sisters alum Dave Annable is hot doc Jack McAndrew, and My So-Called Life fave Wilson Cruz is nurse Kenji.
The chance to watch the pilot nearly a month before its official premiere on Fox, by the way, comes courtesy of the MyRedBandSociety.com promotion in which Fox pledged to donate $1 for every social media share of Red Band Society videos, photos, and GIFs. The network promised to donate a total of up to $100,000, and, once that amount was reached, to unlock the pilot episode for 100 hours.
The fundraising goal, happily, was reached, which means fine organizations like the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Teen Cancer America, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will share the cash raised, and that you need only click on the video above to watch the entire premiere episode for the next four days.
Red Band Society premieres Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. on Fox.