June 13, 2013



SAVE ME had a late start, but it managed to be the worst network show to premiere during the 2012-13 season.  Unspeakably self-righteous, smug and narcissistic–and also not remotely funny–it was a series about religion that could have been underwritten by atheists.  While the idea of having The Big C creator Darlene Hunt run the show after its creation by writer John Scott Shepherd may have seemed like a logical move, since like Big C, Save Me involved a suburban wife and mother who had a transformative life experience (in this case, serving as a prophet of God after nearly dying) and became a teller of truths, the result was everything that was worst about Big C–plus idiotic gimmicks.

The series finale, with a script credited to Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Joanna Calo and Julie Durk, none of whom seemed to be members of the writing staff, and directed by Scott Winant, was no better than the episodes that had preceded it.  Since the show is dead without any hope of resurrection, we’ll make this brief.  As with every other episode, the finale followed the pattern whereby heroine  Beth Harper (Anne Heche) would get a message from God and act on the results no matter what her family and friends thought or felt, to disastrous results–which would, one might say miraculously, always turn out for the best in the end.  In the finale, that meant that while Beth didn’t save the rundown hospital God had told her to rescue, in the process (after visits to incarnations of God played by Betty White and Orlando Jones, where she sat with them in a magic movie theater and watched excerpts from her life) she turned all of those around her, even her selfish teenage daughter Emily (Madison Davenport), into a humanitarian and a better human being.

Heche served as a producer of this thing, so she doesn’t escape some of the blame, but the rest of the cast, including Michael Landes, Heather Burns, Joy Osmanski, Diedrich Bader and Stephen Schneider–plus Alexandra Breckinridge as Beth’s husband’s comatose mistress, who just disappeared from the show at some point–will hopefully move on to more heavenly projects.  Bob Greenblatt has been raked across the coals repeatedly for ordering Smash to series when he took over NBC… but that’s only because no one had seen Save Me.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."