NBC likely to scrub 'Scrubs'

What if they turned "ER" into a comedy? Would it look like "Scrubs" (8:30 p.m., NBC)? Not likely. Zach Braff stars as J.D. Dorian, a baby-faced medical intern who lives up to his nickname "Bambi." The pilot races through his first 36-hour shift at a grim hospital with an embittered and overworked staff. His buddy and college roommate, Chris Turk (Donald Faison), and pretty fellow intern Elliott Reid (Sarah Chalke, "Roseanne") join Dorian. Judy Reyes ("Oz") plays a no-nonsense nurse who barely tolerates the new rookies.

"Scrubs" has a manic style that might be funny if it possessed a coherent point of view. After all, a hospital's bureaucracy is as ripe for satire as any institution. But instead of intelligent black comedy ("M*A*S*H"), we get a juvenile pastiche of fantasy sex scenes and other imaginary detours.

The series offers a few glimmers of intelligent writing, particularly when Dorian attempts to explain the hospital's caste system. And we hear a few satirical rants about HMOs and medical care. But such moments are rare. Look for John C. McGinley as a bitter veteran doctor who is more passionate about medicine than he first appears.

� Kevin Spacey hosts "Come Together: A Night of John Lennon's Words & Music" (7 p.m., WB and TNT), featuring live performances by Alanis Morissette, the Dave Matthews Band, the Isley Brothers, Lou Reed and Moby.

Tonight's other highlights

� Willow does her best to find a spell to raise the Slayer from the dead on the sixth-season premiere of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (7 p.m.). Meanwhile, a robot Buffy does her cheerful best to keep evil at bay. Now on UPN.

� Joan muses about her first encounter with Jake on the second-season premiere of "What About Joan" (7:30 p.m., ABC).

� Dr. Crane obsesses about a noisy cricket on "Frasier" (8 p.m., NBC).

� Maxine disappears on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).

Series notes

� All are new ... To avoid questions about her break-up, Mac goes on a special assignment on "JAG" (7 p.m., CBS) ... The network asks for additional episodes on "Emeril" (7 p.m., NBC) ... Donna gets cable TV on "That '70s Show" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Dharma encourages Larry to follow his musical muse on "Dharma & Greg" (7 p.m., ABC).

Bess hides a secret from her old-fashioned boss (Garry Marshall) on "Three Sisters" (7:30 p.m., NBC) ... A complicated breakup on "Undeclared" (7:30 p.m., Fox).

Nick pursues a complicated legal strategy on behalf of his juvenile client on "The Guardian" (8 p.m., CBS) ... Couples play games on "Love Cruise: The Maiden Voyage" (8 p.m., Fox).

Mike's return ruffles feathers on "Spin City" (8:30 p.m., ABC) ... Kathleen fumes at a possible stalker on "Philly" (9 p.m., ABC).


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