"Coma" won't keep you awake.
The four-hour, two-part miniseries (9 p.m. Monday with part two at 9 p.m. Tuesday on A&E) is twice as long as the 1978 feature film version and feels longer than the 1977 Robin Cook novel on which it is based.
To Cook's credit but the movie and miniseries detriments, "Coma" never achieves the pulse pounding pace of paranoia that makes the story so compelling and drew millions to the book.
Even talents such as Geneviève Bujold and Michael Douglas couldn't quite make the original "Coma" film work.
This latest spin stars Lauren Ambrose (known better as Claire on HBO's "Six Feet Under") as Susan Wheeler, a smart and inquisitive medical student and surgeon in training who stumbles upon a plot at her hospital. A high ratio of patients undergoing fairly routine procedures lapse into comas from which they aren't waking up. These unfortunate souls are transported to a high-security facility and locked away.
But as Susan investigates what's happening to the comatose patients, she begins to question whether she can trust everyone around her — including the dashing and seemingly sinister Dr. Mark Bellows (Steven Pasquale).
Susan has plenty of folks to suspect of evildoing: the icy Dr. Lindquist (Geena Davis) and the powerful chief of staff (James Woods).
"Coma" creeps along, with too many slow-moving scenes. Ambrose is charming, but she still evokes one note as an actress.
Davis has never played evil very well. Her face lights up in everything she does — even when it shouldn't.
If only "Coma" had that same charm.
Score: 2 stars (out of five)
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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