Why Emily Owens, M.D. Is Grey's Anatomy 2.0

TV Guide

Mamie Gummer, Ellen Pompeo | Photo Credits: Jack Rowand/The CW; Kelsey McNeal/ABC

From the moment Emily Owens, M.D. begins, one thought will surely cross your mind: This feels very familiar.

That's because The CW's new medical dramedy is pretty similar to ABC's stalwart Grey's Anatomy — from the titular protagonists' names to the voiceovers and even the characters, the tone of Shonda Rhimes' medical drama is present.

Emily Owens stars Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife, Off the Map) as a first-year intern who, while working alongside her best friend/crush (Justin Hartley) and her childhood nemesis (Aja Naomi King), must learn the hard way that hospitals are a lot like high school.

VIDEO: Watch the premiere of The CW's Emily Owens, M.D. online now!

"I think that every medical show now is going to be compared to Grey's," Gummer tells TVGuide.com. "I did a show called Off the Map and it was set in a jungle and everyone was comparing it to Grey's. It's sort of inevitable. Grey's has gotten a little gray. It has more somber notes generally than we do, but Grey's is a great show and it's been running forever, so obviously they're doing something right."

What they're doing right is exactly what Emily creator Jennie Snyder Urman probably hopes to capitalize on considering archetypes from the Shondaland flasgship series can be found in the CW show. Let's take a look at the characters to see how similar they really are:

Emily Owens (Mamie Gummer) is Meredith Grey: Both docs came to their respective hospitals wide-eyed and hoping to make a difference, but where Mer went dark and twisty, Emily is still hoping to hang on to her bright and shiny side, which offers a lot of awkward comedy as she navigates the waters of residency. "She's generally awkward," Gummer says. "She's lacking in social graces, but she's very well-intentioned. She's smarter and has more depth than she's given credit for or that she's aware of. She's a kind of geeky character." And although both characters use voiceover narration, expect more from Emily than what you're used to from Grey's.

Will Rider (Justin Hartley) is Derek Shepherd: Like Derek was to Meredith, this is ultimately the heartthrob that you — and Emily — will be rooting for her to end up with. No random one-night stands here, though, as the duo went to medical school together and she's been harboring a longtime crush on her pal. "You learn that they have a real friendship founded on a lot of shared experience and true affection," Gummer says. "It's not just a girlish crush that she has." And just like Grey's dragged out the will-they-won't-they tension for MerDer, so too will Emily as Gummer says they're still working through that in episodes they're currently filming.

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Micah Barnes (Michael Rady) is Finn Dandridge: In case you don't remember Finn (Chris O'Donnell), he was the vet that became the wrench in the potential relationship between McDreamy and Mer. Right away, Micah — who's dealing with the fact that his mother is a new cancer patient at his hospital — will take Emily under his wing, which may lead some viewers to switch from Team Will to Team Micah. And that's OK, as Gummer says the potential between the pair will continue to develop throughout the season.

Tyra Dupre (Kelly McCreary) is Cristina Yang: Tyra, the daughter of the Chief, is definitely Emily's "person," as Yang is to Mer. The two bond pretty quickly — with hilariously disastrous results that will make Emily the talk of the hospital. Fortunately, Tyra will help her navigate the high school-like atmosphere of the hospital. "Tyra keeps her grounded, even though Tyra has this penchant for putting her in really uncomfortable positions," Gummer says.

Cassandra Kopelson (Aja Naomi King) is Addison Montgomery: Yes, Addison is a completely different person now on Private Practice, but back in her Grey's days, she lived for making her husband's mistress' life a living hell — and that's exactly what Cassandra is there to do for Emily. She's Emily's old high-school nemesis who will continue to torment her — and even make a few passes at Will. "She does [stand up to her]," Gummer says. "It's a slow build, so she kind of stands up, but sometimes it feels like three steps forward, two steps back."

Gina Bandari (Necar Zadegan) is Miranda Bailey: Meet Emily Owens' version of Seattle Grace's Nazi. Dr. Bandari is the groundbreaking cardiothoracic surgeon that everyone wants to work with, but she's also super tough — and just wait until Emily tries to go over her head! This is where Emily's awkwardness will really work against her.

Will you be tuning into Emily Owens, M.D. when it premieres Tuesday at 9/8c on The CW?


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