March 13, 2016

Mercy Street 2016 - Review

   "Blood is not gray or blue; it's all one color."

Just as Downton Abbey comes to a close, public television has just released a new series called Mercy Street. I've been watching it eagerly every Sunday night, and I can't get enough! 

                                        Mercy Street (2016) Poster:

Mercy Street is set during the Civil War in Alexandria, Virginia, which the Union army is currently occupying. The army has taken over the hotel of a prosperous Southern family and turned it into a military hospital. The story focuses primarily on Mary Phinney, a new nurse that comes to the hospital. The series follows unfolding events in the hospital and around the city of Alexandria as lives from both North and South are mixed.

The setting and the characters are what really make this show so fascinating. Men and women from different backgrounds come together to make one amazing story!

      Mercy Street series premiere recap: The New Nurse |

Nurse Mary Phinney

Mary Phinney comes to Alexandria as a widow; her husband died in Pennsylvania the past year. Mary feels guilty that she was unable to nurse her husband to health, so she is determined to help save as many lives as she can at the hospital. She is sent to the hospital to work as head nurse, even though her experience is limited. At first she is surprised by the chaos of a hospital, but she works to keep her composure. I personally love Nurse Phinney; she has incredible spirit and determination. I really connect to her attitude of trying to help every single person she can.

Doctor Jed Foster

Dr. Foster is one of the main surgeons in the hospital. (There is another one, but he's icky and not fun to talk about!) Dr. Foster grew up in a rich family in Maryland. His opinions are neither completely Union nor Confederate; he wants to preserve the Union, but is not in any way an abolitionist. Dr. Foster doesn't discriminate between Union or Confederate soldiers, but works tirelessly to help as many as possible. Dr. Foster is...kind of complex to me. I like him for the most part, but he certainly isn't perfect. 

      Season 1 Pre-Finale Recap | Falling behind on Mercy Street? Here's a recap before the finale this weekend!:

Mr. James Green

Mr. Greene is in a very tricky situation as he resists signing an oath of allegiance to the Union and tries to appease the Union officers at the same time. He must run a business, protect his family, and keep his dignity even after the Union has taken over his hotel. I really admire Mr. Green. He stands up for his values and handles a very difficult situation incredibly well. Of course I don't support the Confederate's cause as a whole, but I sympathize with the Green's situation. 

Mrs. Jane Green

Mrs. Green is one strong woman! She keeps a lot of Southern pride and dignity, even though her life is overrun with "the enemy". She is determined to maintain Southern hospitality even to those who come uninvited. She also manages her three children, which is a job all of its own. I really admire Mrs. Green. Her dresses are really pretty too. :)

Episode 3 | The Uniform | Mercy Street | PBS:
Emma on the left, Alice on the right

Emma Green

Emma Green is the older daughter, and she quickly learns that the best way to gain her family's hotel back (in a sense) is to work as a nurse in the hospital. Never before accustomed to uncivilized work and living, Emma struggles initially, but soon becomes much more confident and mature through her nursing job. Although I don't like all of Emma's decisions, I love her character, and her big sister-ness to Alice.

Alice Green

Alice is pretty young and carefree at first. She doesn't care or know how bad the war is, but is more concerned with the latest fashions. She also has a sweetheart who goes off to fight. Alice develops into a more mature, if somewhat radical character by the end of the season. I don't have anything against Alice, but I like Emma better, since she has more personality. Alice seems a bit flat at times. 

         Mercy Street Comes to CPTV Sunday, Jan. 17:

Aurelia Johnson

Aurelia works as a laundress for the hospital. She is a free woman, but still hasn't discovered just how much freedom she has, and does not feel much different than being a slave. Her main wish is to find out where her son is, since she was separated from him several years before.

Samuel Diggs

Samuel works as an assistant at the hospital. Through experience with a former master, Samuel is practically an expert in medical and surgical knowledge, but feels he can't use it because no one would trust or believe that a black man could know so much. Samuel has a really kind heart and cares deeply for Aurelia. He does so much for her, and is so kind, but for some reason she doesn't want him. Which makes me rather frustrated. Anyway, Samuel is overall a really cool guy. I like him.

The opening theme to Mercy Street is beautiful!

            ‘Mercy Street’:

     There is one important thing you should know if you might watch this: it has a lot of blood. The producers certainly didn't cut corners when it came to the nitty, gritty, and gory reality of a Civil War hospital. So yeah, I looked away or changed the channel for a few scenes. There is also one other sort of inappropriate scene in an episode Thankfully, it's pretty easy to tell when you might want to look away or skip a scene; they make it pretty clear when there's about to be surgery or blood. On one hand, it was good to make people realize just how awful life could be in the Civil War. On the other hand, I'm not sure if they had to show everything to make that point.
Overall I think this series is absolutely fantastic, and I'm excited for season two!
Do you enjoy Public Television series?
Have you ever seen Mercy Street?


  1. AHHHHHH. Abby!! I want to see this soooo badly now. (I had wanted to before this post, but now the urge has increased. :-D) Wonderful review - The dresses are lovely, and it LOOKS SO GOOD. :-)

    1. Yay, my enthusiasm has spread! :) Hope you can see this soon! It is SO good!

  2. I have been SO interested in this show ever since I saw the trailer on DA!!!! I'm glad you've been enjoying it. I'll have to wait till it comes out on DVD before I can watch it though, since I don't have cable TV. Nice review! :-)

    1. Aw, it didn't air over regular television for you? I don't have cable either, but thankfully I got it through...well, whatever regular, non-cable TV is called! You can order the DVD from PBS here, if you like:
      I think you'll really like it. The set and costumes are so pretty! :)

    2. Well, we don't have cable TV, or ANY TV -- we just watch DVDs. (Which is usually nice, except for times like these, when I want to be watching new series with the rest of humankind!) I'm sure I would really like it -- anything Civil War is RIGHT up my alley.