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Don’t waste your brain cells on ABC’s ‘Black Box’


In the wake of sexual abuse allegations against him, ABC has removed executive producer Bryan Singer’s name from the advertising for its new drama series “Black Box” (10 p.m. Thursday, KTNV-TV, Channel 13).

That has to rank among the best news Singer has received in the past week.

“Black Box” follows Dr. Catherine Black (Kelly Reilly), a world famous neurologist nicknamed “The Marco Polo of the Brain,” who secretly suffers from bipolar disorder and has a fondness for going off her meds.

First, that nickname is horrible.

Second, when she’s off her meds, she hallucinates, whether it’s that she’s receiving a rousing reception for her speech at a medical conference or that she’s flying high above San Francisco as the sky begins to resemble Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” Also, she dances. A lot. To jazz that may or may not just be in her head.

As for that speech, it was delivered in a party dress and thigh-high stockings. “On the ride home,” she matter-of-factly tells her psychiatrist (Vanessa Redgrave), “I became hypersexual.”

She also becomes rambling and manic during episodes you’d run from if you encountered them on the street. So why would you want to invite them into your living room?

The whole thing is too, for lack of a better word, actorly.

According to a note from series creator Amy Holden Jones (“Mystic Pizza,” “Indecent Proposal”), future episodes will include such cases as “Cotard’s Syndrome, in which the sufferer believes they are a walking corpse … and the self-explanatory Exploding Head Syndrome.”

Alrighty then.

In trying to make Dr. Black stand out, “Black Box” has made her insufferable.

It’s really all just too much.

“Black Box” is one of at least 13 new scripted series — some have disappeared so quickly, it’s been hard to keep count — that ABC has flung at the wall so far this season.

Almost none of them have stuck.

Don’t look for “Black Box” to break that trend.