Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doctors Are In The House On This Season's TV Lineup

Have you noticed the surplus of medical dramas this season? As a long time fan still mourning the demise of ER and an off and on Gray’s Anatomy fan, I had to check out the new ones.

I first watched NBC's disappointing contribution Mercy. The acting is dreadful, and the main character, Veronica, is a wench. Sonia is her antithesis looks-wise, but I’ve been to a lot of hospitals, and if I ever saw anyone dressed and made up like Sonia, I don’t think I’d want them working on me or my loved one. She belongs on America’s Next Top Model, not a medical drama.

Back to Veronica. She’s pathetic, and I don’t sympathize with her character. She’s been to Iraq or Afghanistan or somewhere, but so have a lot of other people and they don’t come back with attitudes toward the whole human race or a tendency to cheat on their husbands. She can’t make up her mind between her husband or the doctor she had a fling with overseas. Not admirable behavior. If she doesn’t want the husband, she needs to stop playing along with reconciliation. That’s just tacky.

Her parents are both drunks, so what do she and her brother do? Drink. Uh uh. Once was too many times for this chickie to view. Skip this one and watch So You Think You Can Dance, on at the same time.

Alex O'Loughlin stars as the lead transplant surgeon Andy Yablonski in CBS’s Three Rivers. Ryan Abbott has been hired as an assistant to the transplant organizer, only to learn on his first day that the organizer has quit, leaving him and everyone else in the lurch. This is a fun thread, with the likable newbie learning as he goes.

Miranda Foster is a surgical fellow, and whose father the hospital is named after, had unresolved issues with the man before his death. I like her voice a lot, one of those unusually low husky female voices.

The episode I watched this week was a triple thread, involving an organ donor and his family and the recipients of his organs. I especially liked that this wasn’t another hashing of the medical staff persuading a grieving family to donate their loved one’s organs. The donor was on record, and his mother was proud of him—a refreshing take. The conflicts were the waiting patients’ health, securing organs that the police deemed evidence in a murder investigation, and then a bomb threat that jammed traffic on the way from the airport to the hospital. Time pressure and emotional stress with the families raised the stakes.

I liked the unique approach to a worthy procedure and all of the people involved in transplants. Definitely worth watching and ends on a positive note. It’s nice to have a Sunday evening show for a change.

Trauma, another NBC show—what were they thinking, scheduling an exciting action series with likeable characters on the same network as the flat-lining Mercy? The show begins one year after a fatal two helicopter crash during a rooftop rescue, in which Reuben “Rabbit” Palchuk played by Cliff Curtis, is injured and spends time in a coma. He was a jerk previously, and now he’s worse—or so it seems. After rescuing people from a freeway pileup, Rabbit drives his car like a maniac, emulating Steve McQueen in Bullet. We don’t know whether to hate or love this guy, because the next minute he’s apologizing to Nancy and then comforting a child. I ended up liking him a lot. He’s the alpha male character.

Anastasia Griffith’s character, Nancy Carnahan loses her love interest in the crash and is having difficulty on the anniversary of the trauma. She has a medical degree, but doesn’t want to work in a hospital.

Aimee Garcia plays Marissa, the new helicopter pilot who’s back from Afghanistan—wait—they did the same thing on Mercy, only this character is likeable and believable and a good actress to boot. She flies Rabbit to rescue scenes. She’s not afraid to stand up to him, and she doesn’t come off like a rip. There’s good interaction between MTs, doctors and patients.

The one drawback is that viewers see predictable accidents coming, like a text-messaging driver and a marijuana-smoking wood chipper, but because I like this show, here’s a shout out to the writers: less clichéd situations and fewer stereotyped secondary characters, please! But this one’s a keeper and reminds me a little of the show that used to parallel paramedics with policeman. What was the name of that one? Trauma is on opposite Lie to Me on Mondays, so I record it or watch it online.

There are sirens and neck braces aplenty on medical dramas this season. And if you missed an episode you can catch full episodes on the network’s websites in some cases.


  1. I used to like all the new shows but I never watch TV anymore everything is for young people and I am not young anymore so they do not interest me, but I like to read books, so please enter me into your drawing