I was working last night. No helicopters crashed, nothing blew up, and I certainly did not get laid. In fact, we treated one seizure patient and watched Monday Night Football. Thanks to the magic that is TiVo, I finally got the chance to watch Trauma this afternoon.
I have to say I wasn’t as disappointed as I had expected. That’s not saying much, as my expectations could not have been much lower after the promos. The medicine was bad; the special effects were overdone. The sex scene was a cliché, as was Nancy’s uniform. The MCI was a joke, and the gratuitous helicopter crash was in very poor taste. We in EMS are a bit sensitive about the safety of helicopter transportation lately, and Americans in general are still sensitive about aircraft crashing into skyscrapers.
BUT. . .
I’m not ready to write the DNR order yet. I’m keeping in mind that this is TV. It’s a show about paramedics in the sense that House is a doctor show, CSI is about the crime lab, or Rescue Me is about the FDNY. Paramedicine provides the setting and dramatic fodder, but it’s not the story. I expect the story to overshadow the medicine.
I’m also keeping in mind that it was the pilot episode. Pilots must establish the scene, give background to the characters, and sell the show to the network and the audience. Hopefully the later episodes will focus more on the characters and less on the stunts.
So I’m willing to give it a few more episodes.
NBC, I do have a few suggestions:
- Hire a technical advisor. The medicine doesn’t have to be great and it need not displace the story, but if it’s chronically bad you will eventually lose me and the rest of my profession. You don’t have to be 100% authentic, but please be believable.
- Lose the helicopters. We don’t believe them flying in a major urban area. It’s unsafe (as you over-dramatized) and unnecessary. If your Rebel-with-a-cause needs a special ride, put him in a cool Charger like Wake County EMS and let him rip around the city. Or let the SPFX guys cook up a Rabbitmobile.
- Develop the characters, but don’t get too lost in their private lives. I want to see how paramedics act when they’re being paramedics. Don’t let the setting become just a prop for some unrelated story.
- Please let Boone’s character come out and play. Any of us who have been in EMS for a while have ghosts. We didn’t acquire them in such a dramatic manner, but how we deal with them is epic story fodder. I can root for Boone.
- Remember that EMS is about people, not explosions or defibrillations. If you read a few EMS blogs, you will see that there are hundreds of great human stories out there. There are also hundreds of characters and personalities on both sides of the stethoscope.
So NBC, good luck. You could have another ER here if you focus on good situational drama instead of blowing things up. Please don’t disappoint me like you did with Third Watch.