Sunday, June 26, 2011

The next big medical dramas...

ABC has wheeled out a new show called Combat Hospital. I have not watched it. But just as CBS has made CSI spin-off after spin-off, it seems ABC is content to do this with medical dramas.

Let's recap:
  • Grey's Anatomy - Frightfully attractive hospital staff provide services to Seattle's sick and injured in between bouts of providing "other services" to each other. However, when you have good writing and good acting, this can work out.
  • Private Practice - Doctor leaves Grey's Anatomy for sunny Santa Monica to be part of a private medical practice that serves, well... the type of people you expect in Los Angeles that are rich enough to not care if their medical insurance pays for their procedures.
  • Off the Map - Frightfully attractive doctors (in Ecuador?) providing services to the stereotypically Latin American locals while doing some soul searching.
Now, we have Combat Hospital, which, from what I can gather, is doctors on the war front in Afghanistan. This is getting awfully close to M*A*S*H territory, but hey... Grey's Anatomy is awfully close to St. Elsewhere territory and it pulls things off.

So, what's next? What other outrageous places could we set things, preferably with tons of stereotypes to exploit? Maybe:

  • ED Appalachia - Frightfully attractive doctors work with minimal resources in a fictional West Virginia or Kentucky city to provide care for the region's citizens. The big episode of season one could involve a mining accident (pure ratings grab, but hey...). It would also be interesting to see how TV could handle crying families with no insurance...
  • USNS Respite - Four words: doctors on a boat. That's right, members of our Navy (with advanced medical degrees and frightfully good looks, of course) care for our wounded warriors. And the best part? They can be anywhere. Ratings down? Ship 'em someplace new. Would also be lots of chances for sunbathing scenes. Because I'm sure that's what happens on our nation's medical ships.
  • [NAME OF CITY HERE] Children's - This is basically Grey's Anatomy... but the only patients we see are children. Nothing anyone can tell me will convince me this wouldn't be a hit show.
The point - and the sad thing - in all this is that we've clearly come to a point where new ideas are rare. This sort of "people like [thing], so what can we do that's just like [thing]" thought process wins the day. I'd say I wanted any royalties gained from any of the above shows becoming a reality, but I am willing to wager - bad ideas as all of them sound - that they're already being pitched to network execs by someone else.

I'm sure that would be true of any concepts you could come up with in the comments, too (though I would love to hear the premise of a zombie hospital show...).

You see Game of Thrones and you wonder when, exactly, the major TV networks are going to start being a bit riskier with new concepts instead of wrapping the same concepts up in new ways.


Cheryl said...

I think you might be giving ABC too much credit. They probably would just call the show "Doctors on a Boat."

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