TV Review: COMBAT HOSPITAL – Episode 1: “Welcome To Kandahar” (2011)
Just caught the premier episode of COMBAT HOSPITAL, a Canadian-British show that is basically your typical medical/hospital drama, which takes place in a warzone in 2006. Pretty basic, very interesting and should make for some great drama. The debut episode follows your basic procedure of introducing the titular character of Major Rebecca Gordon, a Canadian doctor who travels to Kandahar, along with another young rookie.
Through out the first episode, we meet the commanding officer, played by Elias Koteas who is always awesome. We also get taken through the paces of how it’s incredibly busy, always hectic with war zone soldiers coming in day and night to the hospital, not to mention important enemy combatants and the doctors get very little sleep, and so on. Again, very basic and very procedural. There’s the obligatory confrontation with the commanding officer for being a ‘hot shot’, an emotional past that Rebecca is trying to escape, and a cocky civilian doctor who’s constantly hitting on her. Great!
I know this is coming off as sarcastic, but I’m being genuine, it’s a nice change of pace. I mean it’s very routine and typical, but there may be room for more. There’s a lot of great potential for this show, it’s been a while since a medical drama has really resonated with me, since ER. (I don’t count GREY’S ANATOMY as a medical show, or as a drama.) COMBAT HOSPITAL also reminded me of some great M*A*S*H* moments as well.
Some tuning up: Besides the main character, Koteas and the cocky civilian bad ass doctor, the show really doesn’t have many diverse or intersting characters as of yet. I may be jumping the gun with only the first episode, but there isn’t much that seems to wanna be bringing the audience back next week in terms of a supporting cast. Well not counting Deborah Kara Unger’s psychiatrist who breaks the rules by counselling the women of Kandahar and stealing supplies from the base pharmacy. The terrorism aspects could’ve been played up a bit more as that’d be an even more unexpected element of a hospital drama that could’ve been intersting. The same problems were evident with the first episode of ROOKIE BLUE, yet another Canadian show, but that one was pretty successful.
COMBAT HOSPITAL all in all is pretty cool and very interesting given the setting of a warzone where doctors have to deal with all the crap that comes with the territory. Some of the stuff is pretty intense, like snakes in the operating rooms. I just hope COMBAT HOSPITAL is given the room to grow into a pretty interesting show, and given that it’s premiering on a Canadian network (usually less demanding in their ratings than US networks) I’m sure it will be.