October 01, 2009

TV: Trauma (NBC, Mon 9)

Every year, during the annual Fall New TV Marathon, I allow myself to give up on one (but only one) show before the first episode is finished. I think of it as my annual "life's just too damned short" moment, and this year, that moment belonged to Trauma.

As the show opens, a bunch of beautiful young EMTs and helicopter pilots are involved in a San Francisco rooftop rescue that goes tragically wrong. I was sort of interested at this point; I would have enjoyed seeing how people in those jobs react in the aftermath of such a horrific incident. But the show doesn't want to tell that story; it leaps ahead a year, thinking for some reason that people living with the relatively distant memory of pain will be more interesting than people in the midst of it.

Not that I'm a sadistic bastard who wants to see TV characters suffer or anything, but if you're in the storytelling business, it seems stupid to take the less dramatically interesting option.

Anyhoo, after the "one year later" leap, our beautiful young cast is immediately involved in another gigantic rescue, a massive highway pileup this time, complete with exploding oil truck. (Has an oil truck ever been shown in a TV show as a simple part of routine traffic? I don't think so. If you see an oil truck, you know there's a fireball a-comin'.)

And since the "that blowed up real good" genre of entertainment has never been my favorite, I bailed on Trauma.

(One interesting note: The pilot episodes of both Trauma and FlashForward featured images of helicopters crashing into skyscrapers. Not quite as horrific as jet planes crashing into the World Trade Center, I realize, but still, it's something you wouldn't have seen on network TV two years ago.)

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