First Impressions


Aired on: NBC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            So, it’s the 2009 fall season and we’re looking for new television shows to peak our interest, right?  So how come NBC keeps bringing us copies of other television series?  That’s the thought that crossed my mind when I saw the promos for yet another medical drama this fall season on NBC called Trauma.  I watched the pilot episode which aired at 10PM EST on September 28, 2009.

            Trauma has been toted as a new intense medical drama focusing on first responder paramedics in San Francisco, California.  The intensity begins fairly quickly when a routine response to an electrocution turns into a tragedy.  The first responders become the victims in a freak helicopter accident that kills seven people, including the medivac chopper pilot, an EMT and the electrocution victim.  The crash and resulting explosions were attention grabbing and rather intense, as promised.

            Flash forward to the accident’s one year anniversary and we discover that the survivors of this accident are still coping with their traumatic losses.  Cameron Boone (Derek Luke) is having marital issues thanks to his inability to talk to her about the various tragedies he deals with on the job.  Nancy Carnahan (Anastasia Griffith) is suffering survivor’s guilt as well as mourning the loss of her partner/lover.  Reuben “Rabbit” Palchuk (Cliff Curtis) is the only passenger of the helicopter to survive.  He chooses this day to return to the job, cleared for duty despite his daredevil attitude.

            And wouldn’t you know it, but on this traumatic date, there is yet another disaster.  This time it’s a freeway pile-up which just happens to involve a tanker truck.  You just knew that tanker was going to explode, didn’t you?  Well, I sure did.  I also knew that the innocent people in the vehicle that managed not to get hurt in the pile-up would become the victims of the shrapnel spray.  Although I do have to say that the explosion and resulting shrapnel spray were rather impressive.

            But this show seemed rather familiar to me.  Remember Third Watch?  Remember the huge explosions?  I do - it was my favorite show.  In fact, they even did a spectacular car pile-up and explosion on that television show which happened to air on NBC a few years back.  Can you say rip-off?

            But even if you ignored the blatant rip-offs, how could you ignore the ridiculous scenes of paramedics in action?  When training on a defibrillator, you are taught to say, “I’m clear.  You’re clear.  We’re all clear.” before administering a shock to your victim.  If you’ve ever watched paramedics in action, you will notice that they never actually state this mantra verbatim.  They usually just yell, “Clear!”  Not one medic I know performs the I’m-clear-you’re clear mantra.  But apparently the guys on Trauma do.

            While we’re on the subject of CPR, who performs compressions one-handed?  The folks on Trauma do!  Damn, these guys are good!  How many ampoules of epinephrine are you going to give a guy before you realize the man is dead?  Apparently six just ain’t enough for these medics.  Didn’t the creators of Trauma think to hire a consultant team for the show?  Or were they just figuring that a bunch of mindless adrenaline junkies would be watching and wouldn’t care whether or not the scenes were actually realistic.

            So, say we ignore the lack or originality or realism.  Can we still get behind the characters in the series?  That would be a resounding, “NO!”  As the credits rolled after the final scene, I realized that I hadn’t found a bond with one single character on Trauma.  I didn’t care about any character on the show and wasn’t interested in finding out more about them. 

            Now combine all three things that Trauma is lacking in and you get one big waste of time.  That’s an hour of my life that I will never get back.  Lots of flash and no substance, Trauma is bound to have a short life…a traumatic experience to be sure.


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