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Check Out -- Or Check Into -- ABC's "Boston Med" Documentary Series
June 24, 2010  | By David Bianculli

boston-med-amanda.jpgWhile most so-called reality TV shows are unwatchable and uninspired, there's a show about actual reality that begins tonight (Wednesday, 10 ET) on ABC, and sparkles like a diamond amid all the summertime TV coal. It's an eight-week documentary series called Boston Med, and it's captivating. [I review it on today's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, but other observations, as well as a link to the review, follow...]

Most of ABC's new summer offerings are scripted, and are disappointing. The Gates, despite Rhona Mitra, is a pale, diluted version of HBO's True Blood. Scoundrels, despite Virginia Madsen, is a pale, diluted version of FX's The Riches. And tonight's Rookie Blue, a Canadian import, is a pale, diluted version of just about every raw-recruit cop series ever made.

Ah, but Boston Med, which begins tonight and runs Thursdays through the summer, is a pleasant, unscripted exception. Like Hopkins, a previous ABC documentary series from executive producer Terry Wrong, it captures true life -- and true death -- in the rooms and corridors of a major medical institution. In this case, Wrong and his crew filmed, for more than a year, at three Boston facilities, and emerged with dozens of compelling, often overlapping stories.

My full Fresh Air review can be read now, and heard after about 5 p.m. ET, by clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, let me add two things.


One is that, in tonight's opening installment, you'll meet Pina Patel, a fourth-year resident who wonders whether, outside of her demanding and successful career, she'll ever find the right guy. This show should help: She comes off as absolutely charming.

Two is that, when this series concludes in two weeks, it does so with a special episode, about the world's second attempted face transplant, that is a knockout hour of television -- with a real-life story line as twisty and turny, and as emotional and engrossing, as anything churned out by Hollywood screenwriters. Even the gifted ones.

I'll write more about this series after viewers have had a chance to sample it. For now, just check into Boston Med, and check it out. You won't be sorry.




Eileen said:

If "Boston Med" is half as good as "Hopkins 24/7", I'm definitely along for the ride.

Having worked at St. Vincent's-Manhattan for the past 16 years, I can attest that your fellow employees truly become your second family.

After 161 years, alas, St. Vincent's closed its doors on April 30th. A day of such sadness for all the "long timers".

On 9/11, St. Vincent's was the trauma center nearest the World Trade Center. It was a day at the hospital that one could never fully understand unless you'd been there.

Having seen man's inhumanity to man that morning, I also saw the flip side; all the doctors, nurses, tech, students from the neighboring New School coming together for a common cause. Their actions that day will stay with me forever for they truly reaffirmed the inherent goodness and decency of mankind.

For the past several years I've worked in administration in the ER, and have seen compassion, decency, excellent medicine, heartbreak, and doctors & nurses who give 110% every shift they work. How they cope with the stress eludes me, but they are some of the finest, most decent, most intelligent people I've ever met.

I am truly looking forward to tonight's show.

[Let me know what you think -- and what you're doing next... -- David B.]

Comment posted on June 24, 2010 5:39 PM
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