I don’t often do reviews, mainly because I don’t read them and am therefore uncertain about the format. But this was too good an opportunity to miss. Also I may have sold any reputation I have down the river and have agreed to do a bit of PR for the company promoting it – no money has changed hands.
‘Saved’ – Sunday at 9pm on the Hallmark channel.
Although this will perhaps be old news for any readers from the Americas, there is a new ‘Paramedic Drama’ TV show called ‘Saved’. It’s on the Hallmark channel in the UK and last night I saw the pilot for it. I made a few notes…
Like all TV medical dramas it was full of the interesting (but rare) jobs that we go to – I believe that somewhere out in TV writer-land there is a list of things that *must* happen in a medical drama.
You must have,
- A fat guy having a heart attack.
- A cardiac arrest (which is saved).
- A case of child abuse.
- A baby being delivered.
- A car crash.
- A dead child.
- A mad homeless person, and…
- A newbie.
‘Saved’ ticked all of those particular boxes, but didn’t feel cheap for it. In an hour long show (especially a pilot) you need to make things as interesting as possible. The plot is fairly typical, the ‘hero’ has personal and family problems with a complicated love life, another is separated from his wife and child. Once more drama needs these tropes to make you feel for the characters. No-one in a drama has a happy marriage, just like no-one in Eastenders has a life free of pain.
But before you think I am being harsh, I’d like to let you know that I really enjoyed it.
I understand that there are differences in the way that American ambulance staff differ from us in the UK, but there were some universal truths that I can’t ever remember seeing in a TV drama before. For example, on their way to hospital after dealing with a trauma the attendant was chatting quite happily while doing a medical procedure – now, realistically the driver would have pulled over, but it was the dialogue that I quite liked, they were both calm (no ‘If I don’t make this he’s gonna die’ histrionics) the driver was congratulating his mate on not getting them beaten up moments earlier.
The dialogue was similar to the way we talk in real life (although not always in front of the patient), the way of talking that may seem cruel and uncaring, but it is that level of disconnection which gets us through the shift.
There was the same superstition about uttering the ‘Q word’ in relation to a shift, I imagine that their medical consultant threw that idea into the writing pot. It’s funny that they have the same belief in America. We also shudder if someone says that the shift will be ‘quiet’ – it’s a terrible curse.
At one point the ambulance was stolen – the reaction was pretty much what ours would be, a moment of ‘oh sh*t!’ followed by laughter as the police followed it down the road.
The attitude to the patients was also similar to a lot of what happens on the road, telling the heart attack that he wasn’t going to die, and that he was safe now is the sort of thing that we all say in order to relax our patients. I’m also glad that I’m not the only one who mentions to patients that he doesn’t like doctors either…
It’s also nice to see someone who wears gloves less than I do – I’m not a big fan of wearing them, but, unlike the protagonist, I do wear them if I’m delivering a baby as it gets bloody mucky.
I liked the reaction to being told that a patient of theirs had died – a little sad, but not broken up about it – and then back on the road for the next call.
Can I just say though, sex in the back of an ambulance? Ewww. Reember, we know the sorts of people who we regularly pick up…
Finally, I can’t tell you how much I love the photo montages of the patient’s backgrounds that are shown as our heroes arrive on scene – they condense a lot of information into a short space of time and avoid the ‘Casualty’ trap where half the programme is set-up for the emergency.
(As an example, I saw Casualty this week, the first part of the programme showed a woman with two children next to a canal – I was guessing that one of them would drown. I was wrong, one child smothered the other, but it had distracted me. The ‘Saved’ approach is much better at compressing a patient history into a few seconds).
So I’ve got to say that I enjoyed the pilot and I’ll be watching again next week to see if they can keep the same standard of realistic bits mixed with the trauma cases we get once in a blue moon.
Oh yes, the American site for the programme has two blogs!