Friday, January 05, 2007

TV Bonanza

5 days into my study leave, and finding it tough to resist temptation. :)

1) ER Re-runs!!!

Yes, believe it! Just started airing on 1st Jan 2007, all the way from the Season 1 pilot! Hallmark Channel 17, 8pm, DAILY.

Do I sound excited? :D

If you're wondering whether I became an ER physician because of this show, then you may be disappointed to learn that the answer is a big "No". I was dead set on O&G ( started from my JC days, but don't ask me why ), then made a big U-turn after discovering a massive distaste for amniotic fluid, placentas and PV exams. That, plus all the screaming ( and sometimes neurotic ) mothers, and a couple of ( this is true ) near-syncopal episodes when the smell and yelling became too potent for my usually strong stomach.

Oh yeah, and nothing quite beats seeing a straining mom defecate during childbirth. Natural, of course, but not something I want to see for the rest of my life. I'll stick to the glam versions on TV / the big screen / in my personal Fantasyland, thank you very much.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I was a faithful follower of ER back in my early med school days, though I understood little of the jargon and even less about the complex medical procedures and ACLS / ATLS protocols demonstrated.

Was thinking of renting the entire DVD set after my exam, but thanks to cable, I'm going to save a bundle, heh heh.

Watching it again 12 years later brings back great memories, but more importantly, also illustrates why the series won 22 Emmy Awards and stayed at the top of the TV ratings for eons before being toppled by CSI a few years ago.

The writing is excellent, the actors well-cast, and the resus simulations absolutely the best I've seen EVER. Armed with knowledge and skills from 7 years of clinical practice, I scrutinized the code scenes closely and could find no mistake. Not one! They defib only when its VF or pulseless VT, NOT during asystole or PEA! BRAVO, guys, BRAVO! :)

The only gripe I have thus far is how John Carter -- here a mere M3 -- gets tasked with breaking bad news to a dead boy's family. I don't know if this happens in the US, but it definitely doesn't occur here. Seemed a tad irresponsible on Peter Benton's part, no? But I suppose it does wonders for audience empathy and water cooler conversations.

Don't miss any more of this!

2) Kidnapped

Just aired the pilot on Tuesday, and although I think it's pretty good, it seems the network decided to pull the plug after what, 13 or 14 episodes?

I'm gonna stick with it anyway, mostly because I like Jeremy Sisto ( the dude who did such a fantastic job playing a sexy, albeit manic-depressive, dude on Six Feet Under ). Here, he's a bounty hunter-type character who shoots to kill without hesitation.

Script's intelligent and pacing tense. Tune in if you're interested. AXN Channel 19 at 10pm every Tuesday.

3) 3 Lbs

Starts Jan 15 -- Hallmark Channel 17 at 9pm.

Neurosurgeons take centrestage this time, with the ever-reliable Stanley Tucci in the lead role. You can expect some fireworks from this guy who's done everything from A Midsummer Night's Dream to Maid In Manhattan to Shall We Dance and most recently, The Devil Wears Prada ).

Sadly, I read on the Web that it's been put on indefinite hiatus after just 3 episodes. THREE! Apparently, weekly viewership was considered pathetic by conventional standards ( 8 million compared to the ideal 20 or 30 mill ). Fans are angry, and I'd love to find out why.

Give it a go and tell me what you think.

4) Heroes

Now this is a hot one. Read the site for more details. Due soon on cable's Starworld Channel 18.

5) Law & Order Re-runs

Boy, I'm really looking forward to this!

It's the orginal -- there're spinoffs for L&O: Criminal Intent and L&O: Special Victims Unit ( and I met an American doctor who consults on the shows from time to time, which was cool :)) -- and without a doubt my favourite of the 3. These are old episodes when Jerry Orbach was still alive ( he plays the craggy detective ) but I've always enjoyed the show because of one and only one fellow -- no, not Benjamin Bratt ( pfffft ), but Sam Waterston, who brings great passion and integrity to his prosecutor role.

I used to watch this religiously back in secondary school and JC. Extremely educational ( stories are based on actual cases ), but also one of the most objective and fair in terms of character and plot development.

Hallmark Channel 17 at 9pm every Tuesday, starting Jan 16.

6) Wire In The Blood

Have this recorded on tape, so a proper review will follow ( but not sure when ).

If you're a serial killer buff like me, you should enjoy this series. Be warned, however, that it's British. I.e. a bit slow, a bit dry, less flash.

My mom thinks it's quite good though. Lots of gore, apparently. Yay -- just kidding.

Hallmark Channel 17, Thursdays at 10pm.

7) American Idol 7

After Taylor Hicks' dazzling win and the best Top 10 contestants in AI history back in 2006, standards have been redefined and man, is the pressure cooker turned on full blast.

I'm just wondering why Taylor's album hasn't reached our shores a month after its US release. At this rate, I may have to resort to ordering through Amazon again. Hello? Arista Records distributor? Are you awake?

Being -- and Feeling -- Human

Everyone knows we see a lot -- sometimes too much -- in the ER. So it's no surprise that we do become numb after a while. Bloody RTA? Go through the motions of ATLS. 2 guys chopped each other with parangs the other night -- call the trauma team, do a FAST, send for CT, etc. Old lady with non-specific symptoms collapsed just as my MO was prepping for an ABG -- ACLS kicks into gear like a spinal reflex. ( We actually brought her back, woohoo! )

So it was rather unusual when I got a bad case of insomnia Christmas night / Boxing Day morning, after my MO and I attended to a horribly tragic case during our evening shift.

Some details were revealed in a recent Forum letter and follow-up article in the Straits Times -- about a Hainan opera performance at the Esplanade, a bad fall down a dark staircase, fatal head trauma.

She arrived in critical condition: GCS 3, pupils fixed and dilated, features of a severe base of skull fracture. Paramedics provided a short history, so after intubating and arranging an urgent CT, I left resus to speak to her family and friends.

The circumstances of her fall became clear during our conversation, and I certainly shared their pain. A large group of close friends and her sister were present at the same concert, and tears flowed unabated when I explained how dire the situation was.

Maybe the date itself played a significant role. Or perhaps it was her pre-morbid state -- a healthy 55, retired not too long ago, lots of good friends and close relatives, ready to enjoy the rest of her life -- which drove home the fact that life is indeed fragile and unpredictable.

But there was another detail -- about trying to give the ticket away, about the slimmest possibility that she might not have been there that night...

Fate can be cruel sometimes.

No comments: