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The Telefile
<I>Trauma</I>: If You Like Explosions, This Is the Show For You

This is not the worst show that NBC is debuting this fall (that honor goes to Mercy), and it isn't the best (that's Community) so instead it falls smack in the middle. It's not terrible, but it is more focused on explosions than anything, but if you are looking for an ER substitute, this one is probably a better bet than Mercy or CBS's Three Rivers.

It still isn't exactly a great show, and the characters aren't all that well developed, although the fact that show is so heavy on stunts and effects might have something to do with that. Seriously, from the helicopter crash at the beginning to the exploding tanker car crash on the highway, it's a visual feast for action junkies.

The gist is that a group of first-response paramedics run to the skyscraper rooftop where a electrician has been zapped with life-threatening voltage. But through a series of unforeseen events, the medical helicopter (with the patient and fellow paramedics) and a news 'copter crash, killing most involved.

The show picks up a year later when the remaining paramedics are still having trouble coping with the loss of their friends, save for one fellow, Rabbit (who was on the medical chopper), who is living fast and lose and feeling invincible. Their first big trauma of the day involves a multi-car accident (caused by some dude on his Blackberry) and an oil tanker, with a slew of patients for everyone to cope with in their own messed-up ways. Nancy (Anastasia Griffith) is still not over losing her boyfriend and focuses incessantly on a John Doe, and Boone (Derek Luke) takes the opportunity to flirt and show off his helicopter. You know, typical medical professional behavior. Then the hour winds down with Rabbit (Cliff Curtis) doing his best to freak out his new partner, Marisa (Aimee Garcia), and we're treated to visions of a severed finger, Boone going home to his wife and kids after spending the day being a lousy husband, and then there's the usual ill-advised hook-up between Rabbit and Nancy.

We didn't really get to fully explore the depths of some of these characters, but most of the actors are interesting. I always enjoy Curtis, Jamey Sheridan, Luke and Kevin Rankin. And while I haven't seen too much on Garcia's filmography, she definitely caught my attention in the premiere. My biggest complaint acting wise is Griffith. I just don't get her. She was out of her league on Damages and even here she seems underwhelming. I feel she brings the show down, especially since she seems to be the linchpin of this ensemble drama. She's pretty and cute, but I just don't know if she's got the acting chops to pull of this supposedly weighty role, along with the high-octane action sequences.

The other obstacle this show is going to face is its lackluster title. Go try and search for it on IMDb, or wherever. It's nearly impossible. Also, its clearly a show that should be on later than 9 PM at night, given the subject matter and the violence, but due to the Jay Leno-izing of NBC, there's just no space (my midseason fave Southland is also going to face this same dilemma). And a lead-in from Heroes in this day and age, isn't really going to do this show a lot of favors, either. Additionally, it's up against Gossip Girl, Dancing With the Stars, the surprisingly decent procedural Lie to Me and the CBS comedies. If it survives the season in its tough time spot, it will be even more of a miracle than Rabbit getting thrown out of that helicopter with only a few scars.

Did you watch Trauma? What did you think?

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