Friday, May 12, 2006

The appeal of docs

In The Times Stephen Armstrong examines the enduring appeal of medical dramas.
The debuts of Grey’s [Anatomy] and Vital Signs mean there are now 14 medically related shows on air at the moment — if you include M*A*S*H reruns on cable. The curative couple join Casualty, ER, House, Bodies, Nip/Tuck, Holby City, Kingdom Hospital, No Angels and Silent Witness, as well as the comedies Green Wing and Scrubs, in supplying us with white coats and hormones to an astonishing level. It’s currently possible to absorb almost 24 hours of doctor-related telly in your average viewing week. Why? Of course, in dramatic terms, the advantage of a medical setting is clear. “It’s far easier for people to relate to the human- interest element in a medical drama than in a legal drama simply because they come across them every day,” says John Forte, the creator of Vital Signs. “I wanted to tell a family story, but the medical world was an immensely useful vehicle for Rhoda. It made the emotions attached to her work life far more intense.”

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