Review: ‘Vital Signs’

Vital Signs (Thurs. (27), 9-10 p.m., CBS) Filmed by Bonnie View Prods. in association with Buena Vista Television. Executive producer, Marley Klaus; supervising producer, Craig Piligian; senior producers, Jerilyn Goodman, Robin Russin; managing editor, Lee Schneider; director, Chris Bien; editors, Mark Baum , Kevin Dill, Phil Russman, Wally Schlom, Chris Simpson, Steve Vincent; production design, John Ivo Gilles; main theme, Jeff and Rob Pfiefer; underscore , Larry Brown, Sam Winans; casting, Owens Hill. Host: Robert Urich Cast: Matthew Arkin, Chris Johnston, Richard Barlow, Amy Hillman Slick but with a heart, well-done reality-based series "Vital Signs" skips the usual corniness of shows featuring re-enactments and digs into the humanity, skill and self-doubt of doctors and nurses, serving up a compelling hour of medical cliffhangers and their resolutions. Executive producer Marley Klaus, an eight-year producing vet of the venerable "60 Minutes," is the reason 'Signs" doesn't resemble "America's Most Wanted Heart Transplants." The "60 Minutes" influence is evident during host Robert Urich's set-ups: as he intros a piece, a scrim flashes the seg's title and producers, a la "60 Minutes," lending some hard news credibility. Show also lists some 11 MDs as advisers. One warning: "Signs" doesn't scrimp on presenting extremely graphic operating room scenes or equally graphic descriptions of procedures. Younger kids (note the show's 9-10 p.m. timeslot) or the squeamish in general be warned. Show's structure --- billed as an anthology series --- involves four segs limning medical emergencies and mysteries, mirroring a newsmag format. Each segment gets the bulk of its narrative thrust from the articulate observations and remembrances of the actual doctors and patients involved. Re-enactments --- thankfully held to a minimum, used effectively to add heft to the story --- are photographed using jumps cuts and hand-held shots, edited to build tension. Constructed like little medical whodunits, the segs' drama relies on resolving a medical emergency; the principals involved are sympathetic and the doctors humble. "Vital Signs" has a chance to deify doctors, but let's hope the producers stick with upholding the down-to-earth humanity of these professionals, who do get to play God but don't take advantage of it. --- Carole Horst

Vital Signs (Thurs. (27), 9-10 p.m., CBS) Filmed by Bonnie View Prods. in association with Buena Vista Television. Executive producer, Marley Klaus; supervising producer, Craig Piligian; senior producers, Jerilyn Goodman, Robin Russin; managing editor, Lee Schneider; director, Chris Bien; editors, Mark Baum , Kevin Dill, Phil Russman, Wally Schlom, Chris Simpson, Steve Vincent; production design, John Ivo Gilles; main theme, Jeff and Rob Pfiefer; underscore , Larry Brown, Sam Winans; casting, Owens Hill. Host: Robert Urich Cast: Matthew Arkin, Chris Johnston, Richard Barlow, Amy Hillman Slick but with a heart, well-done reality-based series “Vital Signs” skips the usual corniness of shows featuring re-enactments and digs into the humanity, skill and self-doubt of doctors and nurses, serving up a compelling hour of medical cliffhangers and their resolutions. Executive producer Marley Klaus, an eight-year producing vet of the venerable “60 Minutes,” is the reason ‘Signs” doesn’t resemble “America’s Most Wanted Heart Transplants.” The “60 Minutes” influence is evident during host Robert Urich’s set-ups: as he intros a piece, a scrim flashes the seg’s title and producers, a la “60 Minutes,” lending some hard news credibility. Show also lists some 11 MDs as advisers. One warning: “Signs” doesn’t scrimp on presenting extremely graphic operating room scenes or equally graphic descriptions of procedures. Younger kids (note the show’s 9-10 p.m. timeslot) or the squeamish in general be warned. Show’s structure — billed as an anthology series — involves four segs limning medical emergencies and mysteries, mirroring a newsmag format. Each segment gets the bulk of its narrative thrust from the articulate observations and remembrances of the actual doctors and patients involved. Re-enactments — thankfully held to a minimum, used effectively to add heft to the story — are photographed using jumps cuts and hand-held shots, edited to build tension. Constructed like little medical whodunits, the segs’ drama relies on resolving a medical emergency; the principals involved are sympathetic and the doctors humble. “Vital Signs” has a chance to deify doctors, but let’s hope the producers stick with upholding the down-to-earth humanity of these professionals, who do get to play God but don’t take advantage of it. — Carole Horst

Vital Signs

Thurs. (27), 9-10 p.m., CBS

Production

Filmed by Bonnie View Prods. in association with Buena Vista Television. Executive producer, Marley Klaus; supervising producer, Craig Piligian; senior producers, Jerilyn Goodman, Robin Russin; managing editor, Lee Schneider; director, Chris Bien; editors, Mark Baum, Kevin Dill, Phil Russman, Wally Schlom, Chris Simpson, Steve Vincent.

Cast

Host: Robert Urich Cast: Matthew Arkin, Chris Johnston, Richard Barlow, Amy Hillman
Production design, John Ivo Gilles; main theme, Jeff and Rob Pfiefer; underscore, Larry Brown, Sam Winans; casting, Owens Hill.
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