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ABC’s ‘NY Med’ Adds Showbiz Touch to Surgery

There’s not a whole lot new to be said about “NY Med,” the latest in a series of classy, cinema-verite hospital shows — including “Boston Med,” “Hopkins” and “Boston 24/7” — from ABC News and producer Terry Wrong.

Except as I noted in my latest column, this New York-set version of the formula (a venue previously explored in “NYPD 24/7”) has a bit NYMED_Dr%20Oz_premore showbiz flair, which feels like a concession — or perhaps a bit of a pander — to try attracting more viewers to a product superior in class and tone to the vast majority of primetime offerings from ABC News.

In this case, the show opens its eight-week run, starting July 10, with an episode featuring Mehmet Oz, the daytime talkshow host who remains a prominent world-class heart surgeon. Yet having a figure as recognizable as Oz participate is almost distracting, taking away from the formula of putting a face on the dedicated doctors and nurses who deal with crises — lacking such a profile — on a daily basis.

There’s also a lot of time spent with Marina Dedivanovic, a nurse who’s so attractive a patient actually comes back after he’s recovered from an emergency procedure and asks her out. I actually felt better about contemplating Dedivanovic’s looks when my wife walked through the room while I was previewing the show and said, “Geez, no mystery why they like her,” which is reinforced later when she’s shown vacationing in Miami, stripping down to a leopard-print bikini.

There’s still a lot of terrific stuff in these episodes, beginning — in the opening moments — with a guy who comes in because his Cialis-fueled erection has lasted for more than 12 hours. “I’d rather have open-heart surgery,” he groans, as they prepare to drain the engorged organ.

Later, one of the medical personnel undergoes a harrowing moment when a patient who is HIV and Hepatitis C positive projectile vomits into his eyes. And so it goes — people in situations a lay person (especially one who’s the least bit squeamish) can scarcely imagine.

Med2As I’ve stated before, at their best these productions capture all the drama (and occasional dark humor) of these jobs as depicted in scripted dramas, while evoking the real-world experience of old franchises like “The Body Human.”

To be fair, this is still firstrate storytelling, and I confess to holding Wrong’s work to a higher standard than most of the dreck broadcast news peddles in primetime by judging “NY Med” against what he’s done before.

Yet while there’s plenty here to recommended these hours, I guess I never entirely recovered from diluting what’s best about the show’s gritty realism by taking an unnecessary detour that begins, “The celebrity doctor will see you now.”

 

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