Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #155: Medical Dramas (TV Edition)

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This being the last week of the month, it's time for another edition, and the theme this month is medical dramas. This one is a toughie for me since I don't watch that much episodic television, but I was able to come up with three shows:

Quincy M.E. (1976-1983). Jack Klugman, fresh off playing opposite Tony Randall in The Odd Couple, plays the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, a fancy title for a coroner. Quincy (who only had one name) solved mysteries surrounding not only dead bodies, but overstepped his bounds to get into "public health" statism, a fact I never really paid attention to until the reruns showed up on one of the vintage subchannels that populate digital broadcast TV. It's humorous to watch the cops in the opening credits, however.

Trapper John, MD (1979-1986). The continuing adventures of MASH character Trapper John a quarter century after the Korean War, now played by Pernell Roberts and working in a big hospital in San Francisco with various other doctors and nurses. I didn't watch this one too often, mostly because it was on at 10:00 PM, past my bedtime, and didn't seem to show up in syndication anywhere near as much.

Emergency! (1972-1979). The adventures of the paramedics who shared quarters with the fire department in one station in Los Angeles. There's a fair amount of fire and car crashes, but a lot of medical emergencies. One thing I always noticed was that when a man had a heart attack, they'd take off his shirt to apply the defibrillator, but they never had women having heart attacks so the paramedics could take off the women's shirts and use the defibrillator. This one showed up a lot more in reruns.


Birgit said...

I loved Quincy and always watched it but I have to admit he often screwed up the crime scene. I also watched Trapper John because I love MASH and Bonanza. I wondered what happened to Pernell and then he was in this show. I'm also one who watched Emergency and enjoyed it even though I hated the theme song with the siren. I had no idea at the time that Julie London was an amazing singer and that she was married to Bobby Troup

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

I forgot about Quincy, that was a good show.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't heard of any of these but it's probably because I don't watch a lot of medical shows.

Wendell Ottley said...

As you know, we match on Quincy. Great show. I forgot about Trapper John. My mom used to watch that one. Never watched Emergency.

joel65913 said...

LOVE your choices! Quincy was a star vehicle for Jack Klugman but like Murder, She Wrote and Angela Lansbury he was magnetic enough to hold the viewer's interest even if the show was occasionally weak.

Emergency was a bit on the clunky side but engagingly played most of the time though I found it odd to see chanteuse Julie London as Nurse Dixie week after week. I'm guessing she did it for the chance to work with husband Bobby Troup-he was the weak link in the show, a terrible actor.

We have a roundabout sort of match with Trapper John M.D. and M*A*S*H. I was a regular viewer, loved Gregory Harrison and it was a kick when Lorna Luft became a regular.

I reached back as well for my three.

St. Elsewhere (1982-1988)-Set in Boston’s financially strapped St. Eligius Hospital (the St. Elsewhere of the title so called due to its less than exalted place in the city residents hearts despite it being a teaching hospital), headed by Drs. Donald Westphall, Daniel Auschlander and autocratic Mark Craig (Ed Flanders, Norman Lloyd and William Daniels respectively). The series follows the overlapping lives of many incoming residents, doctors and patients and their families, including something of a first for serial TV Westphall’s autistic son Tommy (Chad Allen). Critically acclaimed series that though never a big ratings success managed to run for six seasons as a prestige show for the network. This served as the launching pad for many stars including series regulars Denzel Washington, Alfre Woodard, Mark Harmon and Helen Hunt. Laced with an absurdist edge the show could be hysterically funny and also crushingly sad, sometimes within the same episode.

M*A*S*H (1972-1983)-Long running comedy/drama show based on Robert Altman’s film about life in a Mobil Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War featuring the travails, both funny and sad, of Dr. “Hawkeye” Pierce (Alan Alda), Head Nurse Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Loretta Swit)-both of whom stayed throughout the series run-and the various others surgeons & aides-Trapper John, B.J., Henry Blake, Colonel Potter, Radar O’Reilly, Charles Winchester, Frank Burns, the crossdressing Max Klinger and Father Mulcahy who passed through. Beginning as a light hearted comedy this morphed through the years into one of the finest dramedy series in history. What kept it vital aside from excellent writing was the flow of characters during the years allowing for fresh interactions and situations.

Medical Center (1971-1976)-Dr. Paul Lochner (James Daly-father of performers Tyne & Timothy) is the chief of staff at a large L.A. based hospital. Experienced and capable he is friendly with the young associate professor of surgery Dr. Joe Gannon (Chad Everett) but they often clash over medical procedures for the patients. Lochner favoring tried and true methods while Gannon believes in more experimental methods. Weekly different challenges present themselves to the doctors and nurses, overseen by Head Nurse Eve Wilcox (Audrey Totter).