Channel Canada takes a look at Combat Hospital, a new summer series airing on Global and ABC starting tuesday, june 21st @ 10pm ET. This is the second collaborative project between ABC and Global, the first one being Rookie Blue. check out series info, cast bio, production notes and our review of this new series.
About the show
Combat Hospital is a fictional medical series with characters set in a real place and time – the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in war-torn Southern Afghansitan in 2006.
“It’s a medical procedural which is a genre that people are accustomed to and understand, but taking place in a war zone. It is fertile ground because it poses so many questions about being human, war and about our relationship as western countries to that part of the world,” says executive producer, Jennifer Kawaja.
The Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit is the only military hospital providing advanced surgical care in all of Southern Afghanistan. It serves wounded and ill service men and women from all the forces fighting in that region, including those from NATO, the Afghan National Army the Afghan National Police, wounded enemy detainees, as well as civilians caught in the crossfire. The hospital and the staff also did their best with its limited resources to care for Afghan civilians in danger of losing life or limb from whatever cause, and provided mentorship and supplies to the local Afghan hospitals struggling to recover after years of Taliban rule.
“Enemies, allies or civilians, they are all treated in accordance with medical necessity. The more seriously injured, the sooner they are treated. You are a priority if they think they can save you,” says executive producer, Julia Sereny. Executive producer, showrunner and co-creator, Daniel Petrie Jr. adds, “There are inherent limitations of medical practice under these conditions. They are not in an environment where there are other hospitals nearby and they don’t have unlimited resources. These are heroic people and it is a privilege to be able to create a glimpse into their world.”
“The doctors, nurses and medics at a Role 3 hospital is a great subject because this is as close as one can get, in the modern age, to a noble, unequivocal, moral cause. They are just there to save lives,” states Emmy® Award-winning executive producer, Gub Neal.“First and foremost, the show is about universally true issues. About the power of human compassion and the willingness of a group of people to endure horrible working conditions to bring health care to soldiers on the front line, Afghan civilians and all the people, all the characters they are called upon to treat. It captures the spirit of what these dedicated men and women are able to do under appalling circumstances,” adds Petrie Jr.“Every artist who has come to this project has come to it with a real enthusiasm. It is not just another television series to us,” continues Petrie Jr. “We all feel a sense of indebtedness to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served at the real Role 3 hospital, and while we want to make a really entertaining show, we also want to be very true to that spirit.”
Development oo the serie
Co-creator Jinder Oujla-Chalmers (Ralph Klein – No Ordinary Man) came up with the original idea for Combat Hospital in 2008 and with cocreator Douglas Steinberg (Boston Public) went into development with Global Television. The network cautiously approved Oujla-Chalmers’ request to travel to Afghanistan for research. While in Kandahar, she had unprecedented access to observe life at the Role 3. “I was really astonished to see and understand what our coalition troops and the medical professionals do in Kandahar. I was horrified to see the war up close and shocked to witness the type of incidents and situations they encounter on a daily basis,” recalls Oujla-Chalmers.
Oujla-Chalmers and Steinberg took the project to Sienna Films (The Cry of the Owl, Diamonds, How She Move), headed by Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny, to produce. Sienna Films structured the series as a Canadian/U.K. co-production with U.K.’s Artists Studio’s Gub Neal, Patrick Irwin and Justin Thomson-Glover, and Lookout Point’s Simon Vaughan.
Academy Award®-nominated Daniel Petrie Jr. (The Big Easy, Beverly Hills Cop) was brought on as executive producer, showrunner and co-creator. “I was on my first conference call with the executive producers and they mentioned the real Role 3 hospital in Kandahar,” recalls Petrie Jr. “I looked it up online when we were on the phone and thought, this is a great premise. The Role 3 hospital as it existed in 2006 when the Canadians took over was a story that was really worth telling.”
In the fall of 2010, a writing room was assembled, headed by Petrie Jr. Four scripts were penned by Petrie Jr., Gub Neal, Sara B. Cooper and Angus Fraser.
In 2011, ABC came on board as the U.S. broadcaster and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) acquired all media rights in the series outside of North America. Sony Pictures Television (SPT) will distribute the series internationally.
Combat Hospital commenced principal photography on March 10, 2011. Filming of the series takes place in Toronto, Canada, and post production in London, U.K.
“In post we will use a combination of camera shots and visual effects that give you a very high vista, but there are also specific lines where we will be able to drop in horizon which will be mountains and rough landscape, which will be our Afghanistan,” according to executive producer Justin Thomson-Glover.
Channel Canada’s Review (by Randi Dertzo)
For the most part, I enjoyed watching Combat Hospital’s pilot. I liked the way the two new Docs were introduced. The were both looking for their destination and came in together in the hospital only to be told to stop standing there and mop off the floor even after they told the staff they were in fact doctors. Light humor like this is put aside as their reall first assignment come in where one of them freeze at a critical moment which compels the other to intervene even though their’s not suppose to until they’re asked to.
Everything in this episode is to remind you you’re not in a big city hospital but on ennemy territory whether its the walls made of plywood, the jets patrolling aboe the base shing everything up while they fly-by every few minutes or by the regular incoming of injured soldiers and ennemies.
At one point, Major Gordon returns to her bunker and meet Major Grace Pederen who alsmot forces her to volunteer to a women’s clinic. This is probably the place most gossipping will go on whith female staff with their future adventures with Captain Trang, Will Royal, Colonel Marks or Dr Hill who has an obvious interest in the new female arrival.
While I enjoyed the first season of Rookie Blue, I hope to get to enjoy Combat Hospital through the summer.
Rating: There’s a great future for this show! (but only during the summer!)