A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this medical drama -- which focuses on a team of paramedics -- blends intense life-and-death drama with the characters' emotional conflict as they deal with the personal aftermath of their extremely stressful jobs. There are harrowing accidents in every episode, but relatively few gory images, all things considered (though some bloody victims are shown). Some characters drink to blow off steam after their shifts.
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What's the story?
It’s stressful being a paramedic, dealing with life-and-death situations almost every day and then trying to avoid bringing all that anxiety and tension back home. TRAUMA focuses on the San Francisco emergency workers who are on call to handle the car crashes, explosions, accidental electrocutions, and other accidents that can happen without warning. The team is also struggling to deal with the aftermath of a terrible mid-air collision that claimed the lives of several of their comrades a year earlier in the worst rescue disaster in the city’s history. The series follows the team to each incident and then shows how each character tries to deal with the complicated emotions that build up with each life saved ... or lost.
Is it any good?
Having intense emotional reactions to a life filled with harrowing incidents is understandable, but the characters' responses are somewhat clichéd. Family man Cameron (Derek Luke) develops a problem with fidelity because he can’t bring the stress back to his wife and kids. Maverick chopper pilot Rabbit (Cliff Curtis), who survived the mid-air disaster, now thinks he’s indestructible and likes to drive down San Francisco’s notoriously steep hills at high speed. And Nancy (Anastasia Griffith), whose boyfriend was killed in the crash, now becomes emotionally invested in every patient she works with. We’ve seen all this before.
A bigger issue is tone. Trauma can’t seem to decide whether it’s a high-stakes drama or a lighthearted look at emergency workers. Sometimes the characters seem to be sweating bullets to save a patient, while other times they trade witty quips across the bloody body of a critically injured patient or casually saunter down the highway to help the victims of a multi-vehicle car crash. A little urgency would be appropriate here; it might make the show more interesting to viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the amount of violence/trauma in this show compares to that in other medical/crime dramas. Do shows like this need to be gory to seem realistic?
How do the show's characters deal with the constant stress of their job? Do these seem like realistic responses? How do doctors and emergency workers on other TV shows respond to similar situations? What about people in the real world?
Do accidents like the ones in the show really happen this frequently? Or do you think the series needs to include so many potentially deadly incidents to create drama?
For kids who love dramas
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