REASON TO WATCH: The latest in the line of real-life medical dramas produced by ABC News and Terence Wrong.
WHEN/WHERE: Premieres Thursday night at 10 on ABC/7
THE SERIES "Boston Med"
WHAT IT'S ABOUT ABC News producer Wrong and his hugely industrious team collected thousands of hours of footage from Boston's Massachusetts General, Children's Hospital and Brigham & Women's Hospital and culled it into eight one-hour episodes that will air through mid-August.
You'll meet residents, interns, surgeons, nurses and those they treat or save. The stories are often dramatic, and so is this memorable cast of characters. They include: Pina Patel, completing her residency at Mass General; Daniel "DiBar" DiBardino, a cardiothoracic resident; Jon Daniel, chief resident at Brigham; William Curry, whom everyone kids looks like President Obama; and ER nurse Amanda Grabowski, who jokes, "There's no McDreamy or McSteamy here, but there is McDumb and McDud."
Tonight's episode is largely about Philip Hurton, a 32-year Framingham police officer and Iraq War vet who was shot in the jaw April 14, 2009, by someone who had just tried to rob a taxi driver.
MY SAY Much of the attention "Boston Med" has received so far is of the manna-from-heaven variety. Joseph Helfgot, the well-known movie market research expert, had come to Boston in 2009 for a heart transplant but died after complications. Instead of receiving, Helfgot gave - in this case, the lower half of his face to a Vietnam vet, Jim Maki, who had fallen on an electrified train rail. The transplant, only the second of its kind, was performed by Brigham's Bo Pomahac. You'll see this on the Aug. 12 episode, and it is remarkable television, indeed - but don't wait until then to watch "Boston Med."
Every hour - or each of the four I watched - offers something compelling, or dramatic, or inspirational. As with his earlier shows, "Hopkins 24/7" (2000) and "Hopkins" (2008), Wrong has structured these stories masterfully. Nothing seems wasted, nothing is superfluous. As a result, the hugely important work these people do is honored in every shot.
BOTTOM LINE The only tiny caveat is that while these are, indeed, great institutions, as average viewers we are left to wonder: What's so different about these hospitals versus ones in, say, New York? As I said, "tiny." Otherwise, this is a terrific series.