Combat Hospital is a Canadian medical drama television series, filmed in Toronto, that debuted on Global in Canada on June 21, 2011. In the United States, it aired on ABC. Its final episode was broadcast on September 6, 2011. The series was known for a time by the working title The Hot Zone before reverting to the original title, Combat Hospital.
Intertitle from the pilot
|Also known as||The Hot Zone|
|Created by||Jinder Oujla-Chalmers|
Daniel Petrie, Jr.
|Starring||Deborah Kara Unger|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Daniel Petrie Jr.|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Artists Studio|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Audio format||Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||June 21 –|
September 6, 2011
ABC announced on October 24, 2011 that it would not be renewing Combat Hospital for a second season. On December 16, 2011, Shaw Media confirmed that Combat Hospital would not be renewed for another season due to their inability to find a new broadcast partner after ABC opted not to continue with the series earlier that fall.
Set in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2006, the series revolves around the life and work of doctors and nurses from the International Security Assistance Force, specifically from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and other allied countries at a military hospital.
- Michelle Borth as Canadian Forces Medical Officer, Major Rebecca Gordon, Canadian Army
- Elias Koteas as Canadian Forces Medical Officer, Commanding Officer Colonel Xavier Marks, Canadian Army (based on Major Marc Dauphin)
- Terry Chen as United States Army Captain (Doctor) Bobby Trang, trauma team leader
- Arnold Pinnock as Canadian Forces Nursing Officer, Chief of Nursing, Commander Will Royal, Royal Canadian Navy
- Deborah Kara Unger as Australian Army psychiatrist, Major Grace Pedersen
- Luke Mably as British contract neurosurgeon, Doctor Simon Hill
- Ali Kazmi as Chaplain David Nedayal
- Ellen Wong as Canadian Forces Nursing Officer, Major Suzy Chao, Canadian Army
- Hamza Jeetooa as Vans, Afghan translator
- Gord Rand as Canadian Forces Medical Technician, Regimental Sergeant-Major, Chief Warrant Officer Graham Kelly, Canadian Army
- Karan Oberoi as United States Air Force Pararescue Jumper, Talwar Mehra
- Dwain Murphy as United States Air Force Pararescue Jumper, Terrel Ford
- Husein Madhavji as United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Max Prakash, Orthopedic Surgeon
- Adam Beach as Snake Eater/Joe
- Trenna Keating as Sgt. Hannah Corday
- Sam Kalilieh as Dr. Tarzi
Jinder Oujla-Chalmers came up with the concept for Combat Hospital in 2008 and, together with Douglas Steinberg, pitched the show to Canwest (now Shaw Media). After the show was picked up for development, Oujla-Chalmers travelled to Afghanistan to conduct first-hand research at a small, forward-deployed military hospital. Oujla-Chalmers was able to use real images taken during the visit and stories heard from medical personnel to add realism to the show. Oujla-Chalmers and Steinberg brought the show to Sienna Films, who agreed to produce it and set up funding as a Canadian-British co-production with Artists Studio and Lookout Point in the UK.
Canwest announced on July 9, 2010 that Combat Hospital was slated for production in the 2011–12 season. The budget for the first season was reported to be $2 million per episode. During pre-production, Morocco was considered as a location for filming the series. Production on the series began in March 2011. The series was filmed at the former Consumers Glass factory in Etobicoke, Ontario. The property had been converted into a 17,187 square metre indoor/outdoor set that recreated portions of the NATO Role 3 Hospital at Kandahar Airfield, as well as its surroundings. Filming was scheduled to continue until July 27, 2011. Post-production work was done in London. The first season has 13 episodes.
Combat Hospital was broadcast in Canada on Global. Throughout its initial broadcast the series was consistently performing better than CTV's Flashpoint and Global's Rookie Blue, it was often the most watched scripted programme of the week in Canada. While only the twelfth episode was shown in the U.S. on August 30 both the eleventh and twelfth episodes were shown in Canada. In September 2011, Shaw Media began repeating the series on both Showcase and Showcase Diva.
On December 16, while filming the New Year's Day special of Royal Canadian Air Farce, cast member Arnold Pinnock confirmed that Shaw Media had cancelled Combat Hospital as they were faced with the inability to find another broadcast partner to offset the expenses of the show.
In early January 2011 ABC was in talks to purchase broadcast rights to the then-untitled project. Later, on January 20, 2011, it was reported that ABC had indeed purchased broadcast rights to the project. On March 25, 2011 Shaw Media announced that the series would be simulcast in the United States by ABC. On August 24, 2011 ABC announced that they were skipping the eleventh episode of season 1 and moving the season finale date by one week, from September 13, 2011 to September 6, 2011. ABC announced on October 24, 2011 that they would not be commissioning a second season of Combat Hospital.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Canadian viewers|
|1||"Welcome to Kandahar"||Iain B. MacDonald||Story by : Jinder Oujla-Chalmers & Douglas Steinberg and Daniel Petrie, Jr. |
Teleplay by : Daniel Petrie, Jr.
|21 June 2011||1.963|
|Canadian trauma surgeon Major Rebecca Gordon and American trauma team leader Captain Robert 'Bobby' Trang arrive at the NATO Role 3 Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield.|
|2||"Enemy Within"||Iain B. MacDonald||Gub Neal||28 June 2011||1.550|
|Dr Gordon and Captain Trang treat an Afghan National Army soldier for a serious infection that neither of them has encountered before. When another patient presents with the same symptoms a quarantine is declared.|
|3||"It's My Party"||Christopher Menaul||Sara B. Cooper||5 July 2011||1.525|
|With the blood supply depleted Colonel Marks calls for direct donors as Dr Gordon operates on a soldier with severe gunshot wounds. Major Pedersen inquires about the circumstances of the shooting and the wounded soldier's friends' stories are inconsistent. Photojournalist Jessica Draycott (Tia Carrere) rekindles her romance with Simon.|
|4||"Wrong Place at the Right Time"||Christopher Menaul||Angus Fraser||12 July 2011||1.481|
|Simon hitches a ride on a Medevac on a routine supply run when he finds out that it passes over the farm he has bought. However, they must stop and rescue a wounded person. Meanwhile, Rebecca must conduct a brain surgery following Simon's directions via satellite phone. Bobby and Major Pedersen evaluate the mental condition of an Air Force officer.|
|5||"Hells Bells"||Stephen Reynolds||Adam Pettle||19 July 2011||1.513|
|A civilian wedding party is caught in Taliban crossfire and treated at Role 3; Marks gets a troubling call from home and discusses it with Pedersen; and Rebecca and Bobby sit in on Pedersen's group-therapy session, and Rebecca wonders if she shared too much.|
|6||"Inner Truth"||Stephen Reynolds||Sara B. Cooper||26 July 2011||1.576|
|Seven injured soldiers anxiously anticipate the arrival of their lucky charm, 19-year-old Pvt. Henry Flax; Rebecca makes a confession to Simon. A female soldier (Christina Cox) and patient of Dr. Pedersen approaches her romantically.|
|7||"Reckless"||Christopher Menaul||Annmarie Morais||2 August 2011||1.409|
|Under intense investigation, Rebecca doubts her decision to withhold treatment from a soldier, which may have resulted in his death.|
|8||"On the Brink"||Christopher Menaul||Simon Block||9 August 2011||1.304|
|Bobby makes a decision that creates controversy between the doctors and nurses.|
|9||"Shifting Sands"||Helen Shaver||Angus Fraser||16 August 2011||1.375|
|One of Vans' friends comes under suspicion when he is injured by a bomb.|
|10||"Reason to Believe"||Helen Shaver||Story by : Jinder Oujla-Chalmers |
Teleplay by : Lara Azzopardi & Will Pascoe
|23 August 2011||1.240|
|An Army chaplain (Camille Sullivan) is forced to deal with her lapse of faith when she is ordered to hold vigil with Simon during a surgery.|
|11||"Brothers in Arms"||Paul Unwin||Sara B. Cooper||30 August 2011||1.210|
|A prank gone wrong reveals Simon's painful past; Pedersen must question children about a suicide bomber.|
|12||"Triage"||Paul Unwin||Gub Neal||30 August 2011||1.548|
|When Colonel Marks gets injured in an explosion away from the base, Rebecca takes control of triage and struggles to make a life-threatening decision that could affect the status of a critically injured soldier.|
|13||"Do No Harm"||Ken Girotti||Daniel Petrie, Jr.||6 September 2011||1.325|
|While working at a women's clinic, Captain Pam Everwood, Grace, Rebecca, Suzy, and Major Hasti Samizay are attacked by an unknown gunman. Suzy is killed and Grace injured, forcing her to go back home. Simon decides to go back to take care of his brother. Rebecca reveals to Trang that she kissed Simon. He says that things should not be left unsaid which forces Rebecca to go to the airport to meet Simon. They kiss and she tells him to come back soon.|
Overall, the series received mixed to negative reviews. John Doyle of The Globe and Mail said that the show is neither the new M*A*S*H for its lack of "snarky chat about the stupidity of war and governments that encourage war" nor is it Grey's Anatomy-on-the-front-lines as there are no "lurid romantic entanglements". Doyle goes on to say, "It's the horrors of war and the awfulness of a combat hospital seen emphatically through the prism of TV drama." In concluding his review Doyle said, "In the matter of Afghanistan and military life there, if you want a gruelling experience, watch the news. Combat Hospital is the entertaining version."
Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe found the show "is completely divorced from anything resembling real life." He said the premise is "exciting and, to some extent, incendiary" but that with "amateurish acting and paint-by-numbers writing" Combat Hospital and Rookie Blue "are summer filler of the laziest kind."
David Wiegard of the San Francisco Chronicle found Combat Hospital "makes a pretty compelling attempt" at portraying "the bloody reality of war" while also having all of the typical characters of a medical drama.
Mill Creek Entertainment announced the re-released of the series on DVD.
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