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A great-looking and action-packed but dopey Jerry Bruckheimer medical drama from screenwriter Dario Scardapane (whose prior claim to fame appears to be his status as the co-writer the 1993 Mario Van Peebles Afro-western “Posse”), “Trauma” follows emergency medical technicians as they tend to an ongoing series of highly cinematic mishaps – like a tanker-involved freeway pile-up set off by a sexting commuter. The most memorable presence is Jamie Bamber’s magnetic blonde sister Anastasia Griffith, best known until now as the hot sister on “Damages.” The most recognizable are Jamie Sheridan (“The Stand,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) as the ER chief and Cliff Curtis ("Training Day") as a chopper pilot. The action can be eye-popping, notably the teaser’s two-helicopter-and-a-building mishap high above downtown San Francisco, but the dialogue is third-rate and the characters are dull, clichéd and unlikable. USA Today says:
… Here's hoping you like loud noises and big explosions, because those are about the only things this medical drama has in its puny, if flashy, little head. … The latest amped-up plan, apparently, is to move so fast you won't notice the humorously tin-eared dialogue ("She's not trained! It's a lawsuit waiting to happen!"), but it may not be humanly possible for any show to go that quickly. …
The New York Times says:
… It’s entirely possible that these people and their problems will become more interesting as the series goes along, but you can’t tell from the pilot; at this point they’re still constructs more than real characters. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
If you can make it through the clunky dialogue, overwrought scene-setting and general predictability of "Trauma's" first episode, there are several important lessons to be learned: Don't wear your iPod while you're checking out a generator because then you won't be able to hear the guy asking if it's OK to throw the power back on. Don't text while driving, especially if the sexual nature of those texts causes you to leer and laugh with such wild abandon that you cause a 20-car pileup that involves multiple explosions. Most important, if you are going to have a "wild man" emergency helicopter pilot as one of your main characters, do not give him a nickname like Rabbit and force him to wear aviator shades and a skintight uniform. The last person to do this with any dignity was Erik Estrada in "CHiPs," and that was the '70s, man. …
The Washington Post says:
… Cynics might scoff that on "Trauma ," NBC's explosive new action series about a San Francisco medical-rescue team, the best acting is done by the helicopters. The whirlybirds get a very large amount of screen time in the hour-long drama that premieres Monday night. Considering the relative lowliness of the genre, however, the show looks to be encouragingly human and dramatically respectable just the same. And then, of course, there are the crashes, bangs, explosions, flips and loop-de-loops, all of them kinetically exciting and expertly choreographed. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… just a not-very-good medical series. … It's almost - but not quite - enough to be considered a post-work popcorn-type series where you check your brain on the side table and watch stuff blow up. Except that the relationships and dialogue will at some point make you scream, with or without your brain. That's the problem with medical dramas. Every over-turned car, every leaking tanker, every person who needs to have their heart jolted by those ubiquitous paddles - well, you've seen it. You've heard the cocksure banter from the in-the-line-of-fire medical teams. And you've seen how it haunts them as they take it home. Or how they escape all the pain by having sex with each other.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… "Trauma" benefits from some fine performances – [Cliff] Curtis, especially, plays his role with panache -- but to be redeemable or at least interesting, the characters need to reveal more complexities, stat. Without them, viewers may skip the drama of "Trauma."
The Newark Star Ledger says:
… The problem with "Trauma" is that it clearly wants to be a 21st century adrenaline machine, and the pilot isn’t all that exciting, even though it’s likely to be the most expensive and stunt-filled episode the series will do for a long time. If a helicopter crash, a multicar freeway pile-up, and a bunch of pretty fireballs aren’t enough to quicken the pulse, how sedate will the show feel on a more restrained weekly budget and schedule? …
The Boston Herald says:
… Despite the disasters in the first hour, there’s precious little excitement. If “Trauma” is going to thrive, it needs a script doctor, stat.
The Boston Globe says:
… “Trauma’’ may impress with its pyrotechnics, especially if you’re watching it on HDTV, but the personal dramas may not be original and engaging enough to keep you watching for more than an episode or two. …
Variety says:
… The big action pieces are reasonably impressive, but without stronger characters, that adrenaline boost won't be enough to keep the show off life support.…
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… a riveting, multilayered show about fallout; survival amidst the ruins -- a standout among the fall season's offerings. …
9 p.m. Monday. NBC.

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