Dramatic television programming is a genre tackled often nowadays, with a variety of procedurals, crime dramas, and teen dramas taking up the prime time slots. With that said, medical dramas have certainly made their impact over the many years. Now, hoping to join its many predecessors is Remedy, Global’s latest television addition.
Medicine is a niche subject, appealing to those who appreciate the detailed and disciplined nature of the profession. Trying to make the underlying subject matter appealing for general audiences is certainly difficult, but not impossible. NBC’s ER proved that with its fifteen seasons and many awards. Remedy, however, takes the subject matter in a rather different direction. The show places a giant magnifying glass on the medical field, highlighting the key pieces that make the entire ship sail, and then carefully showcasing how these pieces interact with one another. One is presented with the hierarchy of the field through the eyes of a single family, all working under the same roof. What results is a very personal look at a hospital environment and the people involved.
Remedy is composed of a variety of ingredients: refreshing characters, unique perspectives, local references, etc. When you throw all of these together, you get an experience that you don’t quite expect. Traditionally, medical activities are limited to the obvious: operating room, blood spatter, doctors running around in a mighty hurry and so forth. These are further over-done when medical activities are seen within crime dramas and procedurals. Even focused medical dramas, like ER, spent much time on such medical activities. Remedy is rather different, as it focuses on the hospital as a whole, looking not only at the hospital gurus at the top, but the lower level administration as well. The viewer gets to meet the doctors and the various medical procedures they perform, but also the clean-up crew that has to deal with the mundane day-to-day tasks. This focus provides a macro look at the hospital environment, how different departments interact with one another, and how hierarchy creates tension between individuals.
Refreshing characters come in their plenty in Remedy. The Conner family, for example, is structured in such a way that visualizes the hierarchy within the system. On top you have the veteran father, Dr. Allen (Enrico Colantoni). By his side are his daughters, Dr. Melissa (Sara Canning) and nurse Sandy (Sarah Allen), two very different characters. Then comes Griffin (Dillon Casey), the incomplete piece of family, returning to the field at the lowest level possible. The family becomes the focal point of the story, giving audiences an opportunity to understand the inner workings of a hospital through the interactions these individuals have. The cast that portrays the members of the family, especially Dillon Casey, create depth in their characters but leave room for growth, giving us the impression that there is more to these characters than we are presented with initially, and allowing the storyline multiple options down the road. The show is not a character study, but it certainly is the case when it comes to the Conner family, allowing us to really understand them and their internal struggles. Other cast members such as Genelle Williams and Matt Ward become necessary catalysts within the show, as key individuals that add to the growth of the Conner family.
Simply having great characters and a refreshing new perspective is not enough to make a successful show. The most important elements in any production are cast chemistry and story flow, both found in Remedy. The interactions between the Conner family are simple and genuine, not falling into the trap of over-dramatic dialogue and moments. The tension between different staff levels at the hospital can clearly be noted, further reinforcing the divide that exists, and the overall story matches the kind of scenarios one would expect within a hospital. There are moments of adrenaline and panic, mixed together with medical staff interactions, and core hospital staff chatting with visitors and patients. The show makes one feel like they are in a hospital environment, but then reminds us that we are following the story of this family and their place within the hospital. It defines the story clearly and then lets the audience absorb the information.
Remedy is a medical drama that explores more than just the world of medicine. It aims to build a clear model of the medical field, the people – high and low – involved within it, and a wider definition for the term “cure.” It takes a typical medical family and creates a not-so-typical storyline, showing how time, circumstances, and opinions can change the way we think and interact with one another. Remedy is a program that everyone will enjoy – even if one is not a medicine enthusiast – because it creates a set of interesting characters that one wants to learn more about. I can’t wait to see where the story will go and how the characters will evolve in the process.