Fool Me Once. . .

Did anyone else see the story that came across EMS1 yesterday about Dennis Leary producing a pilot for an EMS show?  After what I’ve seen him do with Rescue Me, I must say, I am excited, but I’m also reserved.  I’ve been burned one too many times. Maybe its because we compare every show that comes out to Emergency! or maybe its because we compare them to our everyday experiences.  Regardless, there are some bad ones that have been out there.

Need I list the complete failures of EMS shows that I’ve seen in my time?

Let’s face it. . . It’d be a short blog post if I didn’t.

Rescue 77 — This one came out in 1999.  I was a few years into my EMS career, and excited to watch something a little more modern that Emergency! which was a show that I loved.  Well, I couldn’t be more disappointed.  This was filled with unrealistic scenarios, people doing handstands on patients so they didn’t have to defibrillate someone in water, and a doctor reducing a patient’s intercranial pressure in the field with a Black & Decker drill after being begged to “think like a medic!”  It’s a shame the producers couldn’t do the same thing.  This one was dead after 8 episodes.

Third Watch — This was a favorite of a lot of people, and I will probably take some flack for mentioning it, but boy this show just didn’t do it for me.  It was too much adrenaline, and went a bit too far at times.  From the EMS side, there really weren’t any likeable characters for me either.

Trauma — Um Hello?  Do I really need to say anything about this one?  There are really only two cool things this show gave us: The term Captain Versed, and the Halloween costume associated with it created by Ms. Paramedic.

"Do you know who I am?"

“Do you know who I am?”

Paramedics — Okay, so it was a reality series.  Great, right?  Sure.  It had a lot of redeeming qualities, but it failed me due to poor editing.  Treatments were out of sequence, and to anyone who had a trained eye, it was easy to notice.

Saved — This one was the best of the bunch.  Tom Everett Scott played a paramedic with a gambling problem who had failed his parents by becoming a paramedic instead of something they felt would be more successful.  He had problems at home, and plenty of demons that always seemed to pop up.  To me, it was actually a strong show.  The patient care didn’t seem to be over the top, and the character study of someone who struggled with his own demons but was great at fixing other people’s problems is a quality that I have encountered more times than I’d like to admit in my years in the field.

This one made it through an entire season, and I hoped it was going to come back for a second, but sadly, it didn’t.  My one complaint was the lead character’s appearance.  Put on a uniform shirt, man!

Mr. Leary, do me a favor and watch every episode of every show I’ve listed above.  Learn what not to do.  Then, when you’re ready to see some great EMS content, look no further than the First Responders Network.

In fact, I can think of a couple of paramedics who would be happy to be on set consultants if you needed them!
Photo Credit – Thaddeus Setla


  1. HAHAH! Brilliant! I will continue to wear that costume until it either no longer fits or I die.

    Also- I liked 3rd Watch. Then again, I agree about the non likeable EMS characters. I slightly liked Joey and they killed him off. *sigh*

  2. ServinUpStupid /

    Why is this not @MsParamedic’s twitter pic? Freaking. Awesome.

  3. Scott, you hit my list dead on. Third Watch never did it for me; it always seemed like a cop drama with an EMS sideshow.

    I was not a paramedic when Paramedics aired, so I didn’t notice the treatment sequences. What I did notice and hate was the constant attempt to manufacture/increase dramatic effect through breathless narration and choppy editing.

    Agreed on Saved. There was potential there, but it never got a chance. I’m sure I’ll piss people off by saying this, but Trauma was starting to get better by the end. If they hadn’t already lost the audience, they might have pulled it out.

  4. Packmaker /

    Any idea where I can find the clip of the “medic” doing a handstand to shock a patient? I’ve got to have that clip!!


  1. Nightwatch: A Review - EMS in the New Decade - […] us in the field have viewed attempt after attempt with high hopes only to walk away disappointed.  Trauma.  Rescue…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *