TV

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Filmmaker stands back to let dramatic stories tell themselves

  • Print

There's a lot to be said for just staying the hell out of the way.

It's this filmmaking strategy, and the carefully considered decision to let the compelling human stories tell themselves, that makes the ABC documentary series NY Med an exercise in brilliant simplicity.

NY Med, which premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC, is the latest deep-inside look at the world of hospitals and doctors by documentary producer Terence Wrong (Hopkins, Boston Med). And in this riveting eight-part summertime series, as in his previous work, Wrong make the right choice, which is actually a fairly rare occurrence in the realm of U.S. network "documentary" series that tend to favour over-production, contrived controversy, unnecessary commercial-break cliffhangers and overwrought, voice-of-doom narration.

NY Med opts to let the real, dramatic stories of real, everyday people speak for themselves, and the result is a stark, unflinching series that will resonate deeply for anyone who has experienced a medical crisis first-hand or helped a loved one navigate a journey through the health-care system.

The key to Wrong's effectiveness is access -- in producing NY Med, he and his team spent a full year following the doctors, nurses and support staff who work in several New York City hospitals. With the unprecedented access they were afforded, they would necessarily have recorded hundreds upon hundreds of individual stories and then faced the daunting task of editing thousands of hours of footage down into eight one-hour episodes.

Each of the instalments previewed is an emotional roller-coaster, mixing heavy real-life drama with moments of outright silliness, and highlighting mostly positive outcomes while recognizing the raw truth that many medical problems simply cannot be fixed.

Tuesday's opener features a young mother of two who has learned she has a malignant tumour deep inside her brain, and that surgeons' attempt to remove it involves a tricky bit of neurosurgery in which she will be wide awake so she can communicate with doctors to ensure they don't damage crucial areas of her brain.

There's also a man awaiting open-heart surgery; his physician, as it turns out, is Dr. Mehmet Oz, the world-famous TV personality who, in this context, is shown as a skilled cardiac surgeon doing the work he was clearly born to do.

(Later in the series, Oz finds himself on the other side of the doctor/patient equation, having decided to follow his own oft-repeated advice and submitting to the colonoscopy he has long been putting off. The results are quite revealing.)

Among all the dire, tense drama of NY Med's first hour, there's also a case involving a man whose use of a popular erectile-dysfunction drug has created a very painful lasting-more-than-four-hours stimulation that requires medical intervention, and a man treated for food poisoning who becomes smitten with one of the nurses and returns, weeks later, with a flower-enhanced date request.

Aside from a brief, introductory voice-over and a few well-chosen musical enhancements, NY Med is their stories, presented by a very smart filmmaker who had the good sense to stand back and let them do the telling.

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca

TV Review

NY Med

Produced by Terence Wrong; featuring Dr. Mehmet Oz

Tuesday at 9 p.m.

ABC

4 1/2 stars out of 5

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 7, 2012 G8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

OT Glenn January and RB Nic Grigsby disappointed in loss to Riders

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new Blue Bombers uniforms?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google