Body Trauma TV: The New Hospital Dramas
British Film Institute
, Aug 18, 2003
- 160 pages
Hospital dramas like ER, Casualty, Chicago Hope, and Gideon's Crossing became extremely popular over the past decade. This book explores the stylistic, aesthetic, and thematic impact of this successful genre. It argues that new medical dramas offer a very different visual and affective landscape from their predecessors, often seeking to disturb rather than reassure their audiences. Such dramas are visually mobile, speedy, and explicit in their depiction of body trauma: injury and illness are showcased as part of the televisual style. The medical professional is now frequently depicted as a modern day existentialist, forced to confront insipid new management cultures, ethical labyrinths, and noxious patients that invade the white purity of the medical ward and emergency room. The book traces the historical development of new medical drama and explores the implications of, and anxieties within, their depiction of modern healthcare. Finally, the book argues that there are parallels between the cultural fascination with the body as either sick or perfected and the attractions of a genre that seems to revel in the juxtaposition of morbidity and glamor.