A young medical student discovers that something sinister is going on in her hospital after routine procedures send more than a few seemingly healthy patients into comas on the operating tab... Read allA young medical student discovers that something sinister is going on in her hospital after routine procedures send more than a few seemingly healthy patients into comas on the operating table.A young medical student discovers that something sinister is going on in her hospital after routine procedures send more than a few seemingly healthy patients into comas on the operating table.
"Coma" is a two-part miniseries from A&E directed by Ridley Scott and starring Lauren Ambrose, Steven Pasquale, Richard Dreyfuss, James Woods, Joe Morton, Geena Davis, and Ellen Burstyn. Great cast, great director, bad script.
The original coma in 1978 starring Michael Douglas and Genevieve Bujold was more compelling. The story concerns a medical student (Ambrose) who discovers an inordinate number of people at her hospital are going into comas after surgery. Her investigation leads her to the Jefferson Institute, where all the comatose patients live out their lives. Her investigation puts her in a great deal of danger.
In this version, the action in the finale is moved to the Jefferson Institute and takes on horror movie aspects.
Lauren Ambrose has a real workhorse role and does it well as the curious and ultimately terrified Susan Wheeler. In this version, Wheeler comes from a prominent family in medicine, so even though she makes more trouble than Dracula loose in a blood bank, she isn't thrown out, though she manages to get her roommate expelled, someone else fired, and the senior resident set up on a drug charge.
Where Susan in the original was seen as unstable, this Susan is seen as a royal troublemaker. Also, in the original, there was an excellent reason why Susan looks into the comas - her best friend goes into a coma after a D&C. Here, it's someone she used to see at the pool. Frankly, I would have been upset but I don't know if I then would have been borrowing people's IDs so I could violate HIPAA regulations and search patient charts.
What this Coma does give us is a realistic look at the way people are treated in hospitals, including ignoring dying people in the emergency room, neglecting the elderly, and being disrespectful to the dead. These things do go on, which is why it is important to have a family member or friend looking out for you when you are hospitalized.
Coma dragged on and because we never got to know these characters, did not hold interest despite this stellar group of actors, many of whom had very little to do. Steven Pasquale is no Michael Douglas, and his added May-December romance with the psychiatrist played by Geena Davis seemed unnecessary.
As it turned out, watching it was unnecessary too. See the original, which gives us a love story, characters we can relate to, and some good suspense.
- Sep 19, 2012