Don't get your hopes up with ABC's new 'Combat Hospital'

Jun 19 2011 - 9:59am

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KEN WORONER/ABC
Terry Chen (left) is Capt. Bobby Trang and Michelle Borth is Rebecca Kincaid in "Combat Hospital."
KEN WORONER/ABC
Terry Chen (left) is Capt. Bobby Trang and Michelle Borth is Rebecca Kincaid in "Combat Hospital."

Not to be outdone, ABC has its own war-set series debuting this coming week, the Canadian co-production "Combat Hospital" (9 p.m. Tuesday on KTVX Channel 4).

Set in 2006 in Southern Afghanistan, it's safe to say this fairly pedestrian hospital show is no "China Beach," the excellent 1988-91 Vietnam War medical show that made Dana Delany ("Body of Proof") a star.

Michelle Borth (HBO's "Tell Me You Love Me") stars in "Combat Hospital" as Canadian surgeon Rebecca Gordon, who is part of the multinational team from assorted allied countries. She arrives in Kandahar unsure whether she's pregnant from a now-failed relationship back home. Also on her flight: U.S. Army Capt. Bobby Trang (Terry Chen, "Sanctuary"), a novice trauma-team leader.

It doesn't take long for a British neurosurgeon (Luke Mably, "The Gates") to hit on Rebecca or for her Australian army psychiatrist roommate (Deborah Kara Unger) to recruit her to work in a local clinic.

"Combat Hospital" leaves no cliche unturned as the base prepares for an attack by the Taliban, and a shadowy tough guy (presumably CIA) demands to know when a wounded suspected terrorist will be able to leave the hospital. Oh, and Col. Marks (Elias Koteas, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") shoots a snake that slithers into the operating room during a surgery.

Imagine any "MASH"-style cliche and odds are good it will turn up in "Combat Hospital," whose predictability makes it a dull summer entry that may encourage viewers of the premiere to become deserters before the following week's episode.

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