NBC unleashes more ‘Trauma’ on the viewing public

To say that “Trauma” (8 p.m. Central Monday, NBC; one and a half stars) is better than “Mercy,” NBC’s other new medical show, is not exactly an endorsement. After all, “Mercy” set the bar so low that many informercials could clear it.

“Trauma” is just standard-issue bad, not mind-blowing, please-make-it-stop bad. But this new show, which follows the lives and jobs of emergency medical technicians in San Francisco, has one thing in common with “Mercy”: It’s a collection of cliches in search of a plot.

At least “Trauma” has something of a plot. And it has explosions. So there’s that.

What “Trauma” doesn’t really have is a reason to ever tune in again. The good-looking EMTs on the show rescue people and they have emotional issues with the carnage they see on the job. Making the first part of that equation dramatic isn’t that hard, but how do you make the second — largely internal — part interesting to TV viewers every week? How do you dramatize the processing of stress and trauma?

If you’re one brazen EMT on this show, you act like a cocky idiot. I think he’s meant to be the Bad Boy You Love to Hate. If only. The guy is simply an obnoxious jerk. At least he stands out; however. The rest of the characters are merely there to service the plot and recite the expected dialogue (“I need a save today,” one EMT tells a co-worker).

The only upside I can see to the existence of “Mercy” and “Trauma” is that one of them is likely to recall a scene from the latter pilot and crash and burn this fall. And then we may (please!) get the third season of “Chuck” sooner than March.

I need a save.

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