Update, 3:22 p.m.: Sources confirm to us that NBC is ordering three additional episodes of Trauma. Whoo-hoo! Three eps from the existing 13-episode order are left for after Christmas, to be paired with the three episodes just picked up. When and where these six will air remains to be determined, since NBC's winter Monday-night lineup is full now with Chuck, Heroes and Leno. Can we get a hell yes?! (P.S. Good job Finke and thank you, NBC!)
OK, TV gods, let's make this happen.
Nikki Finke says NBC is going to pick up more episodes of Trauma after all.
We say OMGYAY!
Now, Nikki says she was told the pickup of additional eps came after a ratings uptick. Based on what we can see as amateur Nielsen analysts, the ratings on Trauma really haven't been vividly amazing or anything lately (they hit a postpremiere peak a couple of weeks back). The most optimistic statistics are that it does better in overall viewers in the overnight ratings than time-slot buddy Heroes and that it then picks up a not-terrible 15 percent more watchers when you throw in the DVR numbers.
But here's the thing: We don't think it's the numbers that are really the magic here (and TVbytheNumbers commenters agree with us).
So why in the world might NBC be considering more Trauma? Here's our take, and you should listen to us, because we are pretty much the media's only expert in Trauma...
If Trauma's being saved, it's because now, at a later date than producers must have felt good about, people are catching on to this show. NBC's not doing so great lately (as you may have heard), and therefore, there's room for them to be a little patient with a show that has growth potential and a burgeoning cult following.
See, we heard nothing about Trauma from you fans the first month it aired, but sometime after the "Home Court" episode (and the "cancellation" of the show), we started getting email testimonials saying how much you loved it and that you didn't want it to go away yet. Someone started a #savetrauma campaign on Twitter. We noticed that people started writing Trauma fanfic.
These are all the hallmarks of a series with a truly devoted 18-49 fan base. More than ratings, this show has genuine grassroots buzz, darn it, not to mention long-term potential in spades. If it's true that NBC is picking up the show, they are taking a very smart risk, and we truly thank them for it!
Now, what is it about this show that people are responding to? Most importantly, we suspect it's 20-year paramedic Rabbit Palchuk, who is played by Cliff Curtis, an actor no one had the sense to bet on before but who turns out to be a model of a leading man, not to mention the kind of actor who can sell lines like, "Come on, look at that face. I can't afford to get any uglier" and make you suddenly think that he's pretty damn comparable to George Clooney, lack of matinee-idol looks notwithstanding.
Other highlights of the show are these: Stuff blows up good, people have fantastic accidents (shipwreck! plane crash! rebar through the gut!), Nancy (Anastasia Griffith) is gorgeous and makes poor life choices, Rabbit and Nancy have backstory we can't wait to plumb—not to mention chemistry through the roof, "probie" Glenn (Taylor Kinney) and first-year resident Diana (Scottie Thompson) are the cutest little freshman couple ever, Dr. Joe is Jamey Sheridan and therefore awesome (not to mention intriguingly in love with Nancy), Nancy's dad is John Terry from Lost (what?!) and oh yeah, Kevin Rankin plays witty medic Tyler and every single word out of his mouth is comedy gold! (Love. That. Dude.)
How did this show stumble so badly out of the gate? We blame the overambitious, trying-too-hard pilot, which definitely turned us off the show until we happened to catch a later episode. You can't tell a book by its cover, and you sometimes you can't tell a TV show by its pilot. Sometimes shows have great pilots and then wobble a little bit as continuing series (Reaper and White Collar come to mind). And conversely, sometimes a show has a terrible pilot but works great as a continuing series. We believe Trauma to be one of those latter cases.
Now, the show's not perfect. We're still underwhelmed by a couple of characters. There are complaints from the EMT community about the show's paramedic techniques. Some people like the helicopter, some people think it holds back Rabbit's awesomeness. And the ratings are really not that great?maybe because it's opposite DWTS and Big Bang and Gossip Girl and Lie to Me, maybe it's just because some people gave up after the pilot and never came back or maybe they just never even noticed it existed in the first place.
If Trauma's being saved, we think it's simply because somewhere at the Peacock there is a very gracious TV executive who actually has some foresight and the capacity to take risks who has actually paid attention and noticed that the show has come together quite nicely over the past eight weeks!
Any other Trauma watchers out there? Anyone out there who has seen Trauma and just loathes it? Hit the comments with your opinion either way.
Read our original Trauma testimonial!
(Originally published Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, at 1:33 p.m. PT)