by Teoh Jing Xiang, trainee journalist

Die-hard fans of English medical dramas will be familiar with ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Royal Pains and Nurse Jackie. Intense drama unfolding in the hospital, conflicts between doctors and patients, nerve-wrecking surgery scenes and confusing medical terms. These elements keep the viewers glued to the TV, but there’s one major setback about these medical dramas – they’ve always got similar story lines and when the series have gone on for a long time, they veer dangerously into becoming medical soap operas. They become boring.

To spice things up, only the sudden death of the main characters could set tongues wagging again. Remember Dr Derek Shepherd’s (Patrick Dempsey) death (exit) from medical drama Grey’s Anatomy?

For just that reason, producers and broadcasters have been seeking different characters and fresh storylines. Going to the Eastern side, we seldom have plenty of Chinese medical dramas due to the lack of production budget and medical equipment ready for the shooting process. So, luckily for the Chinese audience who appreciate medical dramas, I suggest you check out ‘Wake Up’, or in Chinese “麻醉风暴” ,a 6 episode Taiwanese medical drama that tackles interesting topics.

Wake Up centers around Xiao Zheng Xun, an anaesthesiologist who suffers from serious insomnia for many years and is fired due to his failings. He then meets Yang Jing-yu, a beautiful, rocker-chic psychologist who helps him conquer his inner fears and ends up standing by him despite unfair accusations from the hospital. Ye Jian-de is an insurant agent, an ex-anaesthesiologist who was fired from the same hospital back then, suspects that the top people in the hospital are corrupted and are pinning all the blame on the anaesthesiologist in order to cover up their wrongdoings.

I was expecting another type of old-school medical drama format that focuses on the daily routine of the anaesthesiologist until I was stunned by how the producers incorporate political conflicts that happen in the hospital into this production. It is not that convincing when you first see the premise but the dramatic conflicts really elevate the whole story’s intensity which is much welcomed by the audience. Wake Up feels like a drama-movie that really reflects what can actually happen in a politically-bound medical center when poor medical practitioners become the black sheep under the hospital’s corrupted standard operating procedure (SoP).

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