Medical TV also needs money


Quebec medical TV series are often pitied in comparison to their counterparts in English Canada or the United States. A question of budget, of course. No script.

Hugo Dumas
Hugo Dumas
The Press

take Epidemic at VAT. Three or four extras furnish the emergency room. The camera, which films the same corridor where the Minister of Public Security (Guillaume Cyr) systematically sits, still shows the same doctors, played by Julie Le Breton, Gabriel Sabourin, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Mani Soleymanlou. And only one incompetent nurse (Sandrine Bisson) provides almost all of the shifts.

Take the new series now Transplant, from the same producer asEpidemic (Datsit Sphere), but toured in English for the CTV network. A complete hospital floor was built from the ground up in a hangar at the MTL Grandé studios. Dozens and dozens of patients, strung on upright chairs, hang around before being treated. And there are plenty of stretchers, exam rooms, sophisticated medical equipment, and tons of support staff.

It’s unfair to compare Epidemic at Transplant, which received a budget five times larger, but this is the reality today. Quebec tinkers with broadcasts and does an admirable job, all the same.

With its $ 28 million for 13 one-hour episodes, Transplant approaches the production value of big guns like Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor or Chicago Med. No wonder NBC Universal injected money into it hoping for international distribution.

You will see Transplant in English on Wednesday February 26 at 9 p.m. on CTV, while Vrak will relay the dubbed version in Quebec the same day, but at 10 p.m., under the name of transplanted. Bell Media’s Crave service will offer Transplant / Transplanted the next day.

The title transplanted refers to a 29-year-old Syrian doctor, Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq, seen in Quantico), who fled the war to settle in Toronto with her 12-year-old sister Amira.

Without an Ontario license, Bashir works in a Lebanese restaurant. One evening like many others, a truck in loss of control runs into the window of the boui-boui. Bashir’s emergency physician’s reflexes came out in half a second, where he notably saved a client from death by piercing his skull with an electric Black & Decker. No kidding, it’s going exactly as you imagine.

This catastrophic sequence of the first episode, in which Bashir revives almost the entire Queen City with a pair of scissors and a drill, is far-fetched. You shouldn’t dwell on it too much, because it doesn’t reflect the general spirit of Transplant.

Let’s go back to the trepanned client. He is not an ordinary client, but the head of the trauma center at York General Hospital, one of the best hospitals in Toronto. As you may have guessed, Bashir’s medical carpentry will earn him his first medical job in a Canadian healthcare facility.

Bashir will work with resident Magalie Leblanc (Laurence Leboeuf, who doubles herself in French, thank God) to resolve complicated cases. Perfectionist Magalie and the instinctive Bashir will learn a great deal from each other. You will also recognize in the operating rooms the actress Ayisha Issa, who has long played the wicked Bouba in unit 9. She plays here the surgeon June Curtis, reserved and competitive woman.

Transplant does not revolutionize the medical series. It’s efficient, catchy and fairly predictable. It is also very “Canadian” in all the diversity it displays. The immigration component – and that of prejudices towards the Arabs – comes out, however Transplant of the conventional area explored by this type of broadcast.

This TV series takes place in Toronto, but was entirely manufactured in Quebec. Several episodes were produced by Érik Canuel and Alain Desrochers.

Some television figures

Sunday night, The voice of VAT remained at 1,952,000 viewers, which had a ripple effect on True nature (1,021,000). At Radio-Canada, Everybody talks about it was followed by 1,041,000 fans and Vlog (1,000,000) won a similar audience to TVA. Friday evening, two other TVA programs came close to a million, or It ends well the week (902,000) and The cheater (925 000). Saturday, Live from the universe stayed at the top (915,000).

With all the panoply of international series and services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +), it’s reassuring to see that Quebecers are consuming a lot of TV from here.

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