Combat Hospital Review: Welcome to Kandahar

at . Comments

There's always been something about war shows that I've been drawn to. As a kid, I couldn't get enough of M*A*S*H. Much later, I adored China Beach, so it's no surprise that I was quick to watch ABC's new summer drama, Combat Hospital.

The "series premiere" is set in a military hospital outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2006 and follows doctors and nurses from several Allied, English speaking countries. 

In Kandahar

We follow Canadian surgeon Major Rebecca Gordon as she arrives via military transport. You'd think that landing in the middle of a war zone would be the focus of her attention. Instead, she's trying to take a pregnancy test while they land.

I'm sure it's a hell of a long flight. Does she really have to wait for them to be doing evasive maneuvers while they land to perform that test?

That first scene tells me not to take
Combat Hospital too seriously, although that doesn't mean it can't be entertaining.

The entire cast is very likable. Elias Koteas is the tough but fair Colonel Marks and I'm happy to see Luke Mably back on screen after The Gates. Will his civilian neurosurgeon Dr. Simon Hill be the Hawkeye Pierce of Combat Hospital? The pilot leads me to think so. Again, that isn't a bad thing, it's just that I don't think they'll be any surprises here.

The premiere gives us the cliched storyline of the wounded soldier who doesn't look like he'll make it but the doctors pull him through, only to have his buddy die from injuries that appear much less severe. 

Then we get the enemy soldier whose life is saved only to be whisked away by some Blackwater types, literally through a hole in the wall. Unfortunately, it feels as though we've seen this all before.

The one bright spot was the off base women's clinic set up in hopes of helping the local woman of Kandahar receive adequate health care. There's only a brief mention of it and then the storyline is pushed aside for a possible enemy attack, but it has potential to be a more interesting subplot. It gives me hope that this show can be better than its pilot.

Combat Hospital appears to be a light summer drama, where I was hoping for something more substantial. But if it's willing to be a little more creative and take some chances, there may be more story potential than we see here.  I'll be tuning in next week to find out.


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
  • 3.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (124 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Yes, I believe it has a solid chance of being one of the best new shows for fall.


I will give the show a second look. Nice to see Canadian flags in a US show too !!


I grant that this is supposed to be set back in 2006...but even then, there were so many glaring errors in the backdrop that I had a hard time getting into the storyline. And yeah, they need to have somebody do a drive by of the ever-flowerful Poo Pond before I believe they're at KAF!


If the director and producer are confused about what is accurate and what is not I strongly urge them to hire CPT Dale Dye (USMC Retired) who has made his post military life assisting those in the film industry who don't accurately know. Right off the top, U.S. made UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters do not sound like Vietnam era UH-1 Huey's. C'mon get the sound tracks correct at least!


Bad idea to have show at this time. Better after wars end. To many people in cast. No lead.


I THINK this might be a good show BUT it was so hard to hear the words spoken for all the LOUD MUSIC AND BACKGROUND DRAMA. Maybe they need to watch MASH TV series and see how they made a good show and we could understand the speaking clearly. If it doesn't clear up real soon I'm moving on to something else I can hear clearly.


For the people that are saying it's crap and the setting is incorrect. Remember this takes place back in 06 where Canada was the leading country in KAF. Also role 3 was in a beat up plywood shack. I am a Canadian forces medic who worked at the role 3 hospital. Just watching the preview gave me goosebumps. ThE setting is accurate. I just wish they wouldn't concentrate so much on the doctors, but the front line medics that do all the grunt work getting the patients to KAF.


I was really hoping for something better. I have to agree that this show needs some serious technical advice. Also, why do these show feel the need to have 100 things occur in an episode. A good show like The Sopranos or The Wire spends most its time building the characters and not pushing action, which makes the action so much better.


I just happened upon Combat Hospital by accident and I love it! This is my new favorite show. I enjoyed the exciting, high energy script and I thought the actors did a great job. I enjoyed the unpredictable story line. Maybe it is not technically close to an actual "combat hospital" situation but it's close to junk that happens in real life.(i.e. getting dressed down for by your boss for being a hero) Can't wait til next week. Please keep this one ABC!


As a SGT who just came from KAF (Kandahar Air Field) less than 2 weeks ago I can say this show is CRAP. Role 3 is a brick and mortar with glass doors and tile floors. It is very much a the NICEST building on all of KAF! Hands down! I even had a minor surgery there. The absolute cleanest place on post. And for a post with a lake of human waist (lovingly called the "poo pond") you really noticed clean.

Tags: ,

Combat Hospital Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Rebecca: You were right. Nothing prepared me for this place.
Marks: What can I say. Welcome to Kandahar.

Rebecca: I know what a combat landing is. I read the manual.
Flight crew: Did the manual say many of our passengers throw up?