Thursday, October 2, 2008

Private Practices Pushes Bio-Ethical Envelope

I stopped watching Grey's Anatomy because the drama just got too frivolous for my taste. I was reluctant to make the switch to Private Practice, but after a string of successful episodes the show is quickly rising to the top of my must-see list.

At the very least, last night's season premiere earned Private Practice a season pass on my Tivo. The episode featured five relationships on the rocks and a medical practice about to crumble under some serious financial burdens.

But the show takes a non-traditional trajectory by tackling some dicey bio-ethical dilemmas. Is it okay for parents to conceive a child with the express purpose of using the blood from that child's umbilical cord to save the life of one of their other children? Should a doctor go outside of the law and against a family's wishes and tell a teenager who's planning to have sex that he's HIV positive?

Both of these issues were examined Wednesday night and they lead to some great debates today around the copier near my desk at work. Unlike it's parent program, Private Practice continues to do a fantastic job of combining new romance, relationship drama, family squabbles, comedy but above all--medicine. That's something the folks over at Grey's leave out more often than not.

This episode's central debates reminded me of one of my other favorites, Picket Fences. Both programs take traditional genres (police, medicine, and/or family dramas) and turn them on their ears a bit. It also intrigues me when shows can manage to be familiar and refreshing simultaneously.