cover image University Hospital

University Hospital

Cherie Bennett / Author, Jeff Gottesfeld / Joint Author Berkle

This series opener delivers melodrama, albeit of the telegenic variety. Five recent high school graduates who hope to become doctors win places in a prestigious summer program in a hospital on the Massachusetts coast. All are competing for a scholarship, and several are grappling with personal traumas: Zoey is haunted by the deaths of her doctor parents in the Oklahoma City bombing and Tristan's best friend at home has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Also among the cast are gorgeous cut-throat Summer, who was raised ""dirt poor"" by an alcoholic mother, and Chad, a likable fellow with, surprisingly, no crisis to cope with. Husband-and-wife team Gottesfeld and Bennett (collaborators on the Trash series) waste no time pouring on the passion: Tristan and Summer have sex on the beach (and are caught in the act by Zoey, who secretly pines for Tristan) while another character falls in love with a teenage patient (""He has to live. I didn't even get to tell him that I love him yet,"" she laments when he goes into cardiac arrest). The tale's soap opera tone gives way to that of a disaster flick in its closing pages when, on a trip to an amusement park, a nurse is crushed to death and Tristan and a pediatric patient are injured after two cranes collide. Given the hoariness of the subplots and the hasty delivery, the title of the series' second installment, Condition Critical, may be prophetic. Ages 12-15. (Oct.)