'Combat Hospital' comes up lame

TV review

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Not to be outdone, ABC has its own war-set series debuting this week, the Canadian co-production "Combat Hospital" (10 p.m. Tuesday, WTAE). Set in 2006 in Southern Afghanistan, it's safe to say this fairly pedestrian hospital show is no "China Beach," the excellent 1988-91 Vietnam War medical show that made Dana Delany ("Body of Proof") a star.

Michelle Borth (HBO's "Tell Me You Love Me") stars in "Combat Hospital" as Canadian surgeon Dr. Rebecca Gordon, who is part of the multi-national team from assorted Allied countries. She arrives in Kandahar unsure whether she's pregnant from a now-failed relationship back home. Also on her flight: U.S. Army Capt. Bobby Trang (Terry Chen, "Sanctuary"), a novice trauma team leader.

'Combat Hospital'

When: 10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC.

Starring: Michelle Borth.

It doesn't take long for a British neurosurgeon (Luke Mably, "The Gates") to hit on Rebecca or for her Australian army psychiatrist roommate (Deborah Kara Unger) to recruit her to work in a local clinic.

"Combat Hospital" leaves no cliche unturned as the base prepares for an attack by the Taliban and a shadowy tough guy (presumably CIA) demands to know when a wounded suspected terrorist will be able to leave the hospital. Oh, and Col. Marks (Elias Koteas, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") shoots a snake that slithers into the operating room during surgery.

Imagine any "M• A• S• H"-style cliche and odds are good it will turn up in "Combat Hospital" whose predictability makes it a dull summer entry that may encourage viewers of this week's premiere to become deserters before next week's episode.

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