Stars: Lauren Ambrose, Steven Pasquale, Joe Morton, Ellen Burstyn, James Woods, Richard Dreyfuss, Geena Davis
Writer: John J. McLaughlin based on the book by Robin Cook
Director: Mikael Salomon
Original Telecast: August 5, 2012
Network: A&E

If the first night of the two-part, four-hour COMA miniseries wasn’t enough torture, A&E delivers a second half that’s more excruciating as the first.

Why, oh, why did this suck so bad?

Here’s an example of how COMA fails miserably: whenever something interesting or suspenseful happens, suddenly the characters start looking at charts and talking ominous about what’s on the page. Or in other cases, the tap furiously and creepily on a computer and find out – DATA! Oh no, scary, scary data. Run. More terrifying than THE SHINING!

But it gets worse. It’s bad enough that there are tons of people falling into comas during the course of the mini-series. Then, the Chief of Staff (James Woods) bites it a horrendous accident because he’s trouble, fellow doctor Mark Bellows (Steven Pasquale) gets into a horrible car crash, people are being fired left and right because of what they know and our lead Susan Wheeler (Lauren Ambrose) is coincidentally stalked by a psycho killer and then disappears without a trace

Coincidence upon coincidence piles up as we learn most of the medical staff and the most of the police are in on this huge conspiracy where people are purposely put into comas so they can be tested on and harvested for organs at the Jefferson Institute among other things.

Bad. Bad Bad.

This thing sucks so much, it’s not even funny. I feel sorry for all the amazing actors starring in this sucker. They have nothing to do but act super psycho for no apparent reason.

Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss and Geena Davis all get to ham it up, without the benefit of the material to give them anything juicy to play off of.

And after last night’s ten-minute revelation of what the Jefferson Institute is up to, we find Wheeler caught by Bursten’s Mrs. Emerson, but instead of being tortured or killed – she’s let go.

Why? The miniseries would be over if she wasn’t. Ugh.

The only redeeming element of the entire miniseries are the weird visions the serial killer stalking Wheeler has – plus the extended suspense montage as he pursues her. If only the rest of the movie were as inventive and scary as that.

As a medical thriller COMA is a bust, searching for some kind of rhythm and mechanism to keep it interesting, but instead simply piling on silly circumstances and coincidences on top of each other. There’s no way in hell a hospital could get away with what this hospital does here – but I guess it’s trying to get by on a technicality of being fiction.

Oh well.

COMA is dead on arrival (yes, another lame pun, but warranted). If you’re going to waste your time, you’re better off checking out the 1978 movie starring Michael Douglas that’s based on the same source material by novelist Robin Cook. Yes, it feels dated, but at least it works as an actual story rather than an excuse to pad a 90-minute story into a four-hour pile of dog crap.

Related: TV Review: COMA Miniseries – Part 1


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Article: TV Review: COMA Miniseries – Part 2

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