“Coma” Remake Disappoints Fans


Bobby Rabaioli

"Coma" Supplies Fans with a Modern Spin on an Old Favorite.


With A&E looking to increase their own channel’s popularity, they decided to make “Coma,” a 1978 horror film, into a two-part mini series. The four-hour mini series premiere was split into two partstwo hours aired on Labor Day, and the remaining two aired Tuesday.  “Coma” stars Lauren Ambrose, who plays a young medical student by the name of Susan Wheeler. The plot of the series revolves around Susan trying to figure out why so many people have been lapsing into comas in the past couple of months.  When she figures out what is really happening, she can only describe it as “human sacrifice”.

The series starts off in Boston with a YouTube clip of several troublesome kids breaking into Jefferson Hospital (the coma care facility), which later reveals something very wrong with procedures at the hospital— there are no patients in the rooms! It is later revealed that the patients are being used as test subjects.  As the events unfold,  a very successful doctor loses a patient to a coma in a standard procedure— an incident that  usually never happens. Instead of  going home and forgetting about it, the doctor eventually commits suicide. This would be the first of many patients who are chosen to be put in comas on purpose.

The show then introduces the joyful Susan Wheeler who hopes to fill her grandfathers footsteps by becoming a very successful doctor. She gets caught up in the madness of all the coma patients after identifying one of the patients as her long-time friend from a pool they both used to swim at. With the help of a nurse, she launches into an investigation in which she must research all of the past coma patients in the hospital. However, as she receives help from each of her co-workers, it seems that they mysteriously are either fired or killed. To add to the madness, she also has a stalker on her hands who she must worry about, as they put cameras all over her apartment and a bag on her head as she is walking home. Eventually, Susan must confront this stalker at the expense of others. For instance, when she is being chased by the stalker, the man kills two police guards.

A positive aspect of this mini series is the many unexpected plot twists.  When Susan Wheeler progresses further into her investigation, she has to be very careful, as she must now be killed because of everything she knows. Also, a scene with one of the sick patients creates great drama concerning whether Susan will live to tell her secret that the coma patients are being used as test subjects or die before she can speak a word.

Unfortunately, the only good part of the series may prove to be its downfall as well. In “Coma,”  the more plot twists there are, the more one grows impatient to discover exactly what has happened to all the coma patients at Jefferson Hospital. Also, it could be improved if the show provided more background information on each character instead of jumping right into the main plot. When compared to the movie and book the show is based on, it seems that the mini series put a new spin on the plot by showing less of the gruesome scenes and  coma patients, as well as by adding more drama within each characters investigation.  The show has its moments, but utterly falls short of  high expectations. A&E had high hopes that their mini series could bring in success with an estimated total of 4 million viewers. Unfortunately, it was too lofty a goal, as the premiere brought in a disappointing 1.1 million viewers. Overall, “Coma” is a watchable show that has its moments, but if one is looking for true horror,  they should just watch the original movie instead.