I have a confession; I’m a TV snob. When it comes to picking a TV series to watch I can be very selective. I find myself helplessly scrolling through Netflix for periods of time – much longer than anticipated (realising after 25 minutes I probably could have watched the first episode of a show rather than read 20 other TV synopses).
The truth is, I find it hard to sit still for long periods of time, so I don’t have the patience to watch three episodes of a series before “it gets good”. I need something that grabs me from the opening scene and makes me want to cancel all social activities until I’ve had my fix.
I found that with the ABC’s new show Pulse. The show is a sexy, smart high-stakes medical drama set in and around the transplant unit of a busy teaching hospital in Western Sydney. It also features a Game of Thrones star so that’s a plus (from Westeros to Western Sydney! More on that later).
Inspired by a true story, Pulse follows Frankie (Claire van der Boom – Love My Way and Rush fans rejoice), a former high-flying financial analyst who becomes a medical resident at the hospital.
But here’s the twist. Frankie is a survivor of chronic kidney failure, lucky enough to get a kidney transplant and have a second shot at life. A pretty life-changing ordeal for anyone, let alone someone in their 20s.
Now determined to give back, Frankie faces a whole lot of challenges and people in her new profession, while still dealing with her own personal and ongoing medical history. It's a compelling premise that hooks you in for a longer, intriguing haul that's full of light and shade, humour and heart. In the opening episode alone, there's an unexpected sex scene between two of the doctors, and as we all know, that's a recipe for any good Aussie drama.
But what really grabbed me was the array of strong female leads playing doctors, nurses and registry staff - all smart, strong women doing their very important business. The all-star cast is led by kick-ass women from all of your favourite Australian TV shows, including Susie Porter and Andrea Demetriades (both seen recently in Seven Types of Ambiguity). Like any good medical show, there's a very handsome doctor who strongly resembles a long lost Hemsworth brother (Spartacus' Liam McIntyre).
Game of Thrones fans, you'll also recognise Welsh actor Owen Teale in a very different role from Ser Alliser Thorne, the Master of Arms at Castle Black. He plays Frankie's mentor and the Head of Renal, Dr Chad Berger. We're definitely not in Westeros anymore!
Pulse also gives lesser-known faces a chance to shine too: Bollywood leading lady Pallavi Sharda, who recently appeared in the Oscar-nominated Lion, plays a Renal registrar who sees Frankie as her main competitor at work and will do anything to get ahead.
Arka Das (who also appeared in Lion and Top of The Lake) as Dr Tabb Patel is a real standout as a quick-witted intern who also happens to be one of Frankie's roommates. Despite his confidence, Das' character doubts himself constantly - a relatable quality that makes him all the more engaging to watch.
Beyond the great characters, there's also a timely message about organ donation. In my day-to-day life, I don’t think about my organs and even know their exact purpose and function - you could easily these things for granted. It's definitely a conversation-starter that makes you wonder about your own organ donation status and having that chat with your loved ones. It's presented in an engaging way, so it never feels preachy.
When it comes to picking out TV shows to sink into, the ABC has delivered again with Pulse. It definitely lives up to my snobbish TV standard. New favourite drama – sorted.
Watch Pulse on ABC TV or iview from 8.30pm on Thursdays from July 20.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner ABC.
Featuring an all-star cast including Claire van der Boom, Owen Teale and Andrea Demetriades, Pulse is a high stakes drama set in and around the transplant unit of a busy Western Suburbs teaching hospital.
Inspired by a true story, Pulse follows Frankie, high-flying financial analyst who had it all before failing kidneys landed her at death’s door, and a transplant offered her a second chance.
Inspired by the man who saved her life, Frankie alters course to become a doctor herself in the high-pressure world of renal and cardio-thoracic medicine.
Tune in Thursday 20 July 8.30pm on ABC TV.