013. Red Band Society

14 March 2015

Red Band Society is a story about the lives of a group of teenagers living in the paediatric ward at Ocean View Park, struggling with their own issues. Together they form the 'Red Band Society' to stick together through the trouble life throws at them.

When I first heard about this show, I remember feeling reluctant to watch it at all. I felt torn about the way media is - in a way - exploiting stories of children with terminal illness, and almost turning them into a trend of somesort. Since The Fault In Our Stars became so successful, why not capitalise on that by creating something similar. That idea pretty much put me off. But I decided to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. 
Red Band Society
is a show with so much heart and emotion. It's like My Sister's Keeper meets One Tree Hill. Each character has their own journey and struggling to face, with family and relationship drama added to the mix. The way this show handles addressing cancer and other diseases is powerful. Although it falls short on truly representing characters and storylines at times - which I'll get into later - this show does a good job of representing the teenagers time at the hospital, and bringing attention the social impact illness can have on them. 

Now - Time for spoilers!

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Red Band Society was truly authentic. The show didn't sugar-coat the content it talked about.  This show was witty and sassy, but also classy without dialogue between characters feeling intrusive and offensively out of place. Charlie's narration was a great way of lighting the heavy content in the show, and adding a dash of humour. It was literally the perfect way to carry a show like this. The way the these characters and their issues were respected were pretty tasteful, and showed the amount of depth behind their surface façade. I liked that the characters of the show has so may layers to them. So much left to be explored.

I love how 
Red Band Society isn't just about the kids and their romances either. You get to see the inner workings of the hospital too. From the drama being collogues, to the impact these situations have on doctors. But what's amazing is that this show is the first show that tells the story of the hospital from the patients point of view, which is an awesome breakthrough for television.My favourite relationship on the show - by far - had to be between Kara and Hunter. It was so entertaining watching them banter back and forth. 

With the number of characters in the fold, Red Band Society struggles to truly balance and provide all of its characters with the equal amount of spotlight and attention to detail they each deserve. It got to a point where character representations become very surface level, their storylines dashed over. I think what may have worked in this show at the beginning is having a particular character central to each episode and develop their storylines. Producers could then expand and explore storylines further throughout the series, as opposed to just dealing with it when it came up. Like with Emma's storyline - they should have progressively discussed her eating disorder over time. That would have had a much more of an impact if they had.

And where were the parents of the show? Surely if your child had a life-threatening illness, you would be there more often right? That was very bizarre to me, especially considering the fact we get to know so much about the doctors and nurses who work at the hospital.
Things seemed to happen very vapidly and fast on Red Band Society, without much progression in between - and while you could argue these kids live unpredictable lives, it just felt disconjointed. One minute we talk of Leo continuing his soccer career, then it's dismissed. Only to be brought back a couple of episodes later, then dismissed again. Even the ending felt pretty rushed as well. Personally I felt it was pretty
 anti-climatic, as there was this big lead-up to not much. 

Red Band Society is unlike any other mainstream television show out there, showing a side of the hospital life from a patients point of view - never been done before! With more development, better scripting and a sense of direction in story lines, this show had the potential to become pretty legendary. But it is a thought-provoking, heart-felt and very engaging show, that is well worth the watch.  No regrets!

So what are your thoughts on Red Band Society? Hit or Miss?
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