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Series: China Beach
was a War
that ran on ABC from 1988 to 1991. It featured a group of characters serving at the real
China Beach Rest and Recreation (R & R) station and the fictional 510th Evacuation Hospital during the Vietnam War
The show was unique, focusing on the experiences of women serving in and around a combat zone. Real Vietnam
veterans, particularly nurses who had served, complained at first that plots focused too much on the romantic lives of the characters and, in that respect, were extremely unrealistic. This led to later seasons being more medical/combat based, with romantic entanglements relegated more to innuendo and subplots.
The show also followed characters who survived the war back to America, showing their struggles to return to "normal" society. It dealt with traumas that haunted returning veterans, from main character Colleen McMurphy
's drinking and psychological problems stemming from the things she saw as an Evac hospital triage nurse to Marine-turned-lifeguard Boonie Lanier
dealing with the loss of his leg.
The show was popular with critics and had a devoted fanbase but was consistently low-rated. Its cancellation, however, has been said to have less to do with ratings than with the fact that, at the time, America was fighting to liberate Kuwait in the first Gulf War, and the show's distinctly anti-war view clashed with the national sentiment of the day.
China Beach provides examples of: