Does TV Have a Medical Drama Problem?

I watch a lot of TV shows, so it’s hard to keep up with all of them sometimes. The other day I had some free time (no homework, no place to be…it was refreshing), so I decided to use that period to catch up on some of those shows I’ve fallen behind on. As I finished the most recent episode of "New Amsterdam" (as of April 8th) and transitioned into "The Resident", it felt as if I was watching the same episode of TV twice. And it’s not just these two shows either, it’s the entirety of the medical drama genre currently on TV.

If you take a look at the four major broadcast networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox), three of those four have at least one medical drama currently airing. NBC has "New Amsterdam" and "Chicago Med", ABC has "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Good Doctor", and Fox has "The Resident" (CBS doesn’t currently have any medical dramas on the air, but they aren’t exempt since they’ve had their fair share in the past, most recently with "Code Black"). While they all take place in various locations across the country, they all tend to have a stencil for the character archetypes and storylines.

After watching the most recent episodes of "The Resident" and "New Amsterdam", which may as well have been the same episodes just aired on different networks (both involved snowstorms that essentially prevented the hospitals from being able to fully function and reach their patients), I went online to see if anyone else was seeing that as well. Not only did I see that, but there was another week where "The Resident", "New Amsterdam", and "Grey’s Anatomy" all had episodes that covered essentially the same slate of ailments. And there was yet another week with the same issue, but swap "The Good Doctor" for "Grey’s". With all the repetition in these shows in such close proximity, it begs the question: does TV have a medical drama problem?

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good hospital show, and each show finds a way to make itself unique and draw viewers in. "The Resident" has a grittier feel than most, "New Amsterdam" has a constant optimism about it, "Grey’s Anatomy" has been on for forever, "The Good Doctor" has such an emotional backing, and "Chicago Med" has the support of the rest of the "Chicago" franchise on NBC. But even with all of the differences between the shows, there’s still the issue of them all starting to bleed into each other. If these shows want to keep their viewers engaged, then they have to find new stories and new ways to separate themselves from the pack.

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