If there’s one type of TV show that draws me in every time, medical dramas would be it. Nine times out of ten I’ll get sucked in and binge them. There is something that they harbor that is just to keep my interest. Between the drama, relationships, the action, it all just seems to work together to create amazing TV.
Here’s a list of some of the more popular medical shows I’ve seen, what I think of them, and what I’d rate them. I would like to point out that this is purely opinion based on what I like to see. I am in no way a medical professional or have any medical knowledge beyond what I’ve seen in these shows. This list is based on my preferences and not necessarily the accuracy of the shows themselves.
These are listed from worst to best.
The Good Doctor: 3/10
All it took was one episode for me to know I wasn’t going to like this. I’ve got nothing against the basis of the show, it’s just not for me. It follows a young doctor/surgeon who has autism who relocates to San Jose to work in a renowned hospital. I know people who love this show, but the premise of having these over-the-top medical cases that seem to have no solution until this doctor all of a sudden comes up with one is a little too far-fetched for me. Accuracy wise it ranks up there with some of the best ones, but personally it’s just not great.
Grey’s Anatomy: 4/10
I’m going to get a lot of hate for this one. I can’t really get into this particular show or any of its three spin-offs (Private Practice, Station 19, Grey’s Anatomy: B Team). Grey’s Anatomy is the longest-running primetime show on ABC and has been in production since 2005. The main reason this series gets such a low score from me is that, in my opinion, it focuses too much on the relationship aspects. While I love to see a good relationship, this show seems to go overboard, not to mention that half the love interests seem to either leave or die. It’s possible that because I watched this years ago when I was younger and before it really had the traction it does now, that I just couldn’t vibe with it, but now based on its popularity alone, I can’t stand it.
I was never a huge fan of Scrubs, although I did watch it from time to time. While it is one of the more accurate medical shows from medical professional standards, it just feels somewhat awkward to me. I get that it is supposed to be satirical but it borders on dark at times. The comedy was great and if they had stuck with that, I feel it would’ve been a lot better overall, but mixing in the weird and morbid just makes it feel off.
Royal Pains: 7/10
This is a bit of a different type of medical drama. This focuses on Hank Lawson, an emergency room doctor turned hired concierge doctor for those of the Hamptons. This was an interesting and more relaxed medical show. While the doctoring happened differently you still got all the relationship and medical drama you could want along with a bit of mystery. Royal Pains has a more laid-back feel with more comedy in it than most. I only gave it a seven out of ten because the idea of concierge medicine is actually quite a complicated one and they seem to just seamlessly roll into it. I know it’s a TV show, but it just gives it a bit of an unrealistic feel.
House M.D.: 7/10
Ah, House, the rude sherlock-esque doctor who solves all your medical mysteries with a snap of his fingers. At a time, House was a favorite of my shows, I would binge it for a while before having to move to something else. The main reason for that…it became depressing to watch. Nearly every episode, someone was dying of some illness that, while they diagnosed it, had no cure. It also became hard to watch in bulk because after a while even I felt like reaching through the TV screen and smacking House. His sarcasm and blatant disregard for human emotions were just too much to handle after a while. Medically, the show was great and brought about a lot of different illnesses that are never heard of, so that kept it interesting.
The Night Shift: 8/10
This was a show that for me is an absolute favorite. It takes place in San Antonio, at a small ER (Fun fact: it was actually filmed in Albuquerque, NM). This is another show that has a good balance of medical and relationship drama and finds a good way to incorporate everyone into a storyline where they fit well. This show is also mainly about army doctors who, upon returning from deployment, work in the ER. Lots of drama and totally worth the watch. The only reason it’s an eight out of ten is that the characters sometimes come across as a bit two-dimensional if they’re not at the center of that episode’s plotline.
The Resident: 9/10
This is one TV show I’ve had the ability to watch since the beginning. It has three full seasons, with season four airing currently airing and it is also available for streaming on Hulu. The show follows the doctors and nurses at Chastain Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and what their job entails. The reason this show has the score it does, besides the acting, is that it also does an amazing job of balancing everything. It has just about everything you could ask for, patient drama, relationships, friendships, it also throws in the dramatics of the American healthcare system and being a private vs. public hospital. I did take off a point because the main character, Conrad Hawkins, is a rule-breaker and while it makes for great TV, it seems like every episode there’s another boundary he has to break. I don’t care how talented you are, you would’ve been fired after a while.
Chicago Med: 10/10
This is a more recent discovery for me. It started its run as the third addition to the Chicago series on NBC and currently has six seasons. Like The Resident, the show follows a group of Emergency Department doctors at Chicago Med. This show is one of the most accurate I’ve watched (and I’ll post a link to a YouTube video explaining why that is). This show focuses much more on patient-doctor relations and more on the medical side than anything else. While it doesn’t go overly in-depth about the healthcare system, it does a good job of showing what it’s like to work in a public hospital. There is relationship drama (which is always welcome) but it doesn’t overwhelm or suffocate the show or its characters. Overall, I feel that Chicago Med is one of the best medical dramas out there.
Below are some links to YouTube videos from Doctor Mike, a New York-based doctor who uses social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram to educate his followers as well as reaction videos. In these videos, he is reacting to the TV shows I mentioned.
The Night Shift
Most Accurate Ranking