Writing about The Knick for my last post had me thinking about other entertaining medical TV shows. Every new TV season brings a fresh crop of small screen physicians. Recently, a rash of doc shows have come and gone like transitory viral infections. In the past year, Do No Harm left after two episodes, Black Box eliminated after one season, as was Sanjay Gupta’s misplaced Monday Mornings. But some stay longer, and help us laugh, and perhaps mirror some of the joy and compassion in what we do every day.
I enjoy the ones that harbor the right mix of pathos and humor. The actual soap operas, General Hospital, and the ones that seem like soap operas, Grey’s Anatomy, I couldn’t bear to put on the list. Cinemax’s The Knick is too new to join the ranks. Last week was only the 5th episode. Yet, with every corpse for sale, every syphilitic storyline (aortic aneurysm, lost nose), it becomes a worthwhile infection as it nails turn of the 20th century medicine. The surgical gloves missing since the first episode may very well appear soon, as Algernon had a brief encounter with the head of a rubber tree farm, similar to Halsted’s actual meeting with Goodyear in the 1890s.
Shows from the classic comedy gem The Cosby Show to the modern comedy The Mindy Project, have physician leads, but medicine takes a backseat to the story lines. Can’t vote for them.
There’s a swath I watched minimally, so clearly a bias to this list. Quincy, M.E., Dr. Kildare (the launch pad for Richard Chamberlain), and Marcus Welby, M.D. are classics, but before my time. Chicago Hope, Nip/Tuck and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, though popular, are off my list. I did enjoy the first season of Royal Pains, but I can’t pull for a show about concierge medicine.
Okay, enough of a differential diagnosis. House may have more to add to the list, but he didn’t make this one.
Top 5 MEDICAL TV Shows of all time… according to Messler.
(Click the square in the bottom right hand corner of the box to expand the slideshow.)