This week’s Thursday Movie Picks is a tv special on medical dramas. Immediately I thought Grey’s Anatomy, House MD, Private Practice… I figured a lot of people (me included) would feature these shows, but actually, the answers are SO varied it amazes me – so make sure you check out everyone else’s posts! I suppose those shows would be my honourable mentions, even though I stopped watching GA some years back, and PP wasn’t all that great. To them I’d add Scrubs (technically a comedy but it is so good!) and the one I need to check out soon, The Knick.
E.R. is THE medical drama. It premiered in the 90s, only two years after I was born, and one of my first television-related memories is watching this in my parents’s living room with the whole family. The opening sequence and theme song alone bring it all back. Since it aired until 2009 with an astonishing and unprecedented total of 15 seasons, you could say I grew up watching E.R.
And like many others, I witnessed it change over the years, with new characters and storylines and evolving technology – sometimes for the better, sometimes not. I’ve come to know and cherish every character in its gigantic cast, and later recognise numerous guest stars. It was the start of George Clooney, but it didn’t mean the same back then – he was just the handsome guy with the quirky head tilt. Looking back, it was also an incredibly diverse cast.
To this day I have no idea how realistic it was, but it sure was fascinating to get a peek at the working heart of a hospital. And judging by how successful E.R. and subsequent medical dramas with the same structure (Grey’s Anatomy) are, I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves it.
#02 A Young Doctor’s Notebook
This little known miniseries came to my attention in an effort to fix a Mad Men deprived state, no doubt. A Young Doctor’s Notebook is a british black comedy set in a russian hospital in the early 20th century. Its main character is played in the present by Jon Hamm, looking back at his young morphine addict self, played by Daniel Radcliffe. The two have a lot of scenes together thanks to a lenient take on realism, and to that we’re thankful. It’s an odd pairing, but it works wonderfully.
At first A Young Doctor’s Notebook is clever and fun, but later on come some truly dramatic moments that merited its inclusion in this list. So if you haven’t seen it and need some quirky gore in your life, look no further. I’ve actually written at length about this show in this post.
#01 Masters of Sex
So I am yet to finish watching Masters of Sex (about halfway through its final season), but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great show! One of my favourites of all time, in fact. First of, there’s that clever play with the title. Masters is actually the main character’s last name, Dr. William Masters (Bill), played by acting demi-god Michael Sheen, who together with Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) leads a ground-breaking research on human sexual response. It is based on true events from the lives of the actual Masters and Johnson, whose work greatly contributed to the 60s sexual revolution in the US.
Turns out, not only the historical context is incredibly rich and fascinating, but also they had quite a scandalous private life that works wonders on screen! I guess I know what I’ll be watching tonight.
What are your favourite medical dramas?
Creator at Returning Videotapes, Chick with Accent on the Across The Universe Podcast, Cary Grant devotee.