The Top 5 Medical Television Shows

Who among us doesn’t love a good medical drama? Not only do we wind up feeling a bit like doctors ourselves, we become entwined in the personal relationships that are so common in television hospitals, just like those in real life. Medical dramas appeal to our interest in diseases and the interworkings of hospitals and feed our fascination with doctors. See how your favorite Doc shows stack up to the top 5 of all time.

Ben Casey – This show ran from 1961-66, and paved the way for nearly all medical drama shows to come. Starring the very manly Vince Edwards as Dr. Casey, the show, along with Dr. Kildaire, starring Richard Chamberlain, which ran during the same years, made medical dramas extremely popular viewing. Dr. Casey was a young and idealistic surgeon. Both a comic strip and comic book were created of the show. In 1988, a television movie, The Return of Ben Casey, starring the original actor, aired in syndication. Ben Casey is considered the foremost pioneer in medical television aimed at entertaining the viewer.

Marcus Welby, MD – This show, starring Robert Young as family practitioner, Dr. Welby, ran from 1969-1976. The show was interesting because Dr. Welby was an older doctor with an unorthodox way of treating patients. His sidekick, Dr. Kiley, played by James Brolin, was far younger, but also more traditional in the way he practiced medicine. Many storylines centered upon the conflicts arising between the methods of the two practitioners.

St. Elsewhere – Running from 1982-88, this show brought medical drama back to television after losing popularity for a few years. Though it was never a very highly ranked show on the Nielsen ratings, it had a big following. The show centers around a decaying Boston hospital, and offered some very serious subject matter, along with some dark humor. This show launched the career of Mark Harmon, who played the womanizing Dr. Caldwell.

ER – ER has run since 1994 and has its final season ending in 2009. This is the premiere hospital drama that has launched a thousand acting careers, including that of George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wylie and Julianna Marguiles. The show’s claim to fame is its edgy and realistic medical story lines- at first considered too realistic for some.

Grey’s Anatomy – The title of this medical drama is a play on the classic medical textbook “Gray’s Anatomy”, with the name spelled Grey to reflect that of one of the principal characters. On the air only since 2005, the show has the reputation of being a bit of a medical soap opera. However, in spite of the complex romantic plots that abound on the show, there are some very cutting edge medical situations explored, as well.

Throughout the age of television, medical dramas have remained a popular choice for viewers. They have even provided a bit of medical education for many lay people over the years. There are certainly many more wonderful medical dramas that have aired throughout the years – in fact too many to list them all!

Guest Blogger Profile:
Phyllis Zerkle is a blogger and enjoys writing about medical career topics, such as how to research and choose among x-ray technician degrees, job and education tips, and more.


Linda said...

excellent article... believe it or not but I have at least seen one show on each of the dramas written about. You certainly can see the difference in medicine as well throughout the years.

raynopss said...

Great for you, Linda! :)

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