These days, an argument could be made that television has surpassed film in terms of storytelling. You only need to look at a series like Game of Thrones for proof of that but one genre which works particularly well on the small screen are medical dramas, particularly those coming out of America. It’s an area they’ve always excelled in as you can see below.
One of the newest additions to that realm is The Night Shift. Focusing on a group of doctors tasked with caring for their patients during, well, the night shift, it makes for great viewing.
With Season 4 set to premiere on Sony Channel this Wednesday, we’ve decided to take a look at what we think are the five best medical dramas of all-time. Some are classics and other are quite a bit newer but once you’ve finished catching up on The Night Shift, all of these are well worth your time!
5. The Night Shift
It seems appropriate to start with this series as we’re celebrating the release of season four, especially as it stands a very good chance of surpassing many of the other medical dramas listed here. Following the story of a night shift doctor at San Antonio Memorial, lead T.C. Callahan is joined by a very diverse and fun group of supporting characters.
It’s up to them to keep T.C. out of trouble, a task which isn’t always easy! Putting a focus on the night-shift helps the series stand out from other medical dramas and the fact this group of doctors are so tight nit makes following them all the more compelling and satisfactory. If you’re behind on this, now is definitely a good time to start catching up.
4. Grey’s Anatomy
Later seasons of Grey’s Anatomy may have failed to live up to what came before but as a successor of sorts to a certain other medical drama we’ll talk about a little later in this feature, it did a lot of good. Finding a good balance of romantic drama and medical cases, the show delivered in a lot of ways, particularly in terms of its diverse and exciting cast.
One of the best things about Grey’s Anatomy was how it essentially reversed gender roles, particularly in comparison to shows of the same ilk. The female characters were career driven and reluctant to get married, while the men were there to propose and even offer to put off work to look after their kids. The show was different and that’s what made it great.
Scrubs may have been a comedy but make no mistake about it, the show delivered again and again in terms of drama. While the show’s characters may have had fun thanks to hilarious fantasy sequences and the mysterious Janitor, it never shied away from making us care every bit as much about the patients (who didn’t always make it) as the main cast.
As far back as season one, Scrubs consistently succeeded in ensuring we cared about those being treated in Sacred Heart Hospital. The episode where Dr. Cox mistakenly has organs infected with rabies transplanted into his patients was heartbreaking as we learned firsthand what one mistake could do to a medical professional. This show was amazing.
When it comes to medical dramas, we’re willing to bet that one of the first shows that springs to your mind is ER. Running for fifteen years, the show dominated NBC and received a whopping (and record-breaking) 123 Emmy nominations. Those were well-deserved especially as it delivered engaging and shocking storylines to keep us hooked.
Following the personal and professional lives of those working in the ER, it boasted an impressive cast (including George Clooney; not that you could forget about his work here) and had an inventive style which helped it stand out from the crowd. Quentin Tarantino even directed an episode and it’s shocking that this series has never been rebooted.
House told the story of Dr. Gregory House, a surly physician with a permanent limp which frequently played an impact in the decisions he made while saving lives. Addicted to painkillers and more interested in the unique and rare afflictions faced by his patients than the people themselves, House frequently alienated and hurt those who surrounded him.
Despite that, his journey was still an interesting one to follow even if it did take until the finale for him to find some sort of redemption. The most interesting thing about the series was the fact that the medical conditions it tackled were so unusual and unique but all 100% real. This series dominated the mid-2000s and arguably hasn’t been topped since.
The UK premiere of the fourth season of The Night Shift will air every Wednesday from 7th September on Sony Channel.