by Giulia Bankov April 08, 2019 4 min read

Love them or hate them, medical dramas are and have been for a while now taking over TV prime time. I have to admit, while I have always been a fan of them, what with having wanted to do medicine since my early teenage years and finding comfort in a world so “familiar” and desired by sitting in front of the TV and binging on medical shows for days, watching them now while in med school, has only gotten better. Suddenly, I understand some fraction of the terminology they use, and, on a particularly good day, even manage to catch a mistake in the plot. If nothing else, that surely is one way to boost your self-esteem for upcoming exams! Here we have compiled a list of current medical TV shows about doctors for you to give a go and channel your inner Ellen Pompeo.


1. The Good Doctor

If a brilliant but misunderstood by his peers doctor is not the epitome of what makes a successful medical TV drama (remember House?), I don’t know what is. Currently on its second season, the series is based on a South Korean original of the same name. The show focuses on young Dr Shaun Murphy, an autistic surgeon with a savant syndrome, able to recall huge amounts of information and note down the minutest of details. And if that doesn’t sound intriguing enough to give it a go, within 10 minutes of its pilot, he already saves a kid at an airport by inserting a self-made chest tube consisting of a whiskey bottle and a tube from the back of a soda machine. What?!


2. The Resident

A brand new medical show that only premiered about a year ago, The Resident got widely known for starring none other than Logan Huntzberger (and if that reference escaped you, I just might have another TV soap opera recommendation for you) as an internist resident (more or less the American equivalent of a specialist registrar in the UK). From the very first episode you can see the problematicity with some of the resident’s decision, but then again - we watch medical shows for the drama, not for the accuracy, right? It is a great and entertaining way of portraying some of the ethical dilemmas people in medicine face every day, shows interesting cases that can be seen in the emergency room and internal medicine and explores routine problems arising from hospital bureaucracy. 

3. New Amsterdam

Another brand new medical drama that only started a few months ago, New Amsterdam is a unique show in that, while it follows doctors in their everyday work and decisions accompanying that, the focus of the show as its main character, rather than a full-time practicing doctor, is the medical director and Chief of Medicine of the hospital. As such, we are presented with a lot more healthcare management decisions that have to take into account not only patients’ interests, but the hospital and its staff too on top of all the regular practice of medicine that we get to see. Think Grey’s Anatomy with a shifted focus on Richard in his younger years - I would certainly watch that spin-off, and until then - there’s New Amsterdam.

4. Chicago Med

Having seen a bit of Chicago Med, the most accurate way I can think of to describe it so far, is modern day E.R. And once again, if those words speak nothing to you, it seems that you’re getting a lot more than the 5 medical drama shows you bargained for, as I threw that one in just now for free. Chicago Med is currently on its fourth season and follows the doctors in an emergency medicine department, and as is currently the trend with other American TV dramas, frequently crosses over with characters from its two sibling shows, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire. In fact, some real doctors on social media have reacted to all these medical shows currently out there and have dubbed Chicago Med as one of the more medically shows currently on TV.


5. Grey’s Anatomy

No list of medical dramas must-watch is ever complete without an honorary mention of the best medical TV show out there - Grey’s Anatomy. Having started in 2005 and currently on its 15th season, this is one of the longest-running medical dramas ever. Following the interns’ professional and personal lives through thick and thin throughout their years as surgical trainees at Seattle Grace Hospital (later on also known by some other seventy-two names), it has become a crucial part of mine and many others daily routine. For those who have grown up with this medical (comedy) drama like I did, you’ll know what I mean when I say, in times of stress, going back to one of the classic episodes has always been as reassuring as visiting an old friend who knows you so well. For those who are yet to start watching it - you are about to embark on a wonderful journey and words can’t describe how envious I am of what you are about to experience.

Indeed, the day of the final episode will come where we will all have to face the end of an era, but until then I plan to live in denial and give you yet another bonus: if you love drama and can’t get enough (or are just squeamish and not a fan of the idea of surgery as your future medical field), Grey’s Anatomy creators also created a fantastic 6-season-long spin-off, called Private Practice. It’s set in sunny Los Angeles, deals with complex medical ethics problems on a daily basis and has McDreamy’s brilliant neonatal surgeon ex-wife starring in it - happy binging! 
So there you have it, 5 (or more) medical TV dramas for you to start watching if you can’t wait to embark on the journey that is med school. If you have any questions, email us at


Giulia Bankov
Giulia Bankov

Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Amsterdam.

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