TelevisionJanuary 31, 2018

The perfect cocktail of medical shows to shoot straight into your veins


To prepare for The Good Doctor arriving to Lightbox next week, Alex Casey breaks down five more of the best medical shows you can binge. 

Just as sure as Chris Warner will reveal an illegitimate child at the dawn of every day, medical shows will forever stroll the corridors of primetime television soaked in blood and tears. Television history has shown that hospitals are the perfect breeding ground not only for disease, but horrendous catastrophe, people at their most emotional and vulnerable, exciting cameos and, of course, just enough pseudo-medical knowledge to keep you up at night.

The latest new medical drama that’s got everyone dabbing their own forehead with a perfectly-folded handkerchief is The Good Doctor. Coming to New Zealand on February 5 exclusively to Lightbox, The Good Doctor follows Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore of Bates Motel), a doctor with autism who struggles socially but has superhero diagnostic skills. It’s also been raking in 17 million viewers a week in the US, making in the number one network TV drama in the land of the free.

To get you prepped and ready on the operating table for The Good Doctor, I’ve had a cruise through the Lightbox catalogue and found five of the best medical shows you can shake a scalpel at. Nurse: the list.


Easily the most iconic use of a cane since Willy Wonka’s big intro, House is the show for fans of prickly brainiacs, complicated cases and tapeworms. Set in Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey, Dr. Gregory House (played by Spice World’s Hugh Laurie) unravels medical mysteries with reluctant help from his colleagues. Word of warning: a real challenge for hypochondriacs.

The Mindy Project

Working in medicine doesn’t have to be all blood and guts, and The Mindy Project is the perfect antidote to the brooding anti-heroes who stalk the halls of so many fictional hospitals. Created by and starring living legend Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project follows her shambolic life juggling her career as a fertility specialist with finding love and wearing at least three really good outfits a day. A must-watch for rom-com fans.

Call the Midwife

Having babies and wearing red is so hot right now, so why not travel back to 1950s East End London to spend some time in a cheery community of nuns who are nurses at Nonnatus House. Inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a nurse and musician in Britain at the time, Call the Midwife explores the lives of the women who bring new lives into the world on the daily. Have a read of our handy Call the Midwife antenatal guide before you get stuck in.


If you’ve finished House and are suffering Hugh Laurie withdrawals, then Chance is ready and waiting. A tad more thrilling than his previous iteration, Chance follows a forensic neuropsychiatrist who is smuggling away some dark secrets of his own. Through his work, Doctor Eldon Chance goes off the clock and gets sucked into a world full of corruption, mystery and mistaken identities. Stick it out for the first few episodes if you feel like… taking a chance… on this one.

Masters of Sex

If Call the Midwife looks at the final step in the reproductive process, then Masters of Sex takes a broader gaze at the state of human sexuality in the 1950s, a time of whacko social change. Set in Washington University, the show charts the groundbreaking research of scientists William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), and their crucial work that would eventually lead to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Aaaaand if you manage to get through those, there’s also British NHS comedy Frankie and ensemble high-octane drama The Night Shift.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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