What’s not to love about Grey’s Anatomy? At least the earlier seasons. I still enjoy the show, though I understand why people are frustrated. (Honestly, my biggest complaint about the show is that Meredith is my least favorite character and she’s kind of important to the show…) But if you’re looking for another medical drama, there are so many out there for the watching. (The show has come back to itself with the shooting and its aftermath.)
Private Practice is the most obvious next choice, as it’s a spin off of Grey’s Anatomy (even having the occasional crossover episode which is always fun). The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that a lot of people don’t like Addison. I don’t particularly like her either and was surprised that they chose her as the character for a spin off, but I don’t really mind her either. I really like Amy Brenneman (sort of crazy psychologist whose plot line just became absolutely absurd but dramatic) and Chris Lowell (Dell, the young, male mid-wife in training) among some of the other cast members so I’m willing to forgive Kate Walsh. And actually, I like her more on Private Practice than Grey’s. Maybe she just needed time to develop as a character. (The show has hit its stride this season with their exploration of rape.)
For another more or less Shonda Rhimes creation, check out Off the Map, which follows a bunch of young, attractive doctors as they work in the jungle. It’s more or less the same show and while some people may not be digging it, I think it’s just as strong as the two shows above. We have the exotic cases solved by doing things like using coconut juice in place of blood and ziplining to meet a patient. It’s got an added action element that makes it fun and different while keeping some of the best elements of Grey’s.
If you are looking for a show you can just binge on, then ER is the obvious choice. Despite it’s ever changing cast, this show was full of drama and compelling characters with some particularly great story lines. It’s finally over, after 15 years, which is quite impressive for a drama show, but it certainly made its mark. It’s not so easy to find these online so you may have to rent or buy the dvds in order to watch, but you will certainly not be lacking in what to watch.
I cannot overemphasize how much I recommend House. I started this show relatively late because I was out of the country when it began, but my friend and I finally resolved to catch up and we basically had House marathons for a few weeks until we were finally up to date. Great decision. The characters are each unique and different (though Mental sort of rips off the model and it is clearly a poor copy with the occasional interesting episode), with a sort of humor and sarcasm that I haven’t really found in other shows. For one thing, it manages to take someone totally obnoxious and make them appealing (think Hannibal Lector, you hate him but you have to watch, but even better because you not only want to watch you cheer him on).
For another new medical show with a different flavor, check our Royal Pains, which features Hank Lawson, a once promising doctor who “made a mistake” when he saved a teenager’s life rather than babysit a stable but important patient who died of complications. When he loses everything his brother takes him to the Hamptons where he becomes a concierge doctor and slowly rebuilds his life. This show was surprisingly well done and only got better as the season went on. With Hank as a concierge doctor rather than a hospital doctor, a lot more liberty is given in the way of story lines and locations, which is nice to see as the creativity level is upped.
And then, on come the nurse centered shows, which are all the rage these days. With HawthoRNe, Nurse Jackie, and Mercy, you have more than your pick of nurse shows. I could not even sit through an episode of Nurse Jackie but other people thought Eddie Falco was brilliant and worth the time. HawthoRNe, though slow at the start, really picked up in the last few episodes and if it keeps up the momentum, could turn into a really strong series. Mercy, which hasn’t started yet is anyone’s guess but it sort of feels like a HawthoRNe rip off, complete with the young, new nurse who doesn’t really know what she’s doing and is still in training. (Vanessa Lenges or Michelle Trachtenberg, who do you prefer? Both do a good job playing pathetic and innocent.)
Finally, the EMT medical dramas. Third Watch, which I enjoyed for a time, lasted six years and would certainly give you something to spend your time on. If you’d prefer to start a new show, then beginning this fall is Trauma, which has been dubbed as the all explosions all the time tv show. It almost looks more like 24 than a medical drama from what I’ve seen of the previews.
Like these shows or think there’s something else that should be on the list?
Look at the other if you like lists, including 24, Full House, Buffy, Friends, Heroes, and Star Trek.
Interested in owning these shows? Check them out at Amazon:
- Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Seasons 1-5
- Private Practice: The Complete First Season and Private Practice: The Complete Second Season
- ER: The Complete Seasons 1-11
- House M.D. Complete Seasons 1-4 DVD Boxed Set and House, M.D. – Season Five
- Third Watch: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2