Top 10 Best Medical Drama TV Serials

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How often have you watched in tears, as a character who you were introduced to less than half an hour back fights for his/ her life, as a life threatening disease engulfs them, while doctors around do everything in their power to save them? Dramas with medical themes have their own attractive aura, as you try to make sense of a world full of people dedicating their lives to saving others’. The delicate handling of each patient, and the characters of the doctors and medical staff , the heart stopping moments when you watch a surgery; all add to the mystique of a good medical show. With several medical dramas that have entertained us, here is a list of the top ten medical serials of all time.

10. Medical center

Medical Center

Medical Center

Set in an unnamed university hospital in Los Angeles this medical drama had the central characters Dr. Paul Lochner Chief of staff played by James Daly and fellow surgeon and Dr. Joe Gannon played by Chad Everett. Eventually the character of Nurse Wilcox played by Audrey totter also gained prominence in 1972.  Dr.Gannon was much younger than Dr. Lochner, and the theme of the series was the constant conflict between the two due to differing viewpoints. Where Dr.Gannon represented youth, Dr. Lochner embodied experience, as they treated patients and managed their personal lives. It was first aired on CBS in 1969 and came to an end after 7 seasons in 1976.

9. Private Practice

Private Practice

Private Practice

A spin-off of grey’s anatomy and having the same creator Shonda Rhimes, this serial started in 2007 revolving around the life of Dr Addison Montgomery who played an important part in Grey’s anatomy in the first and second seasons before her character leaves Seattle grace hospital to work at Seaside Wellness Center (formerly Oceanside Health & Wellness Group) where private practice takes off. Initially delving into Addison’s attempt to adjust to this co-op private practice with a completely different atmosphere than a hospital to slowly progressing into the lives of all other characters; it shows how the doctors deal with patients while trying to manage everyday life. With mixed reviews in the beginning it managed to create a huge fan following as well as won and got nominated for several tele awards. It ended in January 2013 with its final sixth season putting an end to an amazing series.

8. Scrubs

Scrubs

Scrubs

Created by Bill Lawrence in 2001, Scrubs was a comedy medical series which dealt with the lives of the employees of Sacred Heart teaching hospital and their difficult situations in life as well as medical troubles, with humor. The main character was medical intern John “J.D.” Dorian, played by Zach Braff and the supporting cast included his fellow interns Elliot Reid who plays his friend and love interest, Christopher Turk; his best friend since college, Perry Cox the harsh attending Physician and their mentor, the Janitor, Carla Espinosa the head nurse and Turk’s love interest, and  Bob Kelso the cold, heartless Chief of medicine. With a tendency to theatrize situations , the show presents J.D’s  daydreams and imaginary scenarios which provides for much of the comedy, apart from  Janitor’s hatred for J.D and their constant attempt to outwit each other, Cox’s constant ridicule and sarcastic treatment of J.D and Elliot’s neurotic nature. New characters and themes were introduced from the 7th season onwards, when several main characters also left. A popular show with several awards to its credit, it finally ended with the 9th season in 2010.

7. ER

ER

ER

The start of an epic acting career for George Clooney, ER was An American medical drama series, which began in 1994 to run successfully for a record 15 seasons to end in 2004. Created by Michael Crichton, a novelist based on his own experiences as a resident physician in an emergency room, it was about the emergency room of County General Hospital in Chicago. the original cast when it began in 1994 had consisted of the doctors Dr. Mark Greene played by Anthony Edwards , Dr. Doug Ross played by George Clooney , Dr. Susan Lewis as Sherry Stringfield , Eriq La Salle as Dr. Peter Benton ,Medical students john Carter played by Noah Wyle and Jing Mei played by Ming Na and Carol Hathaway played by Julianna Margulies as a nurse. With the ensuing seasons several characters left and many more joined, with many recurring cast members as well, playing the parts of support staff, nurses and paramedics. Typically set in the hospital, the show is credited for making its viewers aware of several important topics like the condition of Congo and Darfur, HIV and AIDS, organ transplants, racism, gay rights and human trafficking.

6. Bones

Bones

Bones

A crime cum medical drama, this successful series is based on the offbeat medical science of forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology. Each episode centers upon the solving of an FBI case by the main lead characters of Special Agent Seeley Booth played by David Boreanaz and the forensic anthropologist Dr.Temperance  Brennan  called “Bones” by Seeley, played by Emily Deschanel. Apart from the main lead the crime solving team consists of :an entomologist and an expert on spores and minerals, a former archaeologist turned administrator of the Jeffersonian Institute where the team works, a pathologist, a psychologist and Dr Brennan’s assistant.  Apart from the intense crime cases, the show’s USP is the dynamic between the lead pair with opposing views on faith and science. There are elements of comedy with Bones’ lack of social skills and emotion which makes her character so endearing as well. The show has come to be associated with her famous catchphrase, “I don’t know what that means”, in response to popular culture references. The series is created by Hart Hanson and based on the works of Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist on whom the character of “bones” is loosely based. Its 9th season was recently announced and is going to be aired on September 16th, 2013.

5. House MD

House MD

House MD

An American medical drama which ran for 8 successful seasons from 3004 to 2012 the show was based on the central character of Dr Gregory House, played excellently by Hugh Laurie who works at Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey mentoring a team of diagnosticians. A quirky, anti-social protagonist, this genius, drug –addicted doctor is the storehouse of sarcasm and condescension and has a famous catchphrase, “everybody lies”. The episodes revolve around Dr House attempting to diagnose a patient’s illness based on his/her symptoms along with his diagnosticians whom he constantly berates. His approach to finding the illness is unconventional to say in the least and he is nearly always right with unsurpassable logic. His drug addiction is shown to be to a drug Vicodin which he makes his best friend Dr. James Wilson played by Robert Sean Leonard, head of the Department of Oncology prescribe for him. He takes to relieve pain caused due to a leg injury which forces him to use a cane. Apart from the medical theme, the show deals with his disagreements with his team, and the dean of medicine Dr Lisa Cuddy due to his high handed, difficult nature. A winner of several awards including nine people’s choice awards, house makes for an amazing watch as a character you will love to hate.

4. All Saints

All Saints

All Saints

One of Australia’s most popular dramas which gained popularity in UK, Ireland and Belgium, All Saints began in 1998 to have a successful run of 12 seasons before coming to an end in 2009. Created by Jo porter this medical drama is set in all saints western general hospital in Sydney specifically focusing on ward 17 known as garbage ward since it takes in more patients than it should; and the lives of doctors and nurses who worked there. With several main casts, Yvonne ‘Von’ Ryan played by Judith McGrath has been the central character and the only one who was with the show the entire 12 seasons. With a loss in popularity in 2004, the show was revived with a new setting by a shift from ward no 17 to the emergency room and the inflow of several main and supporting casts. During its final season, the series was further revamped with the introduction of the medical response unit, which included a medical emergency helicopter, hence the change in name to All Saints: Medical Response Unit.

3. Casualty

Casualty

Casualty

Still up and running, this medical drama series which began in 1986 has had 28 seasons, making it one of the longest running TV series! Set in Holby city hospital, it was created by Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin. Some of the stars who appeared in casualty went on to become famous actors such as Kate Winslet, Orlando Bloom, Parminder Nagra, Sadie Frost, Ray Winstone, Robson Green , Brenda Fricker. Originally featuring a cast of ten major characters in the first series consisting of nurses, receptionist, consultant, paramedics, porter and a senior house officer, the show dealt with the lives of the medical staff of the hospital as they work in the busy emergency department of the hospital which later changed with time. A highly popular show it has had several spin –offs most notably holby city based in the same hospital but different characters; which has seen several crossovers and mixed episodes called Casualty@Holby City.

2. Grey’s anatomy

Grey's anatomy

Grey’s anatomy

An American medical drama, this series was created by Shonda Rhimes, and is one of the most popular programs on television, currently running on ABC with 43 minute episodes. With successful 9 seasons to its credit since its conception in March 2005, the tenth season is underway.A story on the life and tribulations of 5 medical interns working at Seattle grace hospital as they balance love, friendship, family and work; it stars Ellen Pompeo in the lead character of Meredith grey, Dr Patrick Dempsey as Dr Derek shepherd, her love interest and her best friend Christina Yang played by Sandra Oh. With intense drama about their personal lives and careers as well as the various doctor-patient situations, it managed to win over audiences with its life like portrayal of a hospital and emotional storyline creating a special place for each well defined multi faceted character. Since the first season, the series has evolved; losing certain characters and bringing in a lot more with several twists and surprises. From regular patient treatments and hospital mergers to bomb blasts, shootouts and near death situations, this show has kept the drama alive. And the best part- the season finale is always off the charts keeping you waiting for the next installment.

1. General Hospital

General Hospital

General Hospital

An American television medical drama, it has won the Guinness record as the longest running soap opera currently in production and the third longest drama after ‘guiding light’ and ‘As the world turns’. It has had 51 seasons and 12886 episodes since it started in 1963 on ABC television network. It told about the 7th floor of the hospital with the central characters Dr. Steve Hardy played by John Beradino, and his friend, Nurse Jessie Brewer played by Emily McLaughlin; their journey as doctors and as people in their day to day lives. Initially , it was set in an unnamed city, which became port Charles in 1976 when new executive producer was brought in to give fresh perspective to the series, which wasn’t doing too well. This brought about the creation of two of the most famous characters, of Luke Spencer played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis played by Laura Webber. Their popular pairing became an obsession and a pop culture phenomenon and it led to the coining of the term the ‘supercouple’ due to the hype and intense public interest they generated; and general hospital became the most watched daytime soap from 1979 to 1988. Eventually branching out into adventure and science fiction, the show had a lot of action as well to keep audiences interested. Credited with bringing to light issues such as HIV/AIDS , sexual responsibility and organ donation , it received praise from national organizations as well, apart from the several awards it won; notably holding the distinction for winning the Award for Outstanding Drama series seven times ! The current script has expanded from just being associated to the hospital to the entire Port Charles.

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