From all the different types of TV shows available over the years, medical television shows have been with us for eternity, or at least that’s what it feels like. Whether they’re educational, covering technical aspects of intricate operations, or romanticized into stories about love, treason, career changes, and friendship reconciliations, or even based around murderous crimes, they’re all set in a medical environment where stress and tension will automatically lead to nerve-racking entertainment and drama. While not all of them are exceptionally good, many are worth checking out.
23. Doctor Slump ( 2024-)
How the worst respective slumps of their professional lives bring together two former classmates/rivals Nam Ha-neul, an anesthesiologist, and Yeo Jeong-woo, a plastic surgeon, under the same roof and how their mutual hatred blossoms into love after they become each other’s emotional support systems make this romance-propelled medical Korean drama an entertaining watch. Directed by Baek Seon-woo, ‘Doctor Slump’ stars Park Shin-hye as Nam Ha-neul and Park Hyung-sik as Yeo Jeong-woo. You can stream the show here.
22. Daily Dose of Sunshine (2023)
In the South Korean web series ‘Daily Dose of Sunshine,’ directed by Lee Jae-kyoo and featuring talents like Park Bo-young, Yeon Woo-jin, Jang Dong-yoon, and Lee Jung-eun, the plot unfolds around Jung Da-eun. As a skilled nurse in Myungshin University Hospital’s Psychiatry Department, Da-eun’s professional journey becomes a lens through which the series explores the intricacies of mental health care. Adapted from the Kakao webtoon by Lee Ra-ha, a former nurse, the show delves into the nuanced world of patient interactions, providing a sincere portrayal of compassion, challenges, and human connections in the field of psychiatric nursing. You can watch the show here.
21. The Nurse (2023)
In ‘The Nurse,’ a gripping Danish series, the narrative unfurls when a nurse at Nykøbing Falster Hospital reports her colleague for suspected patient murders. Set in March 2015, the show unveils an unprecedented murder case in Danish legal history. As the police investigate, colleagues reveal long-held suspicions of patient poisonings, raising questions about the silence surrounding the allegations. The series taps into the complexities of healthcare, trust, and the struggle for justice, exploring the profound impact of the nurse’s actions on both her colleagues and the Danish legal system. ‘The Nurse’ unfolds as a tense and riveting portrayal of a chilling medical mystery, and you can stream it here.
20. Botched (2023)
‘Botched’ is a reality show that explores plastic surgeries gone wrong and how two plastic surgeons, Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif, try to fix these disasters. From faces to breasts to stomachs and more, the patients bring the most shocking and heavily botched experiments on their bodies. All these resulted from their own decision to experiment to appear a certain way. By showcasing the treatment and the patient, the show also offers a take on how we look at our physical selves and why it is important to accept the way we are before opting to change the way we look, if at all. You can watch the show here.
19. Human: The World Within (2021-)
If the connection between the body and the mind fascinates you, ‘Human: The World Within’ is the series for you! The fascinating documentary series uses a variety of personal stories from different corners of the world to explore how the complex systems in the human body shape one’s thinking and outlook. The show is narrated by the Lebanese-American radio host, composer, and producer Jad Abumrad. You can watch it here.
18. Doctor Cha Jeong Suk (2023-)
Written by Jung Yeo-rang and directed by Kim Dae-jin and Kim Jung-wook, ‘Doctor Cha Jeong Suk,’ or just ‘Doctor Cha,’ is one of the newest shows on this list, having premiered in April 2023. The South Korean series revolves around Cha Jeong-suk (Uhm Jung-hwa), a housewife who, in her 40s, decides to give her dream career another try by becoming a first-year resident. This decision of hers is underscored by her husband’s (Seo In-ho (Kim Byung-chul)) affairs, her relationships with her personal family and her professional family, and the medical cases that come her way. How she maneuvers through all these is what ‘Doctor Cha Jeong Suk’ chronicles. You may watch the series here.
17. Life (2018)
As is true for other professions, undercurrents of corruption and politics are felt even in the medical field of work. This South Korean series follows a university hospital that struggles to remain true to its ideals as a private corporation takes over its functions. In the show, the team of doctors at the hospital comes together to challenge and stand against the forces that are trying to turn the non-profit hospital into a money-making scheme. You can stream the series here.
16. Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife (2023)
One of the newest medical shows on Netflix, this one tells the real story of notorious Swiss surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, his famous innovative stem cell-infused windpipe transplants, and the tragic outcomes faced by his patients. Directed by Ben Steele, it throws light on the surgeries, the consequences, and the resulting allegations, as well as addresses the consequences of blind faith in medical innovation that poses the ultimate threat. A compelling watch, you can stream ‘Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife’ right here.
15. Lovesick (2014-2018)
‘Lovesick’ is a sitcom that follows Dylan Witter, who is diagnosed with chlamydia. Now, he must contact all his former sexual partners and share the news. Set in Glasgow, the show revolves around Dylan’s relationship with his best friends, Luke and Evie, and their adventures together. Moreover, Dylan, Luke, and Evie also live together, which makes their dynamic all the more interesting. The show gives us a glimpse into how Dylan deals with the fact that he has an STD, albeit using comedic elements to focus on the effect it has on his social life. You may watch ‘Lovesick’ here.
14. Unnatural Selection (2019)
‘Unnatural Selection’ is a documentary series that takes us to a whole new level of “the future is now.” With genetic engineering being more and more accessible, how do we really feel about it? It is this angle that is explored here. The series stirs up debates on biohacking and trait selection; what does it imply when it comes to morals, environment, and the social fabric of society? The realization that one can “edit” the very essence of our being is very unsettling. What most people worry about is that even when we think that we have thought of all the possibilities and challenges that may arise and ways to mitigate them – have we thought of “everything?” You can watch ‘Unnatural Selection’ here to know more.
13. Hospital Playlist (2020-)
‘Hospital Playlist’ is a South Korean series that follows a group of friends who are medical professionals and have been together since their years in medical school. The series has particularly been praised for the way it is written. It highlights the intricacies in the dynamics between the characters, which seem quite organic and relatable. Directed by Shin Won-ho and written by Lee Woo-jung, the show is among the most popular Korean dramas that are renowned globally. You may watch the series here.
12. Medical Police (2020)
‘Medical Police’ follows two doctors who discover a virus that threatens an outbreak of a pandemic. They are hired as government agents who must join the global race to find a cure. Uncovering deep secrets and conspiracy was not what Lola Spratt (Erinn Hayes) and Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel) expected to deal with. Directed by David Wain and Bill Benz, the series is a spin-off of the dark comedy show ‘Childrens Hospital.’ Although the Netflix show is a comedy series, it has interesting elements of crime and medicine. Feel free to check out the series here.
11. The Surgeon’s Cut (2020)
One of the best medical docu-series out there, ‘The Surgeon’s Cut,’ has four episodes, each explored from the POV of a different visionary surgeon who reflects on his/her career and the cases he/she has faced. In this way, the series showcases innovation and compassion in the medical sphere. If you are into medical shows, this one is a must-watch. You can stream it here.
10. Ratched (2020-)
At a time when mental illness is looked at from a pathological point of view, the Lucia State Hospital, a leading psychiatric hospital, hires Nurse Mildred Ratched. She comes across as the epitome of dedication, which is only a facade veiling a deeply disturbed mind. Based on Ken Kensey’s 1962 novel, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ the series highlights the way Nurse Ratched manipulates the mental health care system for her interests. The series sheds light on the fragility of the human mind and the limitations of empirical science when it comes to gauging how the mind works. For psychology lovers, the series will be memorable as it gives you ample to mull over. You can watch ‘Ratched’ here.
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9. Diagnosis (2019)
The human body is a mysterious thing, and even the best of doctors cannot always find out what exactly the problem is with it when some rather challenging cases come their way. What should they do when such a situation arises? Should they try to solve the case using various means that they have studied all these years? Or should they ask the general public for their opinion? If you have been thinking along similar lines, the Netflix original series ‘Diagnosis’ is a show right up your alley.
The medical docuseries follows Dr. Lisa Sanders as she crowdsources the diagnoses for some of the most challenging cases that come her way. Interestingly enough, this show is inspired by a column Dr. Sanders used to write in The New York Times. You can watch the show here.
8. Skin Decision: Before and After (2020)
Skin is considered to be the largest organ of the human body. Apart from being an important sense organ, one can also say it is an important indicator of health. While that is quite true, most of us associate skin health with beauty. Therefore, this docuseries revolves around plastic surgeon Dr. Sheila Nazarian and Nurse Jamie as they assist their clients to feel beautiful and more confident in their skin. Those of you who are interested in learning more about your skin and enjoy watching satisfying transformations might like this unscripted show. You may watch ‘Skin Decision: Before and After’ here.
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7. Call the Midwife (2012-)
Based on the book ‘Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s’ written by Jennifer Worth and published in 2002, ‘Call the Midwife’ is created by Heidi Thomas. Set in the 1950s, it throws light on the functions of a nursing convent named Nonnatus House, situated in London’s East End, through the eyes of 22-year-old Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine). While being exposed to the harsh conditions of East End, Jenny finds solace in the warm hearts of the nuns who serve, including Sister Monica-Joan (Judy Parfitt), Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris), and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter). If you are up for a sentimental show, ‘Call the Midwife’ is a true-to-form pick. You may watch it here.
6. Virgin River (2019-)
Set in the beautiful and serene Virgin River, Melinda “Mel” Monroe moves from a big city to work as a nurse and midwife in a town that desperately needs more professionals like her. With hopes of getting a fresh start in life and leaving behind painful memories, Mel – a nurse practitioner – responds to an advertisement that lands her a job with Vernon “Doc” Mullins in the titular town. Although at the heart of it, the series is a romantic drama, it does not shy away from showing us the various healthcare-related issues that a remote town grapples with. In the show, Mel and Doc have to deal with emergencies creatively and use their presence of mind. You can watch it here.
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5. Lenox Hill (2020-)
This documentary web series follows four medical professionals at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. ‘Lenox Hill’ takes an intimate look at the lives of two neurosurgeons, an emergency room physician and a chief resident obstetrician and gynecologist. The series has been very well received as it not only shares information but shows a very human dimension to the profession.
Taking every day as it comes, the healthcare professionals that feature in the show take us through what goes on in the mind of the person who you put your trust in. It shows us what it means to experience joy, loss, failure, and miracles daily. Without coming to any conclusions regarding the current state of healthcare, the series provides enough information for viewers to develop their understanding. You may watch the series here.
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4. New Amsterdam (2018-2023)
Yet another show based on a book, ‘ New Amsterdam,’ created by David Schulner, is based on the 22012 novel ‘Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital’ by Eric Manheimer. The story centers on Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), who is the new medical director of New Amsterdam Hospital, one of America’s oldest hospitals. However, there is a lot of work to be done to restore its reputation, and Max takes it upon himself to bring about changes in the system for better healthcare, although some of the staff may not like it. To make things more personal, Goodwin has cancer and is a soon-to-be-father whose relationship with his wife Georgia (Lisa O’Hare) is going through a rough phase. The rest of the cast of this medical drama includes Jocko Sims, Freema Agyeman, Janet Montgomery, and Anupam Kher, among others. You can check out the series here.
3. Grey’s Anatomy (2005 –)
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ can easily be considered one of the most popular medical shows of all time. Over the years, the show has won numerous awards and attracted an immense number of loyal fans. It’s an incredibly well-written, thematically ambitious show that will surely find a place in your all-time favorites list. It follows the personal and professional life of Meredith Grey and the medical staff at a fictional hospital in Seattle. You can watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ here.
2. Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak (2020)
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the world have taken more interest in understanding diseases and how they spread. Therefore, the non-fiction show covers a range of topics, including vaccines and research. From the Ebola outbreak to the possibility of an influenza pandemic and efforts to create a universal vaccine to the stance of those against vaccinations – the docuseries discusses it all. While the show is thoroughly informative, it has received praise for its visuals and narrative. It is an intimate look at those who work on the frontlines as the show brilliantly captures the role humanity and dedication play, especially when the going gets tough. You may watch ‘Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak’ here.
1. Coronavirus, Explained (2020)
With Coronavirus being the most discussed topic since 2020, this show provides us with everything you would want to know about the pandemic. It not only looks at the outbreak itself but also shines a light on the various efforts that have been made to bring it under control. The limited series is part of the Explained franchise, which includes titles such as ‘The Mind, Explained,’ ‘Sex, Explained,’ and ‘Money, Explained.’ Moreover, the show is narrated by brilliant personalities J. K. Simmons, Idris Elba, and Laura Linney. You can check out the series here.
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