Hospital Playlist, Grey's Anatomy, Dr Romantic: 8 Intriguing Medical Dramas To Binge Watch
Television shows that depict what’s happening within hospitals return to the limelight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, we round up some of the best series to stream
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many of us wary of going anywhere near medical facilities in fear of contracting the dreaded virus. It has also made us curious about how doctors, nurses and other front liners handle chaotic medical situations on the ground, as well as how they deal with their personal lives with such occupational challenges and hazards. Interestingly, with this fear and curiosity arise a renewed interest in medical dramas. Here, we round up some of them—from old-time favourites to new season releases:
The longest-running American primetime medical drama has just recently capped its 17th season and subsequently renewed for another season by its mother network, ABC. The award-winning series created by television royalty Shonda Rhimes has been giving us an emotional roller-coaster ride since 2005 as it tackles issues surrounding the lives of medical interns, residents and attending physicians as they grow and develop into seasoned doctors while manoeuvring personal and professional relationships.
Who can ever forget Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Sheperd a.k.a McDreamy’s (Patrick Dempsey) love story? Or the many love triangles that surfaced in the story including Addison Montgomery’s (Kate Walsh) dilemma between McDreamy and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) a.k.a McSteamy? These and countless cliffhanger moments across all 17 seasons are worth binging on a long weekend.
Spot and cheer for the Filipina actress Aina Dumlao as she portrays the role of Gerlie Bernardo, a Fil-Am nurse in the finale of Grey's Anatomy's season 17. "The emotional response I've received from my portrayal of Fil-Am nurse Gerlie Bernardo - from fans of the show, Filipinos from all over the world, healthcare workers, patients - has been nothing short of overwhelming. I received messages from Filipino nurses, crying tears of joy because they finally feel seen. Patients have reached out with their stories of how Filipino nurses, still recovering from Covid themselves, fought to come back to work immediately to keep caring for them... just like Gerlie. It’s been an honour to play Gerlie Bernardo ... a character that really just holds up a mirror that reflects back to the world the heroism of Filipino nurses long before Covid," Dumlao tells Tatler.
The emotional response I've received from my portrayal of Fil-Am nurse Gerlie Bernardo - from fans of the show, Filipinos from all over the world, healthcare workers, patients - has been nothing short of overwhelming. I received messages from Filipino nurses, crying tears of joy because they finally feel seen ... It’s been an honour to play Gerlie Bernardo ... a character that really just holds up a mirror that reflects back to the world the heroism of Filipino nurses long before Covid— Aina Dumlao
Hospital Playlist 2
The tenth highest-rated Korean drama in cable television history returns for another season on 17 June 2021. The first season of Hospital Playlist highlighted the lives of five doctors who have been friends since medical school days: Lee Ik-jun (Jo Jung-suk), Ahn Jeong-won (Yoo Yeon-seok), Kim Jun-wan (Jung Kyung-ho), Yang Seok-hyeong (Kim Dae-myung) and the only female in the group, Chae Song-hwa (Jeon Mi-do). In the second season, the show’s director Shin Won Ho says it will strengthen the characters and plot developed in season 1. “It’ll portray the stories and relationships with even more depth,” he tells Korean entertainment and pop culture portal, Soompi. Expect relationship changes, deeper storylines, beautiful chemistry, and a broader mix of emotions drawn from the daily lives of the characters. Viewers are also in for more music from the five-piece garage band, too!
Doctor-X: Surgeon Michiko Daimon
This 2012 Japanese medical drama stars actress Ryōko Yonekura as Daimon Michiko a.k.a. Doctor X, a freelance surgeon working at different university hospitals in Japan. She is depicted as someone who challenges a medical system in crisis, which follows the current laws of the industry. The go-getter doctor does high-risk surgeries that other surgeons won’t dare do, which puts her into conflict with her colleagues. Yonekura won the best actress at the 21st Hashida Awards for this series.
Dr Romantic 1 and 2
If Japan has Doctor X, South Korea has Teacher Kim or Kim sa-bu/Boo Yong-joo (Han Suk-yu), the lead character in the blockbuster hit Dr Romantic 1 and Dr Romantic 2, which tells the story of a fearless triple-board surgeon who helms Doldam Hospital, a fictional small medical facility in Gangwon Province. This series bagged skyrocket ratings and many awards including the 24th SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize for Han Suk-yu and 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Director for Yoo In-sik.
In season 1, Han Suk-kyu is joined by Kang Dong-joo (Yoo Yeon-seok) and Yoon Seo-jeong (Seo Hyun-jin) whom he mentored to become good doctors amidst struggles against politics, power and money.
Season 2 welcomed new characters: 56th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (TV) Ahn Hyo-seop as Seo Woo-jin who plays the role of a second-year general surgery fellow, and Lee Sung-kyung as Cha Eun-jae, a second-year cardiothoracic surgery fellow who was a top student at medical school. Followers are keeping their fingers crossed for another season soon!
This 2019 South Korean medical series is Ji Sung’s come back following the success of his other dramas such as Kill Me, Heal Me (2015), Entertainer (2016), Innocent Defendant (2017), Familiar Wife (2018). Based on the Japanese novel titled On Hand of God by Yo Kusakabe, this tear-jerking drama revolves around issues on euthanasia and how Cha Yo-han (Ji Sung), an arrogant but genius anesthesiologist gets entangled with these issues. Together with his resident, Kang Si-young (Lee Se-young), they try to find the causes of their patients’ pains.
The multi-award-winning actor Ji Sung is also expected to be seen back on TV in July 2021 with his new mystery legal drama, Devil Judge, where he will portray the role of Kang Yo-han a merciless head trial judge.
South Korean actor Lee Jong-suk portrays the character of Park Hoon, a genius cardiothoracic surgeon who attended medical school in North Korea after he and his father Park Cheol (Kim Sang-joong) were expatriated there in his childhood. He fell in love with Song Jae-hee (Jin Se-yeon), however, a tragic fate separated them. Park Hoon returned to South Korea where he started anew as a doctor in Myungwoo University Hospital. In this hospital, he meets a girl who looks exactly like Song Jae-hee. Things get entangled as Park Hoon meets Oh Soo-hyun (Kang So-ra)—a cardiothoracic surgeon and the daughter of the chairman of Myungwoo Hospital—and Han Jae-joon (Park Hae-jin), a Harvard-graduate who plans to take revenge on Myungwoo Hospital.
The Good Doctor
Based on the 2013 South Korean series of the same name, The Good Doctor stars English actor Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy, a young autistic savant surgical resident at San Jose St Bonaventure Hospital. The challenges brought about by his condition put the kind-hearted doctor in a tight spot as he navigates the medical world.
The South Korean version stars Park Si-on (Joo Won) who was discovered to have a genius-level memory and keen spatial skills. He was eventually given six months to prove himself as a pediatric surgery resident despite his atypical mental and emotional condition. Despite the compassion of his colleagues like Cha Yoon-seo (Moon Chae-won) and Han Jin-wook (Kim Young-kwang), the hospital is a cruel and competitive world, and the challenges he faces become more complicated when he falls in love with Yoon-seo.
2019’s 14th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Drama awardee Doctor Prisoner is about a skilled doctor, Na Yi-je (Namkoong Min), who was evicted from his job at a hospital after being accused of medical malpractice. He then starts working in jail, aiming to acquire connections to execute his revenge plans. The drama also stars Kwon Nara as Han So-geum, a psychiatrist at Taegang Hospital who does volunteer work in prison. Joining the powerhouse cast is Park Eun-seok (The Penthouse: War in Life) as Lee Jae-hwan, the second son of the Taegang family who is an infamous troublemaker.