Medical shows have, for the most part, been successful over the years. Series like Grey's Anatomy, ER and Chicago Med captured the attention of millions of viewers, many of whom were devastated when ER ended in 2009. Though Chicago Med has certainly picked up the slack, there was room for another medical drama, this one focusing on one doctor—much like House, M.D.—rather than a group of doctors.
The September 25th debut of #TheGoodDoctor filled that spot with Dr. Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore) as the lead. Averaging 18.2 million viewers, the series has garnered both criticism and praise for its portrayal of an autistic surgeon who is also a savant.
Created by David Shore, the genius behind House, M.D., The Good Doctor received a full episode order after only two episodes had aired, and now it is the #1 rated drama on ABC. But with only a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, what is it that viewers are seeing that critics aren't?
1. Freddie Highmore's Performance
Fresh off the successful Bates Motel series, which earned him a People Choice Awards as Favorite Cable TV Actor, #FreddieHighmore earned a legion of fans that have followed him to this new endeavor. And he hasn't disappointed them. Whereas in Bates Motel, where we watched Bates' psyche unravel, in The Good Doctor, we see a character deserving of love and understanding. Even at his most unemotional, Highmore brings out the emotion in the viewers. Each episode touches hearts, brings laughter, and tells fans it's okay to be unique. Because that's what Dr. Murphy is—unique.
2. The Supporting Cast
The cast has a large part to play in the reasons viewers keep coming back for more. Comprised of phenomenal actors like The West Wing's Richard Schiff and CSI:NY's Hill Harper, the series brought in actors who bring a wealth of experience to their roles. While Schiff is the compassionate father-figure to Highmore's Murphy, Harper is the unyielding, emotionally stiff chief of surgery who never wanted Murphy to be hired. The give and take adds the right amount of tension when the emotional stakes are already high.
Tamilyn Tomita (Teen Wolf), Nicholas Gonzalez (Resurrection Blvd.), Antonia Thomas (Misfits), Beau Garrett (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) and Chuku Modu (Game of Thrones) round out the diverse cast and bring an extraordinary level of talent to a series that went for the heart starting with the first episode.
3. The Emotional Impact
It's impossible to watch an episode of #TheGoodDoctor without feeling some kind of emotion—be it anger, sadness, or joy. Each week, fans turn in to have their heartstrings tugged, and though they may be weeping when the credits roll, they tune in the next week because the impact resonates with them.
In today's world, it's important to have an outlet that will allow you to laugh, to cry, and to rail against injustice. The Good Doctor allows that as we follow Dr. Murphy's journey through San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.
Watch for yourself and find out why this show is deserving of the views and why, more than likely, it will be on the air for a long time to come.
Have you seen The Good Doctor? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!