It’s been five years since our favourite not-so-good doctor, Dr. Gregory House, left our TV screens for good when House ended after a pretty epic, eight season run. Here in Canada we celebrated the show’s success not just because it gave North America the likes of Hugh Laurie, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer and Olivia Wilde, but because it was also created by Canadian writer and producer, David Shore.
Don’t get us wrong, we love us some Grey’s Anatomy and Code Black, but we’ve been waiting for another great, new medical drama that not only gives us unique cases-of-the-week, but that also sets up another atypical surgeon situation the way that House set up its leading man.
Finally, we have that show. The Good Doctor (Monday, 10 p.m. ET on CTV) revolves around Dr. Shaun Murphy (Bates Motel‘s Freddie Highmore), a new surgical resident at a fancy hospital who also happens to have autism and savant syndrome. And that makes him a rare specimen indeed — one who will definitely have to prove his salt in the coming weeks.
Sure, there are differences between the series too. For starters, House was in charge of a team of doctors while Murphy is a newbie. And for every cynical line House threw at us, Murphy has a sort of positive counter-response in a youthful, optimistic way. Still, if you were a fan of House and you’ve been wanting a new show to fill that void, there are plenty of reasons why The Good Doctor should be your pick.
The behind-the-scenes creativity
As we mentioned, David Shore is the showrunner of The Good Doctor, and he’s definitely a seasoned vet when it comes to creating memorable medical dramas with unique twists. Much like the pilot of House introduced us to a character who didn’t always colour inside the lines, this series sets us up somewhat similarly, with a memorable airport scene that may make you just a teensy bit squeamish. In a good way, of course, because it shows just how creative and cool this series is going to get. No spoilers.
The leading guy
Okay so Hugh Laurie wasn’t exactly an unknown when he started out on House, but it’s fair to say that he became a lot more popular after he led that show for so many years. The same can be said for the much younger actor Freddie Highmore. Sure, he played the creepiest version of Norman Bates we’ve ever seen, for five years on Bates Motel. And yes — he IS that kid from Johnny Depp‘s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But this role is perhaps his most grown up yet, and it suits him entirely. Additionally, both Laurie and Highmore are British, and hide their accents for the roles. Well done.
People speculated for years that House (who was more of a diagnostician than a surgeon) fell on the spectrum; in fact there’s talk that many surgeons in real life do too. Well here, Murphy definitely falls on the spectrum, and so a large part of his task on this series is trying to communicate all of the intricate details he sees about a case to his fellow surgeons. Obviously, his blunt way of speaking and his eerie tendency to be right doesn’t always come off as a winning approach though — especially towards his superiors. Gee. Remind you of anyone else?
There’s an operatic flow to the show
If you’re like us and you loved the musical soundtrack to House, you’ll probably be equally enamoured of the soundtrack on The Good Doctor. There’s a very operatic feel to the song selections, and to the overall sequences as well. There’s just something about a cool surgery and some opera music that go hand-in-hand, no?
The potential for epic guest stars
While both of these series obviously follow men who don’t quite fit in with their counterparts and have few social graces, they also deal with cases of the week, that help reveal either a little more about their personalities and pasts, or about their colleagues’ personalities and pasts. That means there’s a wide opening for tons of cool guest stars. One person we’re definitely hoping for in a future episode is Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-O), who is a producer behind-the-scenes on The Good Doctor and helped develop it after falling in love with the original Korean series on which this show is based.
You really want to see what happens next
Maybe it’s our love for Shore, or perhaps we just really want to see Highmore succeed. Whatever it is, we were totally immersed in The Good Doctor‘s pilot following a very twisty ending and now we can’t wait to see more. The last time we felt this way about a good medical drama was after learning that House’s first patient (The Mentalist‘s Robin Tunney) had a tapeworm from eating old pork, and that after all of that diagnosing all she needed were a couple of simple pills to get better.
It will take more than a couple of pills for the residents of this hospital to get used to Dr. Shaun Murphy, but after seeing his impact in one short hour, we certainly can’t wait for more.