Doctors on display: the evolution of television's doctors

Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2010 Oct;23(4):393-9. doi: 10.1080/08998280.2010.11928659.


Doctors have been portrayed on television for over 50 years. In that time, their character has undergone significant changes, evolving from caring but infallible supermen with smoldering good looks and impeccable bedside manners to drug-addicted, sex-obsessed antiheroes. This article summarizes the major programs of the genre and explains the pattern of the TV doctors' character changes. Articulated over time in the many permutations of the doctor character is a complex, constant conversation between viewer and viewed representing public attitudes towards doctors, medicine, and science.