Since the inception of television many decades ago, viewers of all ages have always enjoyed hospital-based shows and living vicariously through sexy, talented and often-revered doctors (and nurses) who spend their days saving lives in fictional and non-fictional towns and cities all over the country. All TV fans probably have their favorite doctor/hospital-themed show, and whether it’s a comedy or a drama; still on the air or cancelled, your favorite hospital show has most likely left you with many fond memories.
Here are the top ten hospital shows of all time (in no order) according to the New York Daily News online:
- General Hospital—What many consider to be the most popular soap opera of all time has been on the air over 45 years on ABC. The 1981 wedding between favorite couple, Luke and Laura, was the most-watched daytime television event in history. There are General Hospital fans out there who claim they have watched this soap almost daily since its premiere in April 1963. Wow.
- House—Currently in its sixth season on Fox, this hugely popular, hospital-themed hit stars British actor Hugh Laurie as genius diagnostician, Dr. Gregory House. The abrasive, Vicodin-dependent House clashes with just about every colleague he comes into contact with but redeems himself each week when, in the last few minutes of the show, he figures out which dread disease the patient is suffering from and saves the day.
- ER—Many fans were devastated when this NBC hit hospital drama ended after 15 seasons in 2009. With stars like George Clooney, Noah Wylie, Juliana Margulies and Anthony Edwards getting their first taste of real fame during the course of this hit series’ run, ER fans will never forget the romance between Dr. Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway; Dr. Mark Green’s losing battle with brain cancer; and Dr. John Carter’s addiction to pain pills following a Valentine’s Day stabbing by a schizophrenic patient.
- Nurse Jackie—This Emmy®-winning Showtime hit about a wife, mother and nurse addicted to prescription pain medication premiered in 2009 and is going strong after three successful seasons. Fans of Nurse Jackie are eagerly awaiting the premiere of season four in February 2012. Edie Falco is brilliant (just as she was in The Sopranos) in the title role of Nurse Jackie Peyton. If you are a DISH Network customer and currently do not get premium channels, you should look into getting Showtime if only for this hospital show that you will be “addicted” to in no time at all.
- Grey’s Anatomy—Currently in its eighth year, this season of the ABC hospital hit stars Ellen Pompeo (Dr. Meredith Grey) and Patrick Dempsey as married colleagues facing difficult challenges including a troubled marriage due to an unethical decision Dr. Grey made at work that brought shame to Seattle Grace. The couple’s problems also include a possible failed adoption of an infant girl from an African nation due to their living separately and Meredith’s recent career mistakes. The medical storylines are factually accurate and the acting is sound; Chandra Wilson is brilliant in the role of Dr. Miranda Bailey. With so many unforgettable characters and plot twists, this show has a loyal fan following unlike many shows on TV.
- M*A*S*H—This CBS hit set during the Korean War premiered in 1972 and was one of the most popular shows of all time. It ran for 11 years, and the series finale in 1983 was the most-watched television episode in TV history at the time. With an all-star cast including Alan Alda, Loretta Swift, Jamie Farr and Mike Farrell, M*A*S*H will definitely go down in history as one of the most beloved hospital-themed shows of all time.
- St. Elsewhere—If you were in your teens, twenties or thirties in the 1980’s, you probably fondly remember this wonderful hospital show with its strong ensemble cast including then-rising stars Denzel Washington, Howie Mandel, Ed Begley, Jr. and Alfre Woodard. During its six-year run, St. Elsewhere won thirteen Emmy® awards.
- Doogie Howser, M.D.—, The still lovable Neil Patrick Harris charmed TV viewers at a very young age when he earned the title role in this ABC hospital comedy-drama about a child prodigy doctor coming of age after earning his medical degree at the age of 14. During its four-year-run from 1989-1993 “Doogie” learned how to drive, lost his virginity, saved lives, and made us laugh and cry each week for four years. Thanks, Doogie!
- Trapper John, M.D.—This M*A*S*H spin-off ran from 1979-1986 on CBS and starred Pernell Roberts and major 80’s heartthrob Gregory Harrisonas Chief of Surgery and young partner, respectively, at San Francisco Memorial Hospital. Fans may remember the gorgeous Dr. Gonzo Gates (Harrison) lived in a motor home in the hospital parking lot. (Were salaries really that low in the 80’s?).
- Marcus Welby, M.D—This classic ABC medical drama starring Robert Young as the likable, yet unconventional family practitioner, premiered in 1969 and ended in 1976 and was known for its intelligent, mature handling of sensitive issues such as drug addiction, depression and sexual disorders. James Brolin played Welby’s younger colleague, Dr. Steven Kiley, and both actors (Young and Brolin) won Emmys® in 1971.
To get your fix of hospital dramas, tune into Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays on ABC at 9:00 EST, House on Fox Mondays at 9:00 EST, and Private Practice Thursdays on ABC at 10:00 EST. Contact DISH Network today or visit our website to see all our amazing DISH Packages.