How To Tell All Of TV's Many Medical Dramas Apart

Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC.
If there's one thing that you're going to see on network television, it's people talking quickly and passionately in hospitals. Many of them are in scrubs. And many of those scrubs are worn by conventionally handsome white men with the kind of jawlines that casting agents swear scream, “I was born to lead, wasn’t I?”
Yes, we’ve officially hit peak medical drama. ABC, NBC, and FOX will all air at least one medical drama this season, if not more. Even Netflix has gotten in on the genre. Amid all the sexy hookups (television proves there is nothing sexier than a germ-filled hospital populated with exhausted professionals — hello foremother Grey's Anatomy) and fervent speeches about morality, viewers are left juggling a lot of similar-sounding shows.
To help you figure which medical drama with the handsome doctor who doesn’t care about the rules is which, we came up with a handy guide. Keep reading to learn how to tell TV's many hospital-obsessed series apart, what each one is actually about, and for whom they’re even made. Heal your DVR’s confusion, heal yourself.
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New Amsterdam (NBC)

What is it about?: NBC’s drama centers around a fictional riff on New York City’s Bellevue Hospital (for TV purposes, the hospital is called New Amsterdam). The titular fictional medical facility is the oldest public hospital in America, and it’s been besieged by bureaucracy and red tape… until charismatic, rule-breaking doctor Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is tapped as the new medical director.

Now, Max is ready to shake things up, fire the necessary people, and save some lives. The righteous Max doesn't care about your rules. He's making his own.

Who is it for?: People who miss traditional medical dramas without a lot of the soapy ridiculousness we’ve come to expect. Viewers who still believe there are good people in the world. Everyone who forgets to change the channel after This Is Us.
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The Resident (FOX)

What is it about?: Speaking of charismatic doctors who don’t play by the rules, there’s The Resident. Like New Amsterdam and Dr. Max, The Resident has Conrad Hawkins (Gilmore Girls’ Matt Czuchry), a doctor obsessed with giving his patients the best care no matter what — rules be damned! That's why he has a terrible back tattoo reading “Death before dishonor.”

But, the bedrock of The Resident isn't ill-advised ink — it's interpersonal relationships. Conrad has a flailing romantic relationship with Nic (Revenge’s Emily VanCamp), a nurse at the series’ Chastain Memorial Hospital, and, in the upcoming second season, his dad (Glenn Morshower) is now the head of the hospital. Plus, the rest of the cast has tumultuous, sexy relationships of their own.

Who is it for?: Everyone who thinks New Amsterdam needs more sex. Fans of bad tattoos. Logan Huntzberger stans.
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Life (Netflix)

What is it about?: Netflix is getting into the medical drama game with Korean drama Life. The series follows a hospital that is caught between doctors desperate to protect its patients and stay true to ethical beliefs and the bureaucrats looking to fill their bank accounts. Also, as the trailer suggests, there may be a deadly malpractice cover-up or two afoot.

Who is it for?: Netflix viewers who aren’t afraid of subtitles. People who are ready to break past the “handsome white man who doesn’t play by the rules” mold. Viewers who aren’t terrified of blood.
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The Good Doctor (ABC)

What is it about?: Doctor Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is a good doctor. He also bucks the judgmental views of his hospital colleagues who are wary of working with a surgeon on the autism spectrum — because he's that good of a doctor.

Who is it for?: This Is Us fans. People who wish This Is Us took place in a hospital. Those of us who already love Antonia Thomas from Lovesick (watch Lovesick, people!).
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Chicago Med (NBC)

What is it about?: The lives and travails of the doctors in NBC’s juggernaut Chicago franchise. Of course, these stories cross into the other Chicago series: Fire and P.D.

Who is it for?: People who enjoy NBC’s Chicago Extended Universe — now on one night!
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Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

What is it about?: It’s been 13 years and 14 seasons — you should know what Grey's Anatomy is about by now. If not, please understand Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is simply the greatest TV doctor who ever lived and, for some inexplicable reason, terrible or sexy — and sometimes terribly sexy — things keep happening to her place of business.

Who is it for?: People who love long Netflix binges (currently there are just under 13,000 minutes of Grey's available to stream). Shondaland stans. Viewers with good taste.

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