The 10 Best Medical Shows of the Last 20 Years, Ranked

From appendectomies to emergency open heart surgeries, medical shows have become a staple of television over the years. And we can’t seem to get enough. So someone call a code! It’s time to gown up and grab a gurney because we’re ranking the 10 Best Medical Shows of the Last 20 Years.

10. “Chicago Med” (2015-current)

“Chicago Med” is the third in Dick Wolf’s One Chicago series. The show brings us yet another cast of characters we can’t help but fall in love with week after week. What we love so much about the Chicago crew is the familial aspect, from the firefighters to the police officers and now to the doctors. We feel the love as a group of first responders continually put their best foot forward to save lives and make Chicago a better place. (And okay, the eye candy doesn’t hurt either.)

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9. “The Good Doctor” (2017-current)

Based on the 2013 South Korean series of the same name and adapted by actor Daniel Dae Kim and David Shore, The Good Doctor makes #9 on our list. Starring Freddie Highmore as a young autistic savant surgical resident, the series focuses on Shaun Murphy trying to overcome his personal obstacles all the while using his gifts and proving the world wrong. A feat he does more than well enough to earn our #9 spot.

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8. “The Night Shift” (2014-2017)

Removed from our screens far too early, “The Night Shift” takes a twist on the term medical drama. The series takes an interesting turn by setting its doors in a military town. Surrounded by military bases, both patients and doctors alike are frequently former or current members in our armed forces. This adds a whole new meaning to the term “fighting for your life.”

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7. “Nurse Jackie” (2009-2015)

Moving to the darker side of medical dramas, “Nurse Jackie” makes our list for that exact reason. Edie Falco never eases her reign as the hard ass headliner, gifting the audience with a brilliantly honest depiction of addiction throughout the entire series. What makes Jackie special and worthy of the #7 spot is the bravery to never hold back on the raw side of life, yet still focusing first and foremost on the patient.

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6. “New Amsterdam” (2018-current)

With Dr. Max Goodwin at the helm, “New Amsterdam” makes our list at number #6 for its ability to challenge, well, just about everything. Amidst a new regime at New Amsterdam Hospital, this group of doctors are changing their school of thought and fighting the injustices of medicine with a new sense of vigor. With a newfound confidence to bend and break the rules, these medical experts truly are embracing the phrase, “How can I help?”

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5. “The Resident” (2018-current)

The Resident makes our list because of its depiction not just of the medical side of how a hospital is run, but the business aspect as well. What happens beyond the emergency bay and operating rooms? Starring Gilmore Girls and The Good Wife’s Matt Czuchry and Everwood and Revenge’s Emily VanCamp, The Resident explores the inner workings of what makes a hospital financially able to keep its doors open and we can’t get enough.

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4. “House” (2004-2012)

One of the most brilliant minds of his time, what makes Dr. Gregory House different than the rest is his quick wit and ability to focus more on the case and less on the patient. Not that this is always the best approach,. But it can be agreed that watching House work is never a dull process. With 8 seasons under its belt and countless patients saved, Dr. House has proven time and time again that while people might always lie, it doesn’t have to hold you back from greatness. (Well, that and the fact that it is never lupus.)

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3. “Scrubs” (2001-2010)

Known easily as the funniest of the medical shows, we couldn’t have a Top 10 list without “Scrubs.” With a total of nine seasons and an impressive cast of actors, what often set Scrubs apart was the emphasis on medical accuracy. Many fans frequently commended the show on its attention to detail and a lack of focus on just attractive doctors, but rather giving spotlight to smaller hospital roles and allowing fans to smile at what would normally be a tense situation. Worthy of the #3 spot? We think so.

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2. “ER” (1994-2009)

Despite premiering more than 20 years ago, we couldn’t NOT include “ER.” This show is arguably the most noteworthy medical drama in history on our list. With an impressive 331 episodes over 15 seasons on the air, ER helped transform medical dramas into what they are today. Because of its revolutionary plot twists and star studded lineup, the doctors and patrons of County General Hospital are more than deserving of the #2 spot on our Top 10 list.

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1. “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005-current)

Nobody expected this drama originally centering around five interns at Seattle Grace Hospital to turn in to a cultural phenomenon. But Shonda Rhimes’s brain child quickly became a network homerun. From bomb threats to plane crashes, the Seattle set drama constantly makes our jaws drop. Now with 16 seasons under its belt, we can only wonder what the writers have coming next. And we can’t help ourselves! The crew at Grey Sloan takes the cake (or scalpel) and reigns supreme as our Best Medical Show of the Last 20 Years.

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Well, how did we do? Tell us your rankings in the comments and let us know if we’re brilliant attendings or still just lowly interns. And make sure to share any of your favorite medical dramas that we missed!

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Sarah Ruhlman is the founder of SarahScoop.com. Contact: sarah@sarahscoop.com

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