TV Article

Top Docs

EW picks the 10 best medical TV shows ever. From '60s rerun-resident ''Ben Casey'' to this year's new British import ''Bodies''

M*A*S*H (1972-83)
The funny-harsh Korean War-set series was always daring: It killed off a beloved character and silenced its laugh track for the docu-style ep ''The Interview.''

St. Elsewhere (1982-88)
A trailblazer: Mark Harmon's womanizing Dr. Caldwell is a prototype for Nip/Tuck's Christian Troy; the finale stunned with that snowglobe ending.

ER (1994-present)
The spurting blood and jumpy camera shocked. Season 1's mournful ''Love's Labor Lost'' may be the single most excruciating episode of the genre.

Scrubs (2001-present)
This charming sitcom exploits the surreality of hospitals with its screwball fantasy seqences. Goofy, yet oddly heartfelt — plus it gave us the affable Zach Braff.

Bodies (2005)
The Office's Patrick Baladi plays a not entirely competent doctor with too much bureaucratic power in this riveting, layered series, debuting on BBC America Sept. 29.

Chicago Hope (1994-2000)
If ER was visceral, Hope was pure brains (courtesy of David E. Kelley) and featured a blazing turn by Mandy Patinkin as the brilliant, House-ian Dr. Geiger.

Wonderland (2000)
Chicago Hope vet Peter Berg created a pointed, poignant drama about the inner workings of a Bellevue-style psych hospital — so creative it was canceled after two episodes.

Ben Casey (1961-66)
This pioneer of medical dramas — which just edged out Richard Chamberlain's Dr. Kildare — is still a treat to watch, thanks to macho star Vince Edwards.

China Beach (1988-91)
The Vietnam-set M*A*S*H, China Beach had intimate story lines and two lovely, off-kilter leads in Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger.

Quincy, M.E. (1976-1983)
Sure, most of the action took place in a coroner's office, but no one did outraged TV doc better than Jack Klugman as irascible, crusading medical examiner Quincy.

Originally posted Sep 16, 2005 Published in issue #841 Sep 23, 2005 Order article reprints