I recently found myself in want of easy-to-watch yet still engaging TV series to work my way through. After a brief scroll through the plethora of shows Netflix has to offer I ended up selecting ‘Chicago Med’. In the past, I have often gravitated toward shows of the like, with; Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor, Casualty, and Private Practise, all taking my fancy at some point in time.
As I was watching I realized just how well versed I am in what to expect: Major trauma occurring early on in the episode, minor trauma subplots, and romantic and personal subplots running alongside. Yet, despite this predictability I continually find myself reaching for the remote.
Why is it then, that I and so many others keep coming back to these seemingly ‘overdone’ Genre?
The Number One Reason …
Voyeurism allows us to experience all the excitement of disaster, catastrophe, and pain, to witness the most horrible human events, without any danger of feeling real pain.– Gerald Mast
As naturally curious beings we are drawn to this format of the TV show as a means of learning about our bodies and as a mode of visually consuming information. Medical shows allow their viewers to become engrossed in the drama, trauma, and horror that is presented on screen, all the while from a safe distance. We are able to immerse ourselves in the reality of these shows but when things become particularly gruesome or gut-wrenching there is sanctity in knowing it is but a simulation.
Similarly, this type of curiosity and interest leads people to consume genres alike such as Crime and Police shows. There is something considerably attractive and enticing about being enabled a glimpse of a world you would not otherwise know. The safety and reassurance in the ability to escape or stop if desired is what drives this attraction even further.
Alongside the general desire to be passive observers; Medical Dramas succeed through their subtle and effective adaptions to target various subsects of viewers.
For example, people working in the Medical field have suggested that shows such as; Scrubs, House, ER, are all largely successful in capturing a realistic and authentic depiction of the medical world. Therefore, these shows have a larger audience of people more acquainted with the medical scene and enjoy this familiarity and relatability. Whilst, on the other hand, shows such as; Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practise, The Resident, General Hospital, and The Good Doctor, do not demonstrate the same level of medical accuracy. However, they are highly rated in terms of entertainment value. So, they attract an audience that is not so familiar with the medical scene but is nonetheless enticed by the drama and gore that is portrayed.
Finally, this desire to observe is further perpetuated by the fact there are so many possible approaches. Whilst the general format of these shows is often predictable; there is an almost infinite combination of different subplots, ailments, and characters that can appear within the hospital setting. Viewers take delight in this expansive realm of possibility as it offers an attractive quality of suspense and thrill. In this way, Medical Dramas continue to interest audiences and urge them to come back for more.
All in all, being able to take an interest in our bodies, how they work and how things can go wrong is why Medical Shows prove so valuable. What’s more, the exhilaration; all from the safe and comfortable distance of your living room couch, continually proves to be very lucrative. So, for as long as people have an interest and need to passively observe these scenes; medical dramas will not be overdone.
But what do you think; Are Medical Dramas overdone?