Welcome back to our TV Preview series! In this half of said series, Emily, Kandis, Mandy C. and I will take a look at shows featured in our TV Preview: New Friends post, and let you know what we think you should—and shouldn’t—be watching.
Warning! Possible spoilers ahead.
The Good Doctor
Premiered: September 25 on ABC (Watch online.)
A young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome joins a prestigious hospital and has to prove the naysayers wrong.
Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy
Richard Schiff as Dr. Aaron Glassman
Hill Harper as Dr. Horace Andrews
Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neil Melendez
Antonia Thomas as Claire Browne
Beau Garrett as Jessica Preston
Faces That Might Become Familiar (If You Keep Watching)
Chuku Modu as Dr. Jared Unger
Mandy C.: Freddie Highmore is a really good actor. I can’t be completely certain that he’s doing an Autistic person justice, but from my limited experience, he seemed to be. The character was so different than the roles I’ve seen him play before, and in my eyes that’s a clear indicator that someone knows what they’re doing. I also appreciate that the show’s main character isn’t a perfect human being. It’s important to show the variety of the human condition, particularly conditions like Autism that are often misunderstood.
Stephanie: I feel like I am not quite qualified to say this, but it seemed like Freddie Highmore did a good job portraying an autistic person in a fairly realistic way? It didn’t make me cringe, basically. I liked Claire (I enjoyed that actress in Netflix’s Love Sick), although I am wondering if she’s there to be Shaun’s friend or potential love interest. The parts with Shaun’s brother and family were simultaneously sweet/sad/horrifying (the BUNNY, you guys! All the parts with the bunny, OMG). I enjoy the relationship between Shaun and the hospital president, and seeing what will come of that (did he take Shaun in way back when?).
It's Not Me, It's You
Mandy C.: I worry that the Shawn’s Autism will become nothing more than a gag for the show’s plot to revolve around. There’s a fine line to walk when portraying disabilities and conditions, and it can get ugly really quickly. (But I do have to give ABC props for proving that it can be done, and well, with Speechless, so there’s a precedent at the station that might mean good things.) I’m also not typically a medical procedural fan, and the number of times I teared up during The Good Doctor’s pilot is not an indication that I’d actually enjoy watching this show. Shawn has not had a happy life, and the way he’s treated by the majority of other people in the show made me really hate everyone.
Stephanie: Aaaaall the parts in the board room were so, so bad. It was a treacly mixture between rah-rah anyone can do anything optimism, overtly jerkish behavior (no way anyone would’ve been that forthright in saying they wouldn’t hire an autistic person--they’d certainly couch it in more PC/HR-compliant phrasing), and mansplaining autism for the somehow one uninformed person out there who doesn’t know what it is and yet would still tune into this show. There wasn’t enough doctoring in this pilot; there was too much Sherlock-esque pop-up anatomy graphics to supplement Freddie staring off into the distance to imitate recall. And, reader, I laughed when the biggest naysayer in the boardroom was somehow swayed by Freddie’s “why I want to be a doctor speech” enough that he was also clapping along by the end of it. NOPE.
Let's Do This Again
Mandy C.: I don’t think I’ll be watching again. The show’s just really, really heavy, and I’m not looking for more of that in my life right now. I hope it does amazingly well, however, and opens lines of important dialogue. It’s just not for me.
Stephanie: I liked House; I’m a person who will stick with Grey’s Anatomy until the bitter, bitter end (...which is when again, ABC?) and I’m currently going through ER reruns like it’s my job some nights, so it’s safe to say I’m into medical dramas. You’d think from my critiques I’d be all HELL NO to this show, and I likely still will, but I also feel that my residual like for some of the actors will lead me to watch another episode or two before I make a final diagnosis.
Did you watch? If so, let us know your thoughts below!