The Good Doctor returns for a second season, September 24th on ABC.
By Jaya Daniel
Freddie Highmore entered our lives when he starred alongside Johnny Depp in such films as Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but made a name for himself starring as Norman Bates in A&E’s Bates Motel. Now he’s switched gears from psychotic momma’s boy to autistic savant in ABC’s The Good Doctor. High on the spectrum, Dr. Shaun Murphy (Highmore) isn’t exactly a medical board’s first choice for a surgical resident. However, with the president of the hospital in his corner (played by Richard Schiff), Shaun gets the opportunity to use his gift to save lives, while becoming a more well-rounded person in the process.
Created by David Shore, it feels very much like a modern day House, only with less arrogance. Dr. Shaun Murphy seems like he’s genuinely trying to be a good doctor, not looking to prove anyone wrong or that he is better than everyone else. More than a simple medical drama, the series also does a really good job of showing Shaun as, not just someone with autism, but as a human trying to understand a world that doesn’t always make sense to him. He doesn’t quite understand the importance of bedside manner or showing compassion when, in the end, he is saving a life. But, the flashbacks we see of him with his brother show us that he wants to, not just feel all of that, but understand it. He’s happy to do the grunt work, such as being the suction guy during surgery, rather than actually performing life-saving surgery, as long as it means the patient will be healed. He’s a character that is not only interesting but someone you root for. His quirks don’t feel forced, as if trying to make a point, but a simple reflection of who he is.
Differentiating itself from other medical procedurals out there, the series also uses an interesting graphical element to help the audience see what’s running through Shaun’s mind as he comes up with a diagnosis or answers to some kind of medical mystery. Aside from that, though, it’s just like any other medical show with on-call room hookups, drama among physicians and medical cases that transcend the norm. Also, Highmore’s voice is something that can’t go unmentioned. I understand being mono-toned, but there is something about his pitch that takes it to a whole new level. I get a very heavy Kermit the Frog vibe, which I find distracting.
A big fan of House (or at least the earlier seasons), but not of medical shows in general, The Good Doctor is a series that shows a lot of promise. The cases are always extreme, but the human relationships are real. Also, with monster ratings pleasing network executives, The Good Doctor is one that has a high probability of staying put.