I come with a hypothesis.
Ramble of the Day
If I gave you the task of naming television shows about doctors, I imagine each one of you would come up with around four to six off the top of your head, if not more. I’ll do the same, restricting myself to only ones currently on air in the U.S.: Chicago Med, Grey’s Anatomy, New Amsterdam, The Good Doctor. That wasn’t so hard, but naming as many movies focused on medical professionals is a much more difficult task.
I then asked myself this question: Why is that the case? I figured Google would have the answer, and it turns out...it does not. I am left with a hypothesis I wrote down a few nights ago that the internet cannot convince me is wrong. (That doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong; maybe some of you will decide I am!)
Anyway, here goes: I believe there are is more doctor-based fiction on television than in theaters because medical shows are ... kind of bad.
Of course, there is a more reasonable hypothesis, and it is that stories based around a hospital don’t translate as well in a two to three hour film. That is obviously true for the most part, but let’s think about how the traditional medical show is structured. That set up couldn’t possibly work in a film because, honestly...they just move so slowly. They have to balance personal relationships with practicing medicine, and it’s not like practicing medicine is quick and easy business (on or off television). It means personal developments of the doctors move slowly, perhaps more slowly than other television shows.
Oftentimes, though, the execution is not perfect. Sometimes the medical mysteries can keep you interested, like on House, but those standalone storylines aren’t always memorable or engaging. It means you’re left with half of a formula that needs to be entertaining for both halves, which is hard to pull off. You end up with shows that are mostly above average to average. Wonderful and abysmal are hard to find in this genre, but not impossible.
Now, I am coming off a bit harsh. These are the perfect shows for networks because they can always manage just enough entertainment to keep audiences happy with a few lower priced thrills to fill one (or two) weekday night(s). If you can do that well enough and consistently enough, you’ve got ratings and money and everyone is more or less happy. Grey’s Anatomy has more or less mastered this art, creating genuine power players (and multi millionaires) out of its star, Ellen Pompeo, and creator Shonda Rhimes, who has a place in television history at this point.
The rest should not aim for that, but know they will likely land somewhere in the middle, regardless of how things shake out. Good luck being able to separate yourself from the back, though, medical dramas; most of you end up blending in at some point or another.
tl;dr: I don’t actually hate medical shows, I promise.
Links of the Day
Cristiano Ronaldo will not play for Portugal for the rest of the year, though the reason for the exclusion is currently unknown.
Manchester City will take a different route to Anfield this weekend after the team bus was attacked in last season’s fixture at Liverpool.
Today’s longer read: Jeré Longman on Kazuyoshi Miura, Japan’s first footballing superstar who is still playing the sport at age 51 for The New York Times