The Monte Carlo TV Festival recently bestowed the award of Best Drama Series overall in their International TV Audience category to ABC’s The Good Doctor. Which is quite a feat to make when you consider how many dramas are out there. Let alone dramas set in hospitals and showcasing the skills of doctors.
So, how did this show manage to make its mark so quickly? After all, it’s only in its third season.
Well, that’s easy! And we’re going to find out four of those reasons here because season 3 of The Good Doctor just premiered and you are definitely going to want to dive in and catch up!
Freddie Highmore! Need I say more?
Of course, up first the reason why The Good Doctor is so good is the amazing lead actor Freddie Highmore.
Highmore is known for bringing appeal and nuance to each character he plays. He gained America’s attention by playing Norman Bates in A&E’s series Bates Motel. While in The Good Doctor he plays a young man with autism and Savant syndrome who’s training to be a surgeon.
Not only does Freddie Highmore manage to portray the character of Shaun Murphy with passion, but he also comes across as entirely realistic.
Autism is a type of neurodivergence that can present itself in many different ways, while Savant syndrome is also common in those with autism. And Highmore, being the talented actor that he is, made sure to pick up on specific quirks to fit his character without trying to fit in too many and making his character a caricature. His performance is nuanced and doesn’t feel ham-fisted in the slightest. Which only elevates the show further.
Many people who loved Bates Motel will definitely be happy to know that he continues in the vein of playing unusual characters extremely well. And seeing Freddie Highmore in action once again is probably one of the number one reasons why many people even give this show a shot. So, if you’re a fan of Highmore or his acting, make sure to check out The Good Doctor as well!
Autism isn’t a punchline or an excuse in The Good Doctor
Centering a show on someone with autism can be hit or miss, especially because so often they only show one side of autism, the side we expect to see. Yes, it does fall prey to the classic savant syndrome failsafe, but that can be overlooked as those who are neurotypical really do only have one idea of what autism is.
But there is a reason they say that autism is a spectrum, and they have Shaun Murphy fully on that spectrum in a believable way. He manages his day to day life with a lot of struggles, and people don’t give him leeway for that.
Murphy faces discrimination for his condition, even by the director of the hospital when he was trying to get hired. He gets called out often when he does or says things which are unacceptable, and is always learning how to understand other people’s feelings.
And that’s probably what makes him so likable. Those parts of him that can make him standoffish and abrupt aren’t a characteristic of who he is but seen as parts of him that can improve. Autism can be incredibly debilitating for some, but for others, it’s just a different way of handling the world.
Shaun Murphy is trying to understand those around him so that he can better communicate within this world, and it’s great to see a real and honest-feeling struggle.
A plot you can both follow and be intrigued by
Often time medical dramas have so much going on that you can quickly get bored. It’s just too hard to keep the train of thought that follows each storyline, and you lose interest in the show as a whole. Yet with The Good Doctor you get that perfect mix of personal and surgical. Meaning you feel like you are learning along with the residents, but also along with Shaun in his personal relationships as well.
He doesn’t always succeed when it comes to being understood by others, and that problem has plagued him since childhood. Now that he has reached a status where he has to be taken seriously, he has to work harder than ever to be respected. And it’s interesting watching as those around him change the way they see him as well.
The dark past of Shaun Murphy also reveals itself slowly, as it should when storytelling takes the forefront. His relationships and how they develop are great, but it is solving the problems that really reels the audience in.
He isn’t always right, and that’s important to remember. In fact, he’s usually wrong at first. That’s part of what makes the story feel like reality, and what makes it worthwhile to watch. A show about a doctor who is always right and always a jerk has been done before. Now is the era of diversity and accountability. And The Good Doctor really drives that point home.
It isn’t perfect
That’s right, one of the reasons The Good Doctor is lauded as one of television’s best dramas is because it isn’t perfect.
The first season was shaky and had a lot of hiccups along the way as it found its footing. But that’s okay. We don’t always like characters, while some aren’t forgiven for mistakes they make, and that’s real life. It isn’t always sunshine and roses when it comes to social communication. Friendships end, jobs are lost, and relationships come and go.
All of this truly makes the continued growth of the characters on this show feel realistic and exciting. Nobody wants to turn on the television and watch a show about picture-perfect characters. Nor do they want to see characters that are always struggling. The Good Doctor finds that perfect blend between the two and isn’t afraid to break barriers or make risky choices. And that is just another reason why The Good Doctor is so damn good.
The season 3 premiere on September 23, 2019, was long-awaited among the fans of the show. And now it’s your turn to get a chance to see how great this show really is.
But don’t let us tell you how to feel, give it a shot and make that judgment for yourself!