Medical dramas have been part of television almost since it started. Yet somehow, Grey’s Anatomy stands out from the pack.
For seventeen seasons, fans have loved the ABC series for its fantastic drama, light comedy and engaging characters. As crazy as the show can be, it also has a heart few other medical dramas can touch, which is why it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
It has sparked a new wave of medical dramas that can appeal to fans, such as Chicago Med, The Resident, New Amsterdam, and others.
But there is also a slew of medical dramas over the years that have the same themes as Grey’s Anatomy. They can showcase flawed but compelling characters with some major medical emergencies. A few others can be low-key but still terrific to watch.
Thanks to the rise of streaming services, several of these shows are available for a binge to spark up a love for medical dramas. These are ten underrated medical dramas that any fan of Grey’s Anatomy will enjoy as the right medicine for a TV fan.
Hart Of Dixie
While the medical side of this show wasn’t always front and center, it did provide the backbone for this CW dramedy.
Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) is a young doctor with a rough bedside manner. So she’s thrown when the father she never knew bequeaths her his practice in a small Alabama town. Zoe is soon handling patients alongside the town’s quirky attitudes.
Bilson has a wonderful charm in the role as Zoe is soon caught up in a romantic triangle and adjusting to this fun town. The supporting cast is good, especially Black Lightning’s Cress Williams as the town mayor.
While the medical emergencies were less severe than other shows, the romance and fun humor combine with Bilson’s performance to make this a winner.
Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Amazon Prime/IMDB TV.
The comedy in this HBO series tends to be dark, but there’s also some surprising heart to it.
It’s set in the extended care wing of a failing Florida hospital. Laurie Metcalf is the unit head who doesn’t grasp how she comes off as judgemental and abusive to others.
Alex Borstein is the head nurse juggling a failing marriage with a new romance. Niecey Nash is a fellow nurse who’s often a mother figure to patients while having her own problems at home.
The medical drama is more about the long-term care of patients, but Metcalf makes some controversial moves that put the entire hospital in danger. However, it gets better with the later seasons adding more to the character’s personal lives.
Add a tremendous bevy of guest stars (from Jean Smart to Rita Moreno), and this dramedy gets long life out of its setting.
Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Pluto.
This Canadian hit got a good showcase on NBC last year to provide a fine medical drama.
The title has a double meaning as Hamza Haq plays a Syrian doctor forced to work as a cook in a Toronto diner. When an accident occurs, he uses his skills to save a man on the spot.
The man (John Hannah) happens to be the head of the emergency department of a noted hospital. In gratitude and recognizing his talent, he arranges for Haq to join.
Much of the drama is on the culture clash of Haq and the other doctors but eventually winning them over with his courage and smarts. There are some gripping medical cases with sharp commentary on social issues.
The series will be returning for a second season and thus, a good time to catch up on one of the more overlooked medical shows on the air now.
Season 1 is streaming on NBC.com
Off The Map
While she had success with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Shonda Rhimes also created this medical series in an exotic setting.
A set of doctors head to a small clinic in South America to learn more about medicine. It’s an intriguing place with dangers including attacks by wildlife and even some criminal cartels around.
The characters are much like Grey’s Anatomy, an attractive cast who all have their reasons for going halfway around the world. From a control freak handling the jungle to a doctor hiding her own serious medical condition, their dramas are good (and yes, some very steamy hookups).
The gorgeous setting adds a spark to the series, which sadly only lasted one season. Yet it has the same medical drama DNA that made Grey’s Anatomy so loved.
Season 1 is streaming on ABC.com
This Lifetime network hit showcased some great strong female leads in a medical setting.
Rosa Blasi is the owner of a free clinic in Philadelphia forced to merge with a larger hospital. She at first clashes with Janine Turner’s more experienced doctor, but they soon bond as friends.
The series can be daring as often, Blasi’s attempts to help patients backfire to make things worse. Turner also has her own problems with some richer patients.
A Season 3 twist is Turner leaving with Patricia Richardson coming in as an Army doctor whose family life provides stunning drama.
Later seasons shifted the cast more, with Ricky Schroder and Tamera Mowry joining. It never loses the heart of a doctor fighting the system to help those in need, even if the results aren’t pretty.
Select seasons are streaming on Tubi.
One of the better of the “blue sky” USA Network shows of the 2000s had a fun turn on a medical drama.
Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) is a rising surgeon who’s fired when he chooses to save a poor youth instead of a rich hospital donor.
His brother (Paulo Costanzo) takes him on vacation to the Hamptons, where Hanks saves a millionaire’s life. In gratitude, the man sets Hank up to be a “concierge doctor” for the wealthy residents.
Hanks balances helping rich folks so he can use the money to aid the less fortunate. The show has some nice humor from Hank and his brother enjoying a wealthy life. But there’s also heart in Hank going out of his way to help others.
While it rarely takes place in a hospital, it has enough medical drama abounding to satisfy Grey’s Anatomy fans.
Seasons 1-8 are streaming on Amazon Prime/IMDB TV.
The title character of this TNT series could give the Greys a run for their money in a tough spirit.
Jada Pinkett Smith is Christina Hawthorne, the chief of nursing at a Richmond hospital. She’s also dealing with the recent loss of her husband and raising a rebellious daughter.
Michael Vartan plays the chief of surgery, whose clashes with Christina soon turn into romance. That won’t stop her from bucking the rules to help patients.
The second season shifted things up as Christina heads to a struggling hospital and faces more daunting challenges helping patients.
Sadly canceled on a cliffhanger, Pinkett Smith’s great performance makes this a fine medical drama for Grey’s fans.
Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Hulu.
This Canadian series puts a unique spin on the usual medical show format.
Michael Shanks is a doctor thrown into a coma in a car accident. But, somehow, his spirit can walk the halls of the hospital to watch over his girlfriend (Erica Durance).
Shanks can also speak to the spirits of other patients in comas or even dead and help them communicate with the living. While he awakens from the coma in Season 2, he still sees these spirits who guide him on operations.
An intriguing spin is Durance injured in season 3 to have the same “spirit walk.” Obviously, being able to see ghosts affects both doctors amid the soap opera antics of the hospital and its cast.
For those who enjoy a little supernatural spin on the medical drama, save time to watch this show.
Seasons 1-5 are streaming on Hulu.
The Night Shift
As the title implies, this NBC series is set at the evening shift of a San Antonio hospital where three of the doctors have army ties.
The show has them handling a powerful influx of cases while each of the doctors reflects on the irony that this is even more taxing than being in combat.
It boasts a good cast, with Jill Flint enduring personal issues that could rival Meredith Grey. It gets a good push with Scott Wolf joining as a brash new doctor sparking things up.
The show has a great Greys-like balance of high-stakes rescues and operations alongside the powerful human drama. No matter the time of day, this Shift shines well.
Seasons 1-4 streaming on Netflix.
The term “Code Black” means that a hospital’s emergency room demand is far higher than the doctors able to keep up with it.
In a normal hospital, this might happen a few times a year. In this CBS series, it occurs almost twice a day.
Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden is the head physician of a fictional hospital handling a monstrous emergency load every week. Cases run from police shootings to massive accidents and even a deadly virus.
In the second season, the show gets a boost with Rob Lowe as a former Army doctor using his expertise. It’s dramatic but also fun, including a musical episode.
Surprisingly axed after three seasons despite great ratings, this medical show probably deserved to run much longer.
Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Amazon Prime/IMDB TV.
Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 premieres at 9 pm EST Thursday, September 30 on ABC.