Pilot Perception: The Good Doctor

Good Doctor

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: The Good Doctor, ABC in the U.S. and CTV in Canada, Mondays at 10/9c

The Pedigree: The show was created and written by David Shore (House), who executive produces with Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0), David Kim (Dramaworld), and Sebastian Lee (Dramaworld). The pilot was directed by Seth Gordon (The Goldbergs).

The Cast & How You Know Them: It stars Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) and Richard Schiff (The West Wing) along with Hill Harper (CSI: NY), Beau Garrett (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), Tamlyn Tomita (Teen Wolf), Nicholas Gonzalez (Pretty Little Liars), Antonia Thomas (Misfits), and Chuku Modu (Game of Thrones).

The Premise: The Good Doctor is about a young surgical resident with autism who uses his gifts to save lives while facing skeptical colleagues.

A Taste:

 

What Works: The cast is pretty diverse, which is always nice to see. Richard Schiff is masterful, as always, especially when giving speeches about doing the right thing, and the cast as a whole does a good job with what they’re given.

What Doesn’t: Many people I know with autism and parents of autistic children have objected to how the show handles autism. While I’m not any kind of expert, I certainly agree that, at least in the pilot, the treatment of autism and use of it as a plot device was poorly done, heavy-handed and very stereotypical. The doctor with autism is basically used as an object to teach other people lessons and make them feel good about themselves. In addition to that, the show is also just not very good — the parts that didn’t revolve around autism were very standard hospital drama stuff, but there are way better hospital dramas to watch for that.

Our Favorite Line: “So are you proud or disappointed?” “Do I have to pick just one?”

You Might Like This if you like medical dramas centered on unconventional doctors, like House, with plenty of typical hospital drama hijinks in the background.

If You’re Interested: Catch the first episode on demand or on the ABC or CTV site, then set your DVR for Monday at 10/9c.

(Photo courtesy of ABC.)

About Kate

Kate Linnea Welsh is a New Hampshire-based writer and taxonomist. (No, that doesn't involve dead animals.) She keeps us up to date on TV news in her weekly column "Caffeine." She writes about other TV shows, books, and more at her blog and her site Read the Screen. She'd love to talk to you on Twitter: @katelinnea