The funny-harsh Korean War-set series was always daring: It killed off a beloved character and silenced its laugh track for the docu-style ep ”The Interview.”
St. Elsewhere (1982-88)
A trailblazer: Mark Harmon’s womanizing Dr. Caldwell is a prototype for Nip/Tuck‘s Christian Troy; the finale stunned with that snowglobe ending.
The spurting blood and jumpy camera shocked. Season 1’s mournful ”Love’s Labor Lost” may be the single most excruciating episode of the genre.
This charming sitcom exploits the surreality of hospitals with its screwball fantasy seqences. Goofy, yet oddly heartfelt — plus it gave us the affable Zach Braff.
The Office‘s Patrick Baladi plays a not entirely competent doctor with too much bureaucratic power in this riveting, layered series, debuting on BBC America Sept. 29.
Chicago Hope (1994-2000)
If ER was visceral, Hope was pure brains (courtesy of David E. Kelley) and featured a blazing turn by Mandy Patinkin as the brilliant, House-ian Dr. Geiger.
Chicago Hope vet Peter Berg created a pointed, poignant drama about the inner workings of a Bellevue-style psych hospital — so creative it was canceled after two episodes.
Ben Casey (1961-66)
This pioneer of medical dramas — which just edged out Richard Chamberlain’s Dr. Kildare — is still a treat to watch, thanks to macho star Vince Edwards.
China Beach (1988-91)
The Vietnam-set M*A*S*H, China Beach had intimate story lines and two lovely, off-kilter leads in Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger.
Quincy, M.E. (1976-1983)
Sure, most of the action took place in a coroner’s office, but no one did outraged TV doc better than Jack Klugman as irascible, crusading medical examiner Quincy.