Another Recent Medical Show Compared to M*A*S*H

Earlier this week I wrote about a new CBS drama titled Miami Medical that has connections to and has been compared to M*A*S*H. But Miami Medical isn’t the first medical drama to be compared to M*A*S*H, just the most recent. In September of 2002, ABC debuted a new show called MDs, a comedy/drama set in a fictional hospital in San Francisco known as The Mish (for Mission General). John Hannah and William Fichtner starred as Dr. Robert Dalgety and Dr. Bruce Kellerman, a pair of doctors fighting the administration at every step while trying to save as many lives as possible.

M*A*S*H, the doctors used humor to combat the inhumanity of war; MDs tried to do the same with health care. Critics were quick to note the comparisons between the shows, matching characters on MDs with their new counterparts on MDs. Fichtner’s character was Hawkeye, Hannah was Trapper John, and so on and so forth. Laura Urbani of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had this to say:

The new ABC medical drama “MDs” finds inspiration in the classic television show “M*A*S*H.” This time, doctors aren’t fighting the Korean War; they’re fighting managed health care.

And, the drama does not provide a comforting view of the system. It makes everyone in health management appear to be greedy and cold-hearted.

[…]

Kellerman is the reincarnation of “M*A*S*H” doctor Hawkeye Pierce. He is the best surgeon around. He’s intense, sarcastic, charming and gives his all for the patients while thumbing his nose at authority. [1]

And here’s what Salon.com‘s Carina Chocano wrote in her review of MDs:

Like the “M*A*S*H” boys, Kellerman and Dalgety have a little problem with authority, especially when it’s stupid, dogmatic and inhumane. The uptight Nurse Poole and her petulant sidekick, sad-sack HMO administrator Chester Donge –“MDs'” very own Frank and Hot Lips duo, sans the mad love — are dying to have the two doctors fired. But the rebel surgeons are in luck, it seems, because the hospital’s board of directors has just hired a squeamish former amusement park manager, Shelly Pangborn (Leslie Stefanson), to run the hospital. As an outsider, she can see both sides of the pressing issue of the day. (Plus, she’s hot.) [2]

Unlike M*A*S*H, which ran for eleven seasons, MDs wasn’t a success. ABC canceled it after just eight episodes; another five were left unaired. It remains to be seen whether Miami Medical will manage to hang on longer.

Works Cited:

1 Urbani, Laura. “ABC’s new medical drama series: ‘M*A*S*H’ in an urban hospital.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 25 Sep. 2002.
2 Chocano, Carina. “Same old mish-“M*A*S*H”! Stat!” Salon.com. 26 Sep. 2002.

Leave a Comment