Fall TV Preview
The Good Doctor

ABC's The Good Doctor: Our Fall TV First Impression

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including The CW’s soapy new Dynasty, NBC’s look at Brave military heroes and the adventures of Fox’s Gifted mutants. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | ABC’s The Good Doctor (Mondays at 10/9c, premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ Scorpion and NBC’s The Brave (new)

RELATED Read First Impressions of CBS’ Young Sheldon, The CW’s Dynasty

THE CAST | Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Richard Schiff (The West Wing), Hill Harper (CSI: NY), Antonia Thomas (Misfits), Nicholas Gonzalez (Pretty Little Liars), Beau Garrett (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) and Chuku Modu

THE SET-UP | Highmore plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, a prospective hire at a prestigious San Jose hospital — if some skeptical colleagues can come to see the upside, versus simply the liabilities, of his autism diagnosis. Schiff plays the hospital president/Murphy’s longtime champion, while Harper and Gonzalez’s docs are among those opposed to the autistic savant’s hiring.

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Highmore. Three-time Emmy winner Schiff. Adapted from a Korean series by House‘s own David Shore. The Good Doctor boasts great DNA. I thought for sure the pilot would bowl me over with swelling emotional moments, but it never quite did — partly because it takes a while to build up momentum, repeatedly cutting away as it does from Dr. Murphy’s detoured trip to his final interview and the fascinating debate among the hospital board to a B-story that, I suppose, gives us some context for his eventual arrival. That said, the very final scene packs quite a punch, as Dr. Murphy unwittingly puts a colleague on notice.

This has the potential to be a refreshingly thought-provoking hospital drama, based on the buttons pushed in the pilot alone. Schiff (who gets to gloriously orate in a way few can do) and Highmore share a warm dynamic, Harper and Gonzalez present formidable foils and Thomas (playing a fellow surgeon) is poised to be our emotional “in” to Shaun’s distinct, distant world (which is literally illustrated with on-screen diagrams that I have to wonder will eventually go the way of MacGyver‘s).

RELATED Fall TV Schedule: What’s on When? And Versus What?

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Assuming NBC’s The Brave gets lost amid this TV season’s multiple military-themed newbies, The Good Doctor looks to be in a two-way race with CBS’ tried-and-true Scorpion. If it can land somewhere between the 0.7 demo rating that ill-fated Conviction barely mustered last fall, and the 1.1 posted by Castle‘s farewell run, ABC should consider than a clean bill of health.

Watch a trailer for The Good Doctor, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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33 Comments
  1. Mike says:

    Freddie Highmore is great, but I can’t help but think this would have been a good opportunity to inject some diversity into the casting. Every time a network adapts a telenovela (Ugly Betty, Jane the Virgin, Devious Maids) they honor the show’s Latin roots by making the main character(s) Latin American. Considering that several of the show’s producers are Korean American I’m surprised they didn’t push harder for an Asian lead here.

    • Traveler says:

      Good point. Also, while Freddie is indeed great, after Bates Motel it feels like he traverses a somewhat familiar route.

    • Jamie says:

      Agreed. There are so few opportunities for Asian leads, and this would have been perfect considering it’s source material. Kind of a shame tbh.

    • shir says:

      ABC”s got to get something to fill in that 10pm spot had no luck since they cancelled Castle( yes I’m still angry for what they did) however-I won’t be watching. Good Luck.

      • flipper says:

        Shir, your so right Castle is missed. So we have a 3 time Emmy winner, Stana Katic won three PCA’s, what did that get her (fired) by ABC. If I was this 3 time Emmy winner do not ask for too much money, it will only get you fired. ABC has major budget problems, at least that is what they tell us. Scopion is good.

  2. fernando933 says:

    The one I’m looking forward to most. Love Freddie

  3. Gospino says:

    I don’t know if I’d want to watch this one on a long-term basis. It could depend on whether there are enough supporting characters with good stories to keep my interest.

  4. Kat says:

    Does anyone know if anyone on the writing staff is autistic, or if there is at least a consultant? I have low levels of trust when it comes to neurotypical writers writing neurodivergent characters. Not that they can’t, a lot just don’t seem to try that hard to actually understand people with brains that function differently. Usually rely heavily on stereotypes. I hope they put the work into this character.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I am sure that will be asked and answered at summer press tour in August.

      • rowan77 says:

        I hope so. One of the major disappointments for the Deaf community was the fact that not one of the show’s writers was deaf. Not one deaf director was hired for a single episode and they had no ASL coordinator. There are deaf directors and writers in Los Angeles – some award-winning, but they never got a chance to work on a show about their own community. I know a couple of talented writers who are on the Autism Spectrum.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll deal with that part of things, too. I too hope they can make that work, because I agree that’s an important aspect worth getting right.
      .
      The part of the promo I was most intrigued by is Shaun’s relationship with his mentor, so hearing more about the bond between them here sounds promising. And judging from the review’s “thought-provoking” comment, that gives me hope that the more gentle approach the promo gave off will stick, which is good.
      .
      So yeah. This is one of the new shows I’ve been looking forward to the most, and this review just adds to that feeling. Hooray :).

    • Kirsten says:

      I’m cautiously optimistic. Shore did an admirable job dealing with Chronic Pain, Addiction and physical disability on House. This seems to traverse a similar route. Doctors with disabilities themselves.

      • Jamie says:

        Hardcore disagree. House did a horrifying job with dealing with disability – there is literally an episode where both a Deaf teen and his mother don’t consent to a cochlear implant, but the doctors implant one anyway while they are doing a different brain surgery. The kid tries to rip it out, and they take him back into surgery to put it back in against his consent, all while patting themselves on the back for making his life better. It was disgusting.

  5. 51cards says:

    I’m getting a little tired of the ‘smartest guy in the room’ cliche. Oh look, he’s the only one that can solve this problem (surgery, mystery, defusing the bomb, etc.), so we just have to put up with his quirks and anti-social tendencies! At least this time the main character has an actual diagnosis instead of with other shows where the SGITR is just an a-hole.

  6. Joey Padron says:

    I’m looking forward to see the show since Freddie is in it. Hope the show will do well on Monday nights.

  7. david says:

    Al through the trailer all i could hear in my head was a familiar voice screaming…NORMAN!!

  8. abz says:

    Freddie Highmore was terrific on Bates Motel, and I’d love to watch him in something else, but I just feel exhausted from all of the cop shows, doctor shows, lawyer shows, crime procedurals, etc, on TV nowadays, that I’m very hesitant to start anymore shows revolving around those formats. I already have many shows I’ve watched both past and present revolving around these professions, and while I will watch Greys till the very end, It has definitely made me tired of repetitive hospital shows (the only reason I watch Chicago which I’m a half season behind on is because of the Chicago crossovers). I might change my mind, but I think I’ll wait to see the reviews and the buzz around the first couple episodes before I check it out.

    • mary says:

      What exactly are you looking for then? Gee, how about a superhero. there’s only about 10+ of those on. Or how about a reality show? sorry, about 20+ of those. I suggest stop watching tv.

      • abz says:

        Wow, rude much? The Handmaids Tale, Sense8, Orphan Black, Big Little Lies, The Leftovers, Bates Motel, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Younger, Legion, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Feud, Outlander. I could go on. Plenty of shows out there that that have all different types of stories and don’t follow the tired cop/doctor/lawyer procedural drama format. I’m not saying there hasn’t been some brilliant shows in those genres (e.g., The Good Wife is one of the best shows ever in my opinion), Notice how the majority of these shows I’ve listed are not on network television. I think networks should try a little more variety.

  9. Larc says:

    If Highmore ever turned in a less than first rate performance even as a young kid, I missed it. Very much looking forward to seeing him in this new show.

  10. Dizzle says:

    I’m still no clearer on what this show is actually about. Is it a medical drama with some fancy character shading? Or is it a proper character drama about the autistic lead character with some medical texture thrown in? I will still watch at least the first episode but I couldn’t make my mind up just yet

    • Sidravel says:

      Based on the Korean version which I loved, it will be an character drama in the medical world. A coming of age drama from the lens of a untold perspective. The Korean version really pulled on the heartstrings, so this should be good.

      • Zoe says:

        Agreed. Anyone interested in this show should watch at least the first episode of the Korean show. It really is that good. I won’t spoil anything but there were a few scenes in the trailer that looked pretty close to the original show. It free to watch on Viki( legal site) .

  11. Kevin Tran says:

    The Good Doctor should do better in the 10 pm Monday night time slot for ABC this upcoming Fall.

  12. Walkie says:

    “Three time Emmy winner Schiff”.

    WTF?

    Seriously?

  13. a_lex89 says:

    I wasn’t that excited about that show to begin with, always saw a certain potential, but after watching the pilot it made me want to see more. I can now see a lot of potential for that show and also understand why it was scheduled after Dancing with the Stars (even though it would’ve made more sense to have the lighter Deception after it). It just proves how ABC believes in it. I’m hopeful for that one.

  14. Sandra says:

    I loved the kdrama on which this is based! With the cast and crew assembled for it, I have high hopes. My husband is an avid watcher of Scorpion, but I will be watching this one.

  15. georgee says:

    ABC would be better off with Castle reruns on the 10 pm Monday time spot, it would be a big rating plus.

  16. Amanda says:

    As a parent of a child on the spectrum, I hope this sheds more light on the subject for those who know little to nothing about autism. I am looking forward to the series and will be rooting for it to be picked up.

  17. Antoinette May says:

    Half my family is Asperger Syndrome. Life is frequently difficult for them because of ignorance on the part of society which does not like people who are different, especially when they’re smart, and the so-called experts in the U.S. who see AS as a disability. The Brits consider AS a condition: it’s how their brains are wired. Silicon Valley is filled with these special people. They’re to be treasured!