Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang
As the temperature dips, TV watchers are also craving more emotional and comforting dramas. Medical dramas, overlooked for years, have now made a comeback, creating a new trend in TV-viewing.
European and American audiences are familiar with medical-themed TV shows, from the classic ER, to the later Grey’s Anatomy, House, etc., all of which were hits in China as well, earning great online views.
Medical dramas made in China are just as engrossing. Back in 1998, the TV series Healing Hands earned top ratings in Hong Kong before sweeping the rest of China, spawning two sequels in five years.
In the show, the brilliant playboy doctor Harry Li and the ethical but unlucky-in-love brain surgeon Paul Cheng erased people’s robotic stereotypes of doctors, instead, their vivid personalities really appealed to the audience, and their genuine caring for patients have also touched countless viewers.
In 2014, after China demolished the “One child per family” policy, medical topics became got again. Stories featuring male ob-gyb doctors were all the rage. The shows Accoucheur and Obstetrician used the POV of both male and female doctors to make the audience understand the beginning of life, and the critical need for more caring of women and children.
By 2016-17, the shows Children’s Hospital Pediatrician, The Surgeon, and Emergency Department Doctors were unveiled, setting record TV ratings in inland China. The Surgeon revolved around a past killing related to a medical incident and all of the subsequent drama. The storyline had medical crises, romance, and suspense, creating a new example in medical shows. Viewers believed that the hospital in the show was a snapshot of real life, reflecting the ups and downs of human interaction.
In contrast, the drama, Emergency Department Doctors, launched in the winter of 2017, incorporated elements of idol dramas. The relationship between the ER chief, He Jianyi, and an overseas returnee, Jiang Xiaoqi, evolved from mutual criticism, to understanding, then love, conquering many obstacles along the way, which helped the duo save patients, as well as themselves.
Many online viewers said the reason they liked the show is not only because of doctor-patient conflicts or medical mysteries, they actually liked the May-December romance of the doctor couple. The viewers claimed that as long as the couple had exchange and agreement in spiritual and mental matters, and could grow together, age was not a problem.
A saying by the character Jiang Xiaoqi, “I hope his existence makes both of us better, but if he didn’t show up, I could still have a wonderful life” made the female audience cheer. By late November, the show had a great ratings finish, earning an average rating of 1.303%, with more than 6.3 billion online views.
Just like the audience and web viewers have said, not only can we learn medical and nursing knowledge from medical dramas, doctors and patients could also gain more understanding and improve their relationship as a result. This winter may not be so cold, as medical dramas are only heating up and show no sign of cooling down.