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20 Great Shows Like Grey's Anatomy Ranked

"Grey's Anatomy" seems like one of those shows that is just going to go on indefinitely. As it stands, it is in its 18th season with at least Season 19 already confirmed. Star Ellen Pompeo — one of only three current cast members who have been with the show since the beginning — has stated that she can see the series lasting beyond her inevitable departure, telling Entertainment Tonight: "We're going to try to keep it going for the young people."

Whether you're looking for a show to pick up once "Grey's Anatomy" does eventually end, or you just want something similar to watch alongside it, there are plenty of shows out there that will appeal to fans of the megahit medical drama. Even just focusing on shows about doctors, hospitals, and/or paramedics, there have been plenty of great series over the last 50 years of television that both inspired and have been inspired by "Grey's Anatomy."

From shows that lean more heavily on the drama that occurs in hospitals to ones that are more interested in the personal lives of hospital staff, here are twenty hospital-based or hospital-adjacent shows to watch when you need a break from Grey Sloan Memorial.

20. Saving Hope (2012 - 2017)

While a lot of medical dramas are content with a fairly standard premise and choose to stand out with their stories and characters, some do opt to go down the gimmick route in order to make a name for themselves. Such is the case with the Toronto-set "Saving Hope," which is about a doctor who falls into a coma after a car accident. He is forced to wander the halls of his hospital as a spirit who can also interact with the spirts of other comatose patients — as well as the ghosts of deceased ones.

The supernatural twist isn't for everyone, but it doesn't come off feeling nearly as mystical or science fiction-like as the premise might suggest. It's still a fairly grounded medical show beyond that wrinkle, and you barely even notice it after you've been watching the series for a while (and that's a good thing). "Saving Hope" lasted for five seasons on NBC in the U.S. and is available to stream on Hulu at the time of this writing.

19. Nurses (2020 - Present)

"Nurses" is another Canadian export initially picked up by NBC, though the American network declined to continue airing it beyond its first season. Still, there was a second season in its native Canada, with a third season as of yet neither confirmed nor denied. What's important here though is what already exists of the show — two seasons of a medical drama that puts a much greater emphasis on nurses and how things unfold from their point of view than most other series.

There is definitely something to be said for a show that doesn't make egotistical doctors the focus for a change, and real-life events in recent years have demonstrated that nurses truly are heroes that don't get nearly enough of the spotlight for their efforts. While the show itself doesn't really break much new ground and its characters are all cut from familiar archetypal cloth, it's still a compelling watch for its unique POV and it definitely has the potential to become something great if it does manage to get that third season. Unfortunately, it's not especially accessible on streaming unless you're willing to pay for it.

18. The Night Shift (2014 - 2017)

Most hospitals operate for 24 hours a day, and we don't generally see all that much about what they are like in the overnight hours — that is, when a medical show even goes out of its way to differentiate time of day, with most of them just taking place "whenever." That's the hook of NBC's "The Night Shift," which is all about the staff that work at San Antonio Memorial Hospital when the other doctors and nurses get to go home and go to sleep.

Beyond that, "The Night Shift" makes great use of its Texas setting and feels very accurate to that part of the country. A lot also revolves around veterans, with the staff comprising a lot of ex-military personnel who were in Afghanistan in addition to many patients being vets as well. As such, there are a lot of storylines that deal with PTSD and other struggles that people have after they return from military duty, which is territory that most medical shows don't touch outside of the occasional episode specifically dedicated to that.

"The Night Shift" was canceled after four seasons, but it's all available on Netflix at the time of this writing.

17. Chicago Med (2015 - Present)

After "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D.," it was only a matter of time before the NBC metaseries known as One Chicago had its own hospital show. And it would seem as though viewers haven't experienced Chicago fatigue yet, as "Chicago Med" has been airing for seven seasons and counting alongside the other two. There really isn't much in the way of a unique angle for "Chicago Med" itself beyond being part of a bigger franchise with two other shows, but that ultimately proves to be more than enough to keep it interesting.

Clearly, people enjoy cinematic universes. And there is definitely an appeal of getting to see all these different aspects of public service from their own angles while knowing they all take place in the same connected fictional world. People who watch all three shows regularly will obviously get the most out of the whole endeavor, but even just watching "Chicago Med" as a completely standalone show proves a satisfying experience on its own.

16. Code Black (2015 - 2018)

The interesting thing about the CBS show "Code Black" is that it was actually based on a documentary of the same name about the Los Angeles hospital that has the busiest trauma center in America. The director of that documentary — real life ER doctor Ryan McGarry — serves as one of the executive producers on the TV series. Though the hospital in the "Code Black" series is fictional, it is based on the hospital in the doc and there is a focus on how busy its trauma center is.

Marcia Gay Harden, just a few years off her memorable four-episode stint on "Law & Order: SVU," led a group of series regulars that also included heavy hitters like Rob Lowe and Luis Guzmán. The doc and the subsequent TV show are named after what it's called when a hospital gets so flooded with patients that they don't have the resources to fully care for them all. That leads to stress for a hospital's staff — but excitement for viewers watching a fictional show about it.

15. Private Practice (2007 - 2013)

It felt as though "Grey's Anatomy" had been on the air forever when the spin-off "Private Practice" first dropped. In reality, "Private Practice" premiered only two years after the debut of "Grey's Anatomy," leaving one to wonder if it had been the plan from the beginning to have Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) have her own show. Either way, it lasted an impressive six seasons and remains a great supplemental universe for "Grey's Anatomy" fans to revisit.

Kate Walsh definitely has what it takes to lead her own show, and she held her own even among a cast of movie stars, television veterans, and Broadway performers such as Taye Diggs, Benjamin Bratt, Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly, and Audra McDonald. There were inevitable crossovers between "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice," of course, but there was a surprising amount of restraint in that regard and it never felt gimmicky or excessive. This allowed "Private Practice" to have its own vibe and forge its own path.

14. The Resident (2018 - Present)

Plenty of medical shows see the doctors and nurses dealing with hospital red tape, but Fox's "The Resident" is one of the only shows that zeroes in on the bureaucracy of the health industry as its primary angle. In fact, both the overall premise and several of the show's characters and plot lines are based on reality. For example, Nic Nevin (Emily VanCamp) is based on a real-life whistleblower who exposed an oncologist who had been misdiagnosing cancer patients.

In a broader sense, many elements of "The Resident" come from Dr. Martin Makary's "Unaccountable," which exposes hospital industry secrets and advocates for more transparency from the health care system. This is a different kind of medical show, one that will appeal to people who are more interested in the inner workings of hospitals and health care than which doctors are dating each other. In May 2022, a sixth season was confirmed.

13. The Good Doctor (2017 - Present)

A headline in The New York Times about "The Good Doctor" read: "The anti-hero is in." This gets to the heart of what makes the show stand out among its medical drama peers. Freddie Highmore (previously best known as Charlie from Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, a surgeon who has autism and savant syndrome. For those reasons, there was pushback from the hospital board to make him a resident, but he was eventually brought on board — and that's when the fireworks started to happen.

What makes Dr. Murphy an unconventional lead — one that might be called an anti-hero — is that part of his autism manifests in sometimes lacking tact and also having a tendency to offer brutal, unfiltered honesty to anyone, at any time, about anything. Even though most of his peers are aware that he doesn't set out to hurt feelings, they often can't help but get both personally and professionally offended by him. He's constantly butting heads with people while also saving lives like the brilliant surgeon he is. It makes for a lot of explosive moments, and is a big part of the reason why the show has been such a big hit for five seasons and counting.

12. Station 19 (2018 - Present)

The second "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off — and the one that is still on the air at the time of this writing — is "Station 19," which is set to at least match the season count of "Private Practice" having already been renewed for its sixth season. Taking a page from the One Chicago franchise, "Station 19" is the "Chicago Fire" of the "Grey's Anatomy" universe, following the action at the fire station that most frequently interacts with Grey Sloan Memorial.

The obligatory character to make the jump from the original show to the spinoff in this case is Ben Warren (Jason George), Miranda Bailey's husband. Ben left his surgical residency job at Grey Sloan to work at Station 19 as a firefighter and physician. But, unlike with "Private Practice," the main lead is a new character named Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz), who only appeared on "Grey's Anatomy" in the episode that would serve as the backdoor pilot for "Station 19." At this point, it seems like the show has what it takes to exist alongside "Grey's Anatomy" for many seasons to come — and here's hoping it does.

11. New Amsterdam (2018 - Present)

When an aging public hospital is in danger of falling apart — not literally, though almost — in comes Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) to save the day by shifting the focus from profits to actually helping people on NBC's "New Amsterdam." Yes, it's an eye roll-inducing premise, and there have already been approximately 10,000 other shows about a doctor who decides he's going to challenge the system and do real good in the world. But the performances are great, the writing is sharp, and the show expertly walks that fine line of being earnest without descending into pap.

"New Amsterdam" also earns its way by having one of the most inclusive casts of any medical drama, and having that diversity actually serve to tell a variety of different stories. Because the hospital also has a school, a prison ward, and even a courtroom, the show can cheat a little bit and expand its reach beyond strictly medical-focused plotlines. But that's okay, as anything that gives a medical show a unique angle or two is always welcome. After all, there is only so much that can happen in a hospital. 

The upcoming fifth season will be its last, and it'll be interesting to see how the novel story of "New Amsterdam" wraps up. 

10. Transplant (2020 - Present)

Yet another Canadian medical show that NBC brought over, "Transplant" centers on Syrian doctor Bash Harned (Hamza Haq), who winds up in Canada after fleeing his home country as a result of the Syrian Civil War. The show is primarily about Dr. Harned having to start over and re-establish his medical career in Toronto, after first being forced to take a restaurant job due to problems with transferring his doctor credentials from Syria to Canada.

In this way, "Transplant" is not just a medical drama but also a show about the immigrant experience and the obstacles and frustrations that stem from it. Because of this, Dr. Harned is a much more humble TV doctor than many others in the genre, a definite breath of fresh air from the dearth of cocky figures among medical dramas on television and beyond. High praise in particular came from The Wall Street Journal's John Anderson, who in 2020 not only called "Transplant" the best medical drama on the air but one of NBC's overall best dramas of all time.

9. Nip/Tuck (2003 - 2010)

The first big hit from Ryan Murphy (of "Glee" and "American Horror Story" fame), "Nip/Tuck" is basically a campy, over-the-top primetime soap opera of a medical show. That it's set in the world of plastic surgery will only further hammer that assumption home. Unlike other shows, the medical procedures in "Nip/Tuck" are rarely about saving lives and are more about making beautiful people even more beautiful — and of course, the primarily female patients tend to look like models and all seem to have a tendency to throw themselves at surgeons Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon). Needless to say, it's not something that Sean's wife (Joely Richardson) is a big fan of.

Airing on FX for 100 episodes across six seasons, "Nip/Tuck" revels in its seediness and doesn't try to pretend to be anything it's not. Anyone who is a fan of the sexy stuff on medical shows will love "Nip/Tuck," as that's kind of the whole point of it. Among the impressive list of celebrities that were recurring characters at some point during the show's run are Peter Dinklage, Famke Janssen, Vanessa Redgrave, and Bradley Cooper, to name a few.

8. Nurse Jackie (2009 - 2015)

"Nurse Jackie" was a Showtime dramedy about the titular nurse, who is far more flawed than the typical medical show character as she sometimes pops pills to deal with the pressures of the job. Rather than have it just be some one-episode plot or single-season arc, Jackie's addiction struggles are ongoing and are handled in a much more realistic manner than most shows do with that type of thing.

"Nurse Jackie" accumulated 24 Primetime Emmy nominations over the course of its run, winning five — including a 2010 win for Edie Falco for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. During her acceptance speech, Falco seemed somewhat confused by the show and her performance in particular being considered comedy, saying: "I'm not funny!" She would later double down on her stance, saying she felt her performance on the show was a dramatic one. This paradox would later have people asking whether there should be a "Dramedy" award category so that shows like "Nurse Jackie" aren't forced into just one or the other when they are clearly both at different times.

At the end of the day, no matter what category you put "Nurse Jackie" in, it's a fantastic show and is well worth watching for fans of "Grey's Anatomy."

7. Chicago Hope (1994 - 2000)

A lot of people unfairly dismissed "Chicago Hope" as an "ER" copycat. The fact that both took place in Chicago and both had their own hunky, salt-and-pepper-haired lead didn't help matters much. But considering they both premiered the same month — and the fact that the first episode of "Chicago Hope" actually aired a day earlier than the first episode of "ER" — means that David E. Kelly's show is definitely not an "ER" clone. That said, it was a common debate among medical show fans throughout the '90s: Are you a "Chicago Hope" or "ER" fan?

Unfortunately, as CBS and NBC typically had them directly competing in the same time slot, people couldn't just take the "Why not both?" approach unless they wanted to watch one and tape the other. Ultimately, they are both great shows, with the difference coming down to "ER" focusing more on the patients and having every case be a frenzied race to save a life, while "Chicago Hope" focuses more on the staff and the world of slower-paced surgical procedures. 

Sadly, "Chicago Hope" has long been MIA on any of the streaming platforms or digital marketplaces, but it's well worth going old school and picking up the seasons on DVD.

6. Scrubs (2001 - 2010)

Plenty of medical shows have their fair share of funny moments, but only a few actual sitcoms about working in a hospital have ever been made — or at least lasted more than a season or two. The most notable exception to this is "Scrubs," which ran on NBC for its first seven seasons and moved to ABC for its eighth and ninth. Not only was "Scrubs" focused on comedy, but it wasn't afraid to go for slapstick gags. And it also had a gimmick where the audience could see the daydreams of the characters, which allowed for scenes that could get incredibly silly and surreal.

Stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison are apparently just as close in real life as their characters were on the show, which shines through in their wonderfully charming chemistry on screen. Also along for the hilarious and heartfelt ride were Sarah Chalke, the always hilarious John C. McGinley, and future "The Middle" dad Neil Flynn. "Scrubs" is available on multiple streaming services and is the perfect antidote for medical show fans who find the other shows a bit too heavy sometimes. 

5. St. Elsewhere (1982 - 1988)

Is that a baby-faced Denzel Washington in that photo? It is, and it's from "St. Elsewhere," one of the acclaimed actor's earliest screen roles. And he isn't the only future star who was just another cast member on this medical series, which also included David Morse, Christina Pickles, and Howie Mandel before any of them were household names. The show itself was extremely groundbreaking for its time, and it's been said that it laid the foundation for "ER," "Chicago Hope," and just about any medical drama of the last 30 years.

Coming from the creators of the police procedural "Hill Street Blues," "St. Elsewhere" was set in a fictional Boston teaching hospital and had what was for its time a very gritty style and tone. Also fairly unusual for this era of TV dramas were plotlines that would weave through not only multiple episodes but even seasons, compared to the serialized style that permeated '80s television. Running for six seasons on NBC from 1982 to 1988, "St. Elsewhere" is available to stream on Hulu at the time of this writing and holds up much better than you'd think. 

Oh, and "St. Elsewhere" also has a shocking twist ending, one that some fan theories say has major implications for about 280 other TV shows that puts them all in one shared universe — within the imagination of a child. Yes, really.

4. 9-1-1 (2018 - Present)

Here's another Ryan Murphy-created medical drama, only this one is actually about people in the life-saving business rather than the make-hotter business. But make no mistake — "9-1-1" is still delightfully campy (and occasionally trashy) television like only Ryan Murphy can deliver, and it's a breath of fresh air in the genre as a result. Starring "American Horror Story" regular Angela Bassett in the lead role, the show focuses on the various groups that comprise L.A.'s first responders system and also features Peter Krause, Connie Britton, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, among others.

With five seasons down and at least one more on the way, now is a great time to get stuck into "9-1-1." It might not strictly be a medical drama like most of the shows on this list, but it's about the people who get to accidents and tragic events first, and are responsible for getting victims to the hospital in the first place. There aren't enough shows about this part of the process, which is typically relegated to seeing EMTs for just a few seconds as they pull up to the hospital and hand the action over to the doctors and nurses. "9-1-1" was popular enough to warrant a Texas-based spin-off called "9-1-1: Lone Star," which is already gearing up for its fourth season.

3. House (2004 - 2012)

Sometimes also known as "House, M.D.," this Hugh Laurie-starring medical series ran for eight seasons on Fox and was among television's most acclaimed and award-winning dramas during that period. The premise is that Dr. Gregory House is a genius who can seemingly diagnose extremely rare and obscure diseases, and often after only hearing a brief description of the patient's symptoms. The catch is that he's also an abrasive curmudgeon who thinks he's better than everyone and isn't afraid to tell them so (and often). Among the very impressive list of people that were regulars on the show at one time or another are Olivia Wilde, Omar Epps, Kal Penn, and Amber Tamblyn.

It's no big secret that Dr. House is heavily inspired by Sherlock Holmes, as the show references the fictional detective quite often. It's arguable that it's an even better modern reinterpretation of the character than the CBS series "Elementary" — even though that show actually names its lead characters Holmes and Watson, with a nemesis character named Moriarty. Either way, "House" is one of the all-time great medical dramas, and House himself is one of the best television characters of the last 20 years.

2. M*A*S*H (1972 - 1983)

Would there have been any of the other medical shows on this list, even "St. Elsewhere," without "M*A*S*H?" Based on the 1970 Robert Altman film of the same name — itself based on a novel from two years prior — "M*A*S*H" is frequently hailed as one of the best TV shows of all time, in any genre. In fact, its series finale still remains the most watched single episode of scripted television in history, and there isn't even a close second.

Though it takes place on the battlefields of the Korean War, "M*A*S*H" is still very much a medical show as it centers on a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (hence the titular acronym). It has a fairly even 50/50 split between comedy and drama, though its poorly-aged laugh track definitely makes it seem like the balance is tilted a lot more towards the former. But that laugh track is one of the few things that doesn't hold up about the show, which is just as funny and poignant today as it was when it wrapped up in 1982 after an eleven-season run. It is available to stream through multiple services and is an absolute must-watch. 

1. ER (1994 - 2009)

"M*A*S*H" might be the better show overall, but "ER" is the best pure medical drama in television history. It wasn't the first medical drama — and as mentioned, it ran concurrently with "Chicago Hope" — but it is the one that is most often pointed to as having inspired everything that came after it, including "Grey's Anatomy." It seems redundant to point out how it made a star of George Clooney, but it's still relevant to mention as he clearly brought all the talent and charisma of an A-list actor to a television show — and he didn't immediately leave once he started appearing in movies, either.

"ER" was way more than just George Clooney, however, and that is a huge part of why it was so great. Dozens of great actors came in and out of the series over its fifteen seasons on NBC, during which time "ER" notched 23 Primetime Emmy wins from an incredible 124 nominations. Its last episode was the most-watched finale of any drama in 13 years, and when it came to streaming in 2018 it became one of the year's most talked-about TV shows — even among the ones that were airing at the time. Such was the popularity of "ER" then and its popularity now. On the off chance that any "Grey's Anatomy" fans out there have never sat down to watch it, we recommend doing so at your earliest convenience. You won't regret it.