Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Good Doctor Fans Agree This Was An Incredibly Disappointing Season

There have been many hit shows about doctors with unconventional attitudes to medicine and life. However, "The Good Doctor" is unusual as a medical drama where the lead character, Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), has autism; he's not just cranky or rebellious like Dr. Gregory House on "House," which was also executive produced by David Shore. Fans quickly embraced the show's tear-jerker plotlines and depiction of the autism spectrum, resulting in the series becoming a massive hit for ABC, per The Guardian

However, "The Good Doctor" has been criticized as well for its tone and portrayal of living life with a disability. USA Today wrote that the series keeps "venturing into mawkishness" when Shaun interacts with others, while autism experts at The Hollywood Reporter felt the show's view of the disorder still favors classic Hollywood stereotypes. 

Considering that the drama has been now on the air for six seasons, fans obviously disagreed with critics. But they did think this one season of "The Good Doctor" was not up to the show's usual standards. 

Redditors were up in arms about The Good Doctor's 4th season

u/MauroM80 created a stir on the r/GoodDoctor subreddit, sharing a post with the headline "Season 4 is very disappointing." The commenter then wrote below, "This show has now become indistinguishable from a satirical sketch about wokeness." Others agreed, such as r/Glory_To_The_King: "The more they try to preach, the cringer it gets," they opined.

For many on the post, however, the show's problems had less to do with progressive speeches, and more with serious story issues. u/sabrinid wrote, "I was done when Dr. Melendez kept coming back as a ghost. That's a wrap." Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) dying, then returning as a figment of Claire's (Antonia Thomas) imagination just seemed too over-the-top even for veteran fans of the show.

u/Poof-ball, meanwhile, thought the last episodes of Season 4 were the most boring they had ever watched. They criticized Lea's (Paige Spara) marriage proposal to Shaun as feeling anticlimactic in comparison to the excitement of previous season finales. It seems that for all those varied reasons, fans of the series were not exactly happy with the 4th season of "The Good Doctor."

New television shows want to represent disability and race more authentically

One deleted poster disagreed with u/MauroM80's assertion that the show felt like sketch comedy about "wokeness," writing, "I don't think it rises to that level. I think it just shows a driven attitude to be diverse." A 2018 Variety article does indicate how much "The Good Doctor" has worked to create more realistic stories about disability and diversity. The writer's room now includes a person on the autism spectrum as well as a doctor, David Renaud, who regularly uses a wheelchair and identifies as disabled.

Autism consultant Ava Rigelhaupt has noticed an overall shift in how television represents neurodivergence as well, telling USA Today that scripts are actively "trying to have diversity/disability representation, autism representation, etc., more embedded in the characters." This also means more actors with autism are cast on television rather than performers without that authentic experience.

It seems like as much as some Redditors may dislike this shift in perspective, "The Good Doctor" is actively seeking to represent race, gender, and disability with more accuracy, even if it may come off as preachy. It can't be expected that a show will change the world. But actor Albert Rutecki, who has autism, still has hopes for Hollywood's portrayals of people with his condition. "So often, I see people portraying autistic characters as these dorky super-geniuses, or like one-dimensional tragedies," he told USA Today. "I hope that (viewers) understand that we're complex humans who have our own wants and needs."