The Good Doctor - The Cultural Phenomenon of 'The Good Doctor' Shaping Perceptions of Autism in Media - 04/Apr/2024

The Good Doctor – The Cultural Phenomenon of ‘The Good Doctor’ Shaping Perceptions of Autism in Media – 04/Apr/2024

The Cultural Phenomenon of ‘The Good Doctor’ Shaping Perceptions of Autism in Media

The television landscape is often a reflection of societal norms and an influencer of public opinion. One series that has become notable for its impact on society is “The Good Doctor.” The medical drama centers on Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, who is recruited into the surgical unit of a prestigious hospital. This article explores the show’s reach and effect, shedding light on its portrayal of autism, the dialogues it has sparked in the medical community, and its significance in today’s media.

Plot and Characters: Breakdown of the Show’s Core Elements

The Narrative Journey of Dr. Shaun Murphy

“Kicked Viewers on a Heartwarming Medical Venture”

At the heart of “The Good Doctor” is the personal and professional growth of Dr. Shaun Murphy, portrayed by Freddie Highmore. The show follows Murphy as he navigates the complexities of working in a high-stress environment like the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, while also dealing with the social interactions and relationships accompanying his career. Shaun’s journey is not just one about surviving in a demanding field, but it is also about breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes associated with autism.

Supporting Cast and Character Dynamics

“Providing Diversity in Stories and Viewer Engagement”

Aiding Dr. Murphy are other vivid characters, each with their own backstories and issues, which contribute to the wider narrative. These include Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff), his mentor and father figure; Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas), his empathetic colleague; and Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), who initially doubts Shaun’s capabilities. The supporting cast not only enhances the spectrum of working medical professionals but also juxtaposes different viewpoints in humanising the medical field.

Representation and Accuracy: Debating the Show’s Portrayal of Autism

Autism Depiction on Prime Time Television

“Opening Discussions About Neurodiversity in Society”

“The Good Doctor” earns commendations for its depiction of a main character with autism, contributing to heightened awareness of neurodevelopmental conditions. Autism is represented as part of Shaun’s identity but does not solely define him. However, there are discussions that suggest it perpetuates the ‘savant’ stereotype—the belief that all individuals with autism possess extraordinary skills or intelligence. The motifs explored in Shaun’s narrative provide essential food for thought concerning inclusion and representation within media.

Impact on Audience Perceptions

“Evaluating How Television Influences Views Towards Autism”

As viewers engage with Dr. Murphy’s character, they are encouraged to empathize with different forms of communication and interactions indicative of autistic individuals. This engagement potentially alters preconceived notions surrounding autism and generates overdue conversations on neurodiversity.

Public Reception and Critical Analysis: Assessing the Impact of ‘The Good Doctor’

Viewership Statistics and Audience Response

“Measuring the Show’s Popularity Through Ratings and Engagement”

“The Good Doctor” has consistently performed well in ratings since its inception, illustrating the ability to captivate audiences around the world. Praise often centers around Highmore’s performance, compelling storylines, and sensitive handling of medical ethical dilemmas.

Critical Acclaim vs Criticism

“Balanced Views From Experts and Critics Expressed Through Reviews”

While much of television criticism about “The Good Doctor” falls positive, critics argue that some elements fall into cliché territory—a common symptom with prodigious-themed characters in storytelling. The show has faced detailed examination from different angles, recognizing its ethos yet advising caution against oversimplified narratives about complex conditions like autism.


  • “The Good Doctor” first premiered on September 25, 2017.
  • Based on a South Korean drama series of the same name.
  • Tackles numerous medical cases per episode alongside individual character arcs.
  • Has sparked important discussions surrounding diversity and representation within Hollywood.^

    Image Description

    The image captures a quiet moment from “The Good Doctor” where Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy looks contemplatively at a patient’s file while situated at the brightly-lit nurse’s station in San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Behind him, the hurried activities typical of a hospital ER blur into the background, emphasizing his focused expression amidst chaos.

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