The Doctor's In: Fall TV's Medical Dramas

Desperate for a medical show fix now that ER is off the air? Here's our guide to the best of this fall's white coat dramas.

The television networks didn't take long to fill the void left by ER going off the air after 15 seasons on NBC. Not including summer hits Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Hawthorne(TNT) and Royal Pains (USA), there are no fewer than nine medical shows set to air during the 2009-2010-television season. Back are some of your favorites that ended last season with suspenseful cliffhangers (House, M.D., Grey's Anatomy), shows that are winding down (Nip/Tuck, Scrubs) and slew of new shows ready to capture the emotions of an audience that's starved for all things medical. Between shows offering intense action sequences and those that rely more heavily on compelling story lines, fans of ER, which had both, will have plenty of trauma and drama to choose from this season.

New Shows:

Mercy

Series Premiere: Sept. 23

NBC wasted no time scratching their medical drama itch and have two new shows debuting in the fall in Mercy and Trauma. For the ER fans that preferred the touching storylines, Mercy will attempt to fill that void. Unfortunately Nurse Jackie and Hawthorne might have already stolen some of the narrative thunder from Mercy, which focuses on three female nurses that have a friendship in and outside the hospital. The star of the show is Taylor Schilling as nurse Veronica Callahan, who is returning to the hospital scene after a tour in Iraq.

Trauma

Series Premiere: Sept. 28

For the ER fans that preferred the more action-packed scenes, Trauma might be a better fit with its focus on San Francisco General's trauma team, the first responder paramedics. Derek Luke and Anastasia Griffith provide the eye candy and sex appeal while Kevin Rankin will play an openly gay paramedic, Tyler Briggs. What might end up hurting Trauma is its over the top explosions and special effects.

Three Rivers

Series Premiere: Oct. 4

Often overlooked in previous medical shows is the intense and emotional drama that surrounds organ transplants and recipients. Three Rivers looks to capture and accurately portray a sensitive topic. Led by Dr. Andy Yablonski (Alex O'Loughlin), his character is being described by the network as a "highly-skilled workaholic lead organ transplant surgeon, whose good-natured personality and sarcastic wit makes him popular with his patients and colleagues." While the topic of transplant surgery is a unique and engaging subject, it could struggle for viewers in a Sunday night timeslot that features Desperate Housewives on ABC and Sunday Night Football on NBC.

House

Season Premiere: Sept. 21

Medical shows can you make you happy. They can make you sad. And they can also make you laugh. That's been one of the reasons why House, M.D. has been such a success for FOX. The dry, witty banter between Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), and Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) might not be for everyone, but it's what separates itself from the rest of the pack. What happened to Dr. House at the end of last season is no laughing matter: after hallucinating that he slept with Cuddy, he finally hit his breaking point and was admitted to the psychiatric hospital. We can't wait to see where he's at as the sixth season kicks off.

Grey's Anatomy

Season Premiere: Sept. 24

The behind-the-scenes Grey's Anatomy drama is almost better than the storylines these days. T.R. Knight (George) decided to leave the show after executive producer Shonda Rhimes cut his camera time. Katherine Heigl (Izzie) gave The Ugly Truth about 17-hour work days on set and took to Late Show with David Letterman to share her disgust. Despite Heigl's critical comments, it's still unclear the fate of Izzie as she was seen flatlining at the end of last season. Could we have another ghost on our hands at Seattle Grace Hospital?

Private Practice

Season Premiere: October 1

The Grey's Anatomy spin-off is already entering its third season and will feature an appearance from Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) early on in the season. But the real suspense lies on the condition of Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman), who was attacked by her patient at the conclusion of the last season.

Nip/Tuck

Season Premiere: Oct. 14

The often racy and sometimes controversial Nip/Tuck is entering its sixth and final season. The final 10 episodes will be divided into two seasons with the series finale marking their 100th episode. Famous guest stars have become the norm and the final season is no different as you can expect cameos from Kathy Griffin, Mario Lopez, Rose McGowan and Neil Hopkins. 

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