‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Is More Realistic Than ‘The Good Doctor’ According to Fans

TV shows don’t always have to be realistic. But series like Grey’s Anatomy draw upon the real-life drama of medical crises. No one is going to argue that Grey’s is a realistic depiction of everyday life. But when it comes to showing what happens in the action-packed halls of a busy hospital, fans believe it gets quite a bit right. In fact, they argue that Grey’s Anatomy is more realistic than another medical drama, The Good Doctor

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is a flagship for primetime drama

'Grey's Anatomy' Season 1 cast
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 1 cast | Frank Ockenfels/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

At this point, Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy is a juggernaut among primetime dramas. The series kicks off its 18th season in 2021. And it continues to keep fans’ hearts racing with nonstop cliffhangers and gripping interpersonal turmoil. 

The titular character of the series is Meredith Grey (portrayed by Ellen Pompeo). Fans who have tuned in all along have gotten to see the doctor go from a fresh-faced intern to the head of general surgery. They’ve also seen her deal with heart-wrenching personal crises, including losing her beloved “Dr. McDreamy,” in one of the series’ infamous crushing death scenes

The show has been known for some of its over-the-top plotlines including planes crashes, active shooters, and even ghost sex. Still, Grey’s has gone out of its way to portray real-life medical dramas, making sure that the conditions the patients have are actually medically backed. While not every scene is going to be true to life, the show does use actual doctors as consultants and attempts to make the medical elements match up with reality as much as possible. 

‘The Good Doctor’ is entering Season 5

Grey’s Anatomy certainly doesn’t have the market cornered when it comes to medical dramas.  The Good Doctor has become an established competitor. The series premiered in 2017 and stars Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a man with autism whose Savant syndrome helps him save lives. The series has received mixed reception, especially regarding its portrayal of autism and the choice to cast an actor without autism in the main role. 

The show, much like Grey’s, is not just focused on the medical crises of the patients. Often, those moments are merely a backdrop for the relationships keeping the real plot of the show moving from episode to episode. Like Grey’s, however, the setting is still a hospital. So even when the viewers are focused on the love lives of the main characters, the portrayal of medical realities is unavoidable. 

Is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ more realistic than ‘The Good Doctor’? 


Doctors Say ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Is Not a Realistic Medical Show, But ‘Scrubs’ Was Surprisingly True to Life

Perhaps it’s not fair to compare such an established show to a relative newcomer like The Good Doctor. But, to be fair, the latter kind of started it. One viewer took to Reddit with a short clip from The Good Doctor that shows a girl speaking with one of the doctors and saying that she’d watched Grey’s Anatomy. The doctor responds, “Well, being a surgeon is not much like that.” 

This was enough to send defenders of Grey’s Anatomy into the thread to point out that it’s actually The Good Doctor that takes the most liberties with its realism. One pointed out that The Good Doctor‘s hospital is understaffed: “they only have 3 attending surgeons in what seems to be a huge hospital and they can operate on any part of the body.” 

Another pointed out that even if Grey’s does take some liberties with reality, The Good Doctor seems happy to follow in their footsteps and creates plots around similar cases: “it takes the awe out [of] it because I always think oh Grey’s did it first!”