From 1989 to 1993, Doogie Howser, M.D. was a regular feature on our TVs. Spanning close to 100 episodes, the show introduced us to a young Neil Patrick Harris who starred as Doogie, the young genius who balanced the struggles of growing up with the high-pressure demands of a career in medicine. While his position as a sixteen-year-old doctor may not have been relatable to us an audience, the problems he faced were definitely ones we were all familiar with. From body issues to encountering their first romantic moments, Doogie and his friends all tackled issues that are prevalent in teenagers, but the show wasn’t afraid to also branch out into more serious and sensitive topics either. Gang violence and prejudices against gender, race and romantic orientation all provided major talking points at some point during the four-season run, and provided a good mix of drama to the otherwise comedic show. With it being almost thirty years since Doogie Howser, M.D. first premiered on our TVs, we couldn’t help but wonder what the cast of the show have been up to. Have they all continued acting, or have their careers gone down a different path? We did some snooping around so that you don’t have to and found out what happened to the many stars of the show.
Interest in medical dramas first started in the 1950s with the premiere of City Hospital. While the show only had a brief run, it’s generally considered the first serialized medical drama to air on TV and sparked the public’s interest in the genre. A decade later, shows of this sort started to become a popular feature on prime TV thanks to the success of shows Dr. Kildaire and Ben Casey, both of which managed five successful seasons during the early to mid-1960s.
It wasn’t until the ‘70s that comedy started to become a common element in these shows. The blend of drama and comedy is a common occurrence in TV series nowadays because it creates a necessary balance between serious or shocking action and lighthearted relief, but it wasn’t widely considered until shows like M*A*S*H came along. During its eleven years on TV, the show paved the way for a new sub-genre with its comedic storylines that were interspersed with deaths stemming from the Korean War.
Since M*A*S*H concluded in the 1980s, medical comedy-dramas have continued to flourish. Shows like Doogie Howser, M.D. and Scrubs have thrived in the genre, while more drama based series like House and Grey’s Anatomy have utilized comedic aspects to prevent their narratives from becoming too dark.
All of these shows have made a mark on their audience and pulled in impressive ratings during their original run, with the first two seasons of Doogie Howser, M.D. having averaged around 14.5 million viewers in America. While the series never reached its natural end – the network canceled it before the final part of Doogie’s story was implemented – it will always be remembered for what it brought to our TVs back in the day.
[post_page_title]Then: Lawrence Pressman as Dr. Benjamin Canfield[/post_page_title]
As the head of Eastman Medical, Dr. Benjamin Canfield was the big man in charge, and Lawrence Pressman had the fortune to play him. He featured throughout the show’s run right up until its final episode and always looked out for young Doogie. He was an old friend of the teen’s father, a connection that he used during the series to convince David to take over the hospital’s family practice, and thus felt a responsibility for Doogie in the workplace.