Women on call: 8 fabulous female doctors on internet TV

2018-02-09 15:42

Johannesburg - We’ll tell you straight up - for the purposes of this list, we’re going to ignore the obvious women in scrubs (yes, that means you, Dr Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy), and focus instead on our favourite lesser known, but equally admirable female MDs.

1. Emily Owens on Emily Owens, MD (Showmax)

It was a toss up for us whether to include Emily herself, the titular doctor in the show’s title, or her idol, Dr Gina Bandari. We eventually settled on poor, hapless, clumsy Emily because she’s just more relatable than the great Dr Bandari, who is a world-famous cardiothoracic surgeon. Emily and her nemesis Cassandra are desperate to impress Dr Bandari during their internship at the hospital - which gives Emily plenty of opportunity to embarrass herself. It’s not a new TV trope by any stretch, that of the socially awkward, geeky but brilliantly smart young female doctor (hello, Dr Elliot Reid), but Emily’s internal monologues are so real and funny that this rom-com feels like a breath of fresh air.

2. Gemma Foster on Doctor Foster (Showmax)

Gemma is a capable, trustworthy GP who finds out in episode 1 of this BBC miniseries that her beloved husband Simon is neither of those things. Gemma goes to great lengths to discover the truth about Simon’s affair, and even ropes a patient into spying for her. When her fears are confirmed, Gemma has to decide whether to stay with Simon, who’s going through a terrible rough patch with his sick mother and his doomed business, or to go against her nurturing nature and set out for revenge. You won’t need three guesses to predict what her course of action will be, and that’s where things get interesting, and brutal - it turns out Gemma’s not as compassionate as she seems.

3. Remy Hadley on House (Showmax)

We love a TV character with a credible but surprising back story. When the character is a doctor who’s been inspired to cure the sick by an illness in her own family - or even herself - we’re behind her all the way. Remy, known as Thirteen, appeared in Season 4 of dark comedy House, and she suffers from Huntington’s Chorea, a rare illness that killed both her mother and her brother. And, to keep things interesting, she’s a mysterious enigma when it comes to her personal life - she alludes to being bisexual, and to her sketchy past that may or may not have involved quite a lot of drugs. But maybe this is why she’s one of our favourite TV doctors - she treats all her patients with skill and care, whether they’re coked-up junkies or not. Seasons 1 to 8 of House are on Showmax.

4. Amy Fowler on The Big Bang Theory (Showmax)

Dr Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s romantic interest, is lovable for many reasons (like how she elbowed her way into the group that became known as Penny’s Posse in Season 4), but our two favourite things about her are 1. The fact that she was only on the dating site where Raj and Howard discovered her as a match for Sheldon because she’s got a deal with her mother that she dates someone at least once a year so that she’s allowed to keep using her mother’s George Foreman grill, you guys; and 2. She shares her neurobiology degree with Mayim Bialik, the actress who plays her. This makes Bialik one of the only actresses on TV today who’s a highly qualified doctor. (Did you know that Lisa Kudrow, better known as Phoebe in Friends, also has a medical degree?). Seasons 1 to 9 of The Big Bang Theory are on Showmax.

5. Malaya Pineda on Code Black (Showmax)

We need more Malaya Pinedas on TV. She’s cool in a crisis, the most competent resident in the ER of Angels Memorial Hospital, which boasts the busiest casualty ward of any hospital in the States, she’s gay (which makes her one of the only female doctors on TV who isn’t likely to fall in love with a dreamy older male doctor), and she’s probably got a better bedside manner than any of her fellow residents on Code Black. Malaya knows what’s what. But, crucially, she’s not perfect - her ex Carla (played by Shiri Appleby, who also plays Rachel, the lead in UnREAL and Natalia, Adam’s new girlfriend in Girls, Season 2, both on Showmax) is a former resident at the same hospital, and the one thing Malaya’s not prepared for is Carla’s reappearance, and her devastating self-diagnosis. 

6. Meredith Fell on Vampire Diaries (Showmax)

We all know that the most entertaining TV doctors are ones with regular human flaws, and if they’ve also got shaky ethics, it’s a bonus. The beautiful Dr Fell, who appears in Seasons 3 and 4 of Vampire Diaries, has both of these in spades. When she loses a patient, she indulges in a dangerous drinking habit (let’s be honest, we would too if our jobs put us in literal life-or-death situations), and she’s been known to inject some of her more serious patients with vampire blood to save them - but this is a secret she’s not prepared to share, for obvious reasons. Seasons 1 to 7 of Vampire Diaries are on Showmax.

7. Dana Scully on X-Files (DStv Now)

Yes, children of the 80s, that’s right, X-Files has had new life breathed into it, with 2017’s Season 11 now on DStv Now. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their roles as the newly reinstated FBI agents Mulder and Scully. We’re thrilled that the new season’s come hot on the heels of Season 10, which aired in 2016, especially since 15 years went by after Season 9. What’s Scully doing on this list, you ask? True X-Philes will know that she took a seven-year sabbatical from the FBI while working as a surgeon before re-joining the force for Season 10, since she’s not only a federal agent - she’s also a kickass medical doctor.

8. Jean Holloway on Gypsy (Netflix)

Jean Holloway (Naomi Watts) is a psychotherapist with a normal suburban married life. It’s so normal that she finds herself desperate for an escape - which she finds by forcing herself into the personal lives of her disturbed patients. She’s so reckless that we end up scolding and rooting for her in equal measure. This dark series about the danger of fantasy and hidden desires shares a director with the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, so expect lashings of sex and naughtiness. 

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