The Good Doctor may sound, on the surface, a lot like many other shows that have come before it.
The concept of a doctor who's brilliant with medicine but not so brilliant with other people isn't a new idea before—and in fact it's been done before by the same executive producer, David Shore, as a show called House—but let it be known that The Good Doctor is definitely not House. In fact, it's kind of the opposite.
This show, which is also being developed by former Lost and Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim, is based on a 2013 South Korean series of the same name. It's about a brilliant doctor who has savant syndrome, and the pilot follows the hospital board as they're weighing the pros and cons of hiring him as a surgical resident, all while he's saving lives and slowly winning over the hospital staff.
"In some ways, you want to be like yeah, it's just like House, go and watch it, 'cause House was amazing," star Freddie Highmore told us at ABC's TCA summer press tour. "But at the same time, I think there's a huge difference in the main characters. For me, Shaun has such a optimism to him, and a happiness to him that he brings to this hospital."
Highmore just spent the past four years as Norman Bates on A&E's Bates Motel, so an optimistic doctor on an ABC medical drama is a bit of a twist for him.
"It was a nice change. I guess I had it coming for me having killed so many people over various years, to now having an obligation to save some of them, or at least try to," he says. "But what attracted me to [the show] really was the opportunity to work with David [Shore] and his writing. Obviously he's obviously had such huge success with House—he's a brilliant writer. And the fascinating character, too, that I'm lucky enough and fortunate enough to be able to take on."
Highmore says the show takes great care in portraying Shaun both as a person on the spectrum and as an individual character.
"I think we all felt a great sense of pressure, but perhaps more than pressure, a responsibility to people who do have autism, to portray Shawn as authentically as possible whilst at the same time I think acknowledging that Shawn is one individual and can never—nor should we try to—have him represent everyone and everyone's experiences who is living with autism around the world, because it's an impossible challenge."
All that said, there's more going on with this show than just one hospital's journey to accept one doctor. It is a medical show on ABC, so there are also power struggles among the board members, and of course, hot doctors having sex with other hot doctors. Even if none of that appeals to you and you're just a fan of Highmore's Bates Motel murdering, the show is still worth a watch.
The Good Doctor premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC.