There are very few shows on television that make viewers realize, understand and appreciate their own humanity. Luckily for everyone, there’s Boston Med and NY Med.
These two ABC medical documentary series, created and produced by renowned journalist and documentary modernizer Terry Wrong, are some of the most compelling and emotional 16 hours in contemporary network television history. The shows combine the concept of cinéma vérité and narrative techniques of fiction that result in riveting real life accounts of the doctors and patients at some the country’s top hospitals.
Boston Med and NY Med, which aired during the summers of 2010 and 2012 respectively, consist of eight parts each and are both available to watch on Hulu. With their fascinating fly-on-the-wall stories of frantic emergency room visits, heart-wrenching tales of the organ transplant process, as well as a look at the personal lives of the doctors, surgeons, nurses and residents, these two amazing shows prove to have something for everyone.
One of the most interesting and unconventional aspects of the shows is that neither employs the use of narrators to bind together the parallel storylines. Instead, the countless hours of footage that Wrong and his team collected demonstrates the talent of the videographers and editors alike. By asking his crew to compile the best five minutes of the 20 hours of film they captured every day on their hand-held cameras, Wrong was able to accomplish what a scripted series could only dream of producing — authentic and unsurpassed human emotion that only real, everyday people are capable of.
Only have time for one episode? Check out the season finale of Boston Med, which wonderfully documents only the second successful partial face transplant in United States history. The episode’s remarkable narrative structure and the miraculous medical process in itself make this episode especially phenomenal to watch.
Whether you’re an aspiring doctor yourself or someone who is just curious about the behind the scenes occurrences at a top hospital, look no further than these brilliantly done documentary series. Entertaining, poignant and uplifting, Boston Med and NY Med are the definitions of must-watch TV.