News Article Details

'The Good Doctor' needs to get better

Daily News - 9/23/2017

Sept. 23--Characters with autism are being seen more frequently in Hollywood recently.

Last September, there was the film "The Accountant," starring Ben Affleck, about an autistic man who launders money for bad guys. He's also a skilled killer, so we are not just watching him crunch numbers.

Last month, Netflix released the comedy "Atypical," which centers on an autistic teen who is trying to navigate high school and his hormones.

Now, there is "The Good Doctor," debuting Monday on ABC. It stars Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome. He has been hired for a staff position at a prestigious hospital by Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff), who discovered Shaun's talents when he was a teen.

There is reason to hope "The Good Doctor" will be good. It was created by David Shore, who was behind the medical drama "House," but Dr. Gregory House, played wonderfully by Hugh Laurie, was an aggressive reprobate. Shaun is a mostly passive fellow, except when he gets upset because he doesn't understand something.

He may become insistent when he wants something, but Shaun doesn't always know how to express himself. We meet him at an airport on the way to his job. When a medical emergency arises involving broken glass and a young boy, Shaun steps in to help. But between schooling another doctor and convincing a TSA guard to let him use a knife, the moment seems far-fetched. (Plus, he hardly looks old enough to be a doctor.)

Meanwhile, opposition is mounting at a hospital board meeting at his hiring. Glassman tries to equate the hiring of an autistic man to the hiring of other minorities for staff positions, but there is skepticism. But we know Shaun will get his job. He proves himself dramatically.

Undoubtedly, each week will bring new medical and social challenges for brilliant young doctor, who is nicely played by Highmore, but that doesn't seem enough to make a high-stakes drama like this worth coming back to.

The Good Doctor

What: Medical drama about a young man with mild autism who is a doctor at a hospital. Starring Freddie Highmore.

When: Premieres 10 p.m. Monday.

Where: ABC.

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