For those new to the series, The Good Doctor follows in the footsteps of countless medical procedurals that have come before, but with the necessary ingredients to help it out stand out as something worthy of your time. As with Executive Producer David Shore’s other beloved medical drama House, the focus of The Good Doctor is on an extraordinary doctor that can often see what others cannot. In this case, that doctor is Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel), a young autistic surgical resident who has an excellent handle on medicine, but often finds all other aspects of life a challenge. This is the type of premise that could easily be offensive and cringe-worthy, but Highmore’s performance is so nuanced and respectful that it works completely. Shaun has all the normal successes and failures in his professional and personal life as a typical person, but the way in which his brain works offers up a different perspective that can be both a gift and an obstacle.
In the third season of the hit show, Shaun is coming off a near-termination after the Chief of Surgery, who did not believe Shaun could cut it as a surgeon, resigned after Shaun was saved by the higher ups. This leads to an open slot for the job to be filled by one of member of the burgeoning couple of Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and Dr. Lim (Christina Chang). This introduces its own set of obstacles for the duo as the team dynamic morphs into something new. We have the sweet, compassionate Claire (Antonia Thomas), who has a heartbreaking season arc with ups and downs that are truly a gut punch. The brash, competitive Morgan (Fiona Gubelmann, Wilfred) grows more in this season as she starts to empathize more with her patients while simultaneously running into her own dire professional obstacles. Alex (Will Yun Lee) shines as a resident this season, but has issues to deal with outside the hospital concerning being absent from the lives of his family. And finally, we have Shaun’s father figure, Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff, The West Wing), fresh off a season where his future seemed uncertain, experiencing some monumental personal and professional developments that only seem natural for the show.
This is not even accounting for everything that is developing with Shaun. This season sees the most dramatic arc for him yet, as he explores what happens after he takes the chance to ask a girl out and she says yes. Shaun has been growing in emotional complexity through interactions with his colleagues and his crush turned platonic friend Lea (Paige Spara), but he is in uncharted waters as he navigates building a relationship. The lucky lady in question is the adorable, brilliant pathologist Carly (Jasika Nicole, Fringe), who has formed a real connection with Shaun. She is excited to guide him through all of the things being in a relationship entails, but that is easier said than done. In addition to working through the complications that Shaun’s autism brings to their dynamic, Carly also has to deal with his coworkers giving him advice that is not always what he needs to hear. Their love story has beautiful moments and tough times, but it is very fulfilling to watch unfold.
In the midst of all of this personal drama, there are even some medical cases to tackle. This season sees the residents competing to perform their first solo surgery, which brings out the competition all around. There are some fascinating cases, such as a subject who is unable to feel emotional or physical pain, or one where the patient lives in a bubble. As is the case with medical dramas, the cases usually interweave with the lives of the doctors to create poignant moments. There are times where the doctors have family members as a patient, or where there is interpersonal drama between the doctors over perceived favoritism. All of it culminates in a thrilling two-part finale that sees the team face the ramifications of a massive earthquake. The Good Doctor has been a step above many current medical dramas since the beginning, but this season the show has really come into its own as it has dropped some of the dead weight and accessed a more poignant angle that has done wonders for the show. It is not going to light the world on fire like your favorite HBO or Netflix serialized drama, but it stands as a current high point in the land of medical procedurals.
The Good Doctor comes to DVD with 20 episodes over 5 discs, which offers a fair amount of room to avoid compression issues. Due to the limitations of the format, these episodes are not going to look as good as they do in high definition, but the presentation is top notch within the DVD format. Even without the added definition, this is still a sleek show with fine details easily visible. Skin tones look natural, and close ups look quite good. Black levels are a little more problematic here, as nighttime scenes lose some of the outlines of objects within the shot. Colors are rendered favorably, and there is a whisper of texture in the clothing. This is the type of show that would probably have very slow sales if it received a Blu-Ray release, so this is a good option if you want to physically own these episodes.
This DVD comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that sounds great for the type of show that it is. Dialogue is rendered clearly with a focus in the center channel. Amongst all of the medical jargon, sound effects and the intense score never overpower the dialogue causing lost information. The rear speakers create a dynamic atmosphere as the sound of medical monitors and hospital chatter envelops you at all of the appropriate times. The mix has a good sense of directionality so that nothing ever feels like it is coming from the wrong place. You know what to expect when you sit down to watch a medical procedural, and this track executes all of the key elements perfectly.
- Gag Reel: A nearly five-minute blooper reel is provided full of funny flubbed lines and on-set antics. The actor that seems most prone to breaking is Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Melendez. Watching these is always a good time.
- Deleted Scenes: 27 scenes totaling 22-minutes are provided here in their finished form. Most of these cuts were likely made to keep the runtime within the allotted amount, and they are interesting to check out. A lot of them are throwaway moments with unnecessary exposition in the hospital, but there are a few interesting character beats that are worth checking out.
The Good Doctor is a medical procedural that is a step above the rest due to its engaging main character and compelling ensemble that equally contribute to the heart of the show. This season watches the show truly find its creative footing to deliver some really powerful episodes. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has done a great job with the presentation, and has even provided a good collection of special features. If you are a fan of the show already, or just looking for a solid medical procedural to add to your collection, this one is a fine choice. Recommended
The Good Doctor: The Complete Third Season is currently available to purchase on DVD.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the DVD.
Disclaimer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this set free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.