The Best Television Doctors Ever, Ranked

By Rick Gonzales | Published

The Best TV Doctors

Before comic book superheroes and those gritty detectives became the go-to on television, there were the doctors. For quite some time, shows like ER, M*A*S*H, House, and Scrubs, were a great watch not only for the stories they told but for the TV doctors they introduced to us.

TV fandom has been blessed many times over with compelling TV doctors. You must be asking yourself then which one is the best. Well, let us help you. We have the ten best television doctors ever. 

10. Dr. John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) - Scrubs

If we were simply ranking TV doctors by how funny they were, Dr. Dorian (aka Bambi and every female name you can think of) would be the hands-down best, and it wouldn’t even be close. Zach Braff brought all of his immense comedic skills to the part of John Dorian and Scrubs as he first began as an intern at Sacred Heart Hospital, eventually becoming a resident. He was the central protagonist, prone to daydreaming, and the narrator who was both insightful and humorous.

9. Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) - Grey's Anatomy

Sandra Oh played Cristina Yang for the first 10 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. She was introduced as a surgical intern before working her way up to a resident. Yang’s drive and ambition along with her exceptional surgical talent, made her such a watchable TV doctor.  Her friendship with Meredith Grey represented the emotional core of the show.

8. Dr. Olivia "Liv" Moore (Rose McIver) - iZombie

Dr. Liv Moore (Rose McIver) is certainly not your typical doctor. Especially given the fact that she dies, only to wake up a zombie. As fate would have it, she isn’t your typical zombie either as it is brains that she needs to consume to keep her going. Taking a gig at the King County morgue, Dr. Moore realizes when she eats brains, she takes on personality traits of those brains she eats, plus she can access the memories from the deceased person’s life. 

7. Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle) - ER

From an eager medical student to one of the most compassionate and skilled TV doctors we have seen, Noah Wyle’s Dr. John Carter became quite a popular character. Of all the original cast members that included George Clooney, Sherry Stringfield, Julianna Margulies, Eriq La Salle, and Anthony Edwards, Wyle lasted the longest and appeared in more episodes than any other star.

6. Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) - Frasier

We know, Kelsey Grammer’s Dr. Frasier Crane isn’t a medical doctor but instead, a psychiatrist. But that doesn’t make him any less of a great TV doctor. First appearing on Cheers, then his own series, Frasier, the doctor’s wit and intelligence have made him one of the most iconic doctors on television. His TV doctor character has been so beloved that a new series featuring Kelsey Grammer as Frasier is set to premiere later this year.

5. Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) - Bones

For 12 seasons, Emily Deschanel played the title character in the hit TV series, Bones. Her Dr. Temperance Brennan was a forensic anthropologist and so impressed viewers as she solved complex cases with her high intellect and attention to detail. Of course, it also helped she had a skilled partner in Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz).

4. Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) - Grey's Anatomy

It all ended too soon for Dr. McDreamy, Derek Shepherd, in Grey’s Anatomy. Patrick Dempsey played Derek Shephard for the first 11 seasons of the long-running series, showing off his skills as a masterful neurosurgeon whose talent, good looks, and ultimate charm made him a fan favorite and the eventual husband to Meredith Grey.

3. Dr. Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) - M*A*S*H

Alan Alda perfectly embodied Hawkeye Pierce, one of the most popular TV doctors to grace the small screen. Based on the hit feature film of the same name, Alda stepped into the big shoes of Donald Sutherland, who portrayed Pierce on the big screen. Hawkeye was the Chief Surgeon of a M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War, and though his character was often shown excessively drinking alcohol, his skill under pressure was without question.

2. Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) - Grey's Anatomy

She’s by far one of the top TV doctors we have seen in a long time. How can she not be, the long-running (19 seasons!) TV series is named after her. Ellen Pompeo plays Dr. Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy and through her eyes, fans have seen it all. She has dealt with numerous personal challenges (the death of Dr. McDreamy being the biggest), and she has dealt with the high-pressure world of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. 

1. Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) - House

Hugh Laurie’s performance as Dr. Gregory House is one you love to hate. He is immediately unconventional and narcissistic, yet brilliant with his diagnostic skills. All of these coupled with his sharp wit and complex personality captivated his audience and made him the best doctor on television.