The world is in full panic mode with the Asian coronavirus infecting and killing hundreds in China – and it’s spreading across the globe, though South Africa is still in the clear. Rather than buying into the widespread panic, go out and buy some disinfectant while you still can, just to be safe (Asia is seeing a serious shortage of hand sanitiser and face masks in the wake of the virus) and stream these shows to your screen.
Ebola is the world’s deadliest virus. It will kill you in days. You’re in severe pain. You’re losing blood internally. You’ll cough up the most rancid gunk you could imagine. And there’s basically nothing your doctors can do. The worst part? It’s real!
This six-episode miniseries is based on a real-life situation in the US where a few people may or may not have been infected during a lab accident. A lot of it was shot in SA and you’ll see familiar faces like Bohang Moeko alongside Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace and Liam Cunningham.
This Afrikaans short film follows a talented and insanely intelligent geneticist who has put everything on the line to stop germs… because she’s secretly dying herself, according to a medical diagnosis. But the more that Hilde fiddles with genes and DNA and viruses, the more she realises that there are some things you can run from, but germs ain’t one of them.
How long she can keep her secret is linked to how long she can keep pretending that everything’s fine. In the end, when death comes calling, he won’t wait for Hilde to finish her experiments.
This series is based on the real-life hospital boss Eric Manheimer and his autobiographical book Twelve Patients: Life And Death At Bellevue Hospital. It follows Dr Max Goodwin, the new medical director at the oldest public hospital in the US. And he’s ruffling feathers from day one, upsetting the establishment by firing every doctor on his first day.
Don’t worry, Max has everything under control. Well… everything in the hospital and how it’s run. What he can’t control his is cancer. And as we all know, if the big C wants you, nothing will get in its way, even if you’re the main man in a white doctor’s coat. And yes, they try to treat Ebola too.
It’s called Doctor Doctor in the Land Down Under (where it’s from), and the doctor is in and will see you. Snobby heart surgeon Dr Hugh Knight oversteps the mark and the Australian Medical Tribunal gives him a punishment worse than losing his licence: he’s banished to the middle of nowhere to practice as a GP.
No fancy hospitals. No fancy surgeries. No fancy cars and women and and and. But the more Hugh works with the people of Whyhope, the more he falls back in love with healing. Now if only he could get control of his family, friends and crazy new besties in town…
This is THE medical drama but it’s super doctor-focused, so don’t expect to see 40 minutes of surgery and medical ailments in an episode.
But that’s why it’s lasted 16 seasons (and renewed for two more) and is still going strong as Dr Meredith Grey and her colleagues at Grey Sloan Memorial treat everything from broken fingers and fingers superglued up noses, to car crashes, emergency surgery in lifts during a blackout and viral contamination.
Be warned, you’ll need tissues – because the emotions are high in this one. Not because you’re sick, or anything. Hopefully.
The world is hiding deadly secrets and it’s mostly to do with unauthorised, unethical medical testing. So, as this doccie warns, it’s not a case of “if” another epidemic breaks out, it’s just a matter of “when”.
It also takes a closer look at the increasing popularity of parents not vaccinating their children, which is a huge problem according to experts, doctors and the World Health Organisation. The only difference between this and the stuff you’ll see in Hot Zone is that this is a documentary, Hot Zone is a drama. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Dr Lisa Sanders narrates this seven-episode doccie that uses online crowds to help diagnose patients around the world. “What if social media could help save lives?” isn’t something we’re used to hearing, but that’s exactly what’s happening as patients with unique conditions are desperate for help and ask people online if anyone knows what’s going on with their bodies.
One guy’s eyes roll back and he flatlines, while a little girl’s only cure is to have half her brain removed. This is real and it’s scary. Not just because the conditions are terrifying, but also because doctors don’t know everything, and what are you meant to say when your specialist shrugs and can’t give you an answer?
Medical Police (Netflix)
And now for some light relief. If you’re after a laugh, Medical Police is for you. Two unassuming doctors are recruited to be spies… and still work as doctors. In-between saving lives, the duo help the Center for Disease Control contain deadly viruses, plagues, infections and worse while trying to arrest baddies.
Double the fun (watch out for loads of cameos by stars like Malin Akerman, Rob Corddry and Lake Bell) and double the medical drama. Plus, at 24 minutes, episodes are quick and easy to stream.
- House MD (Showmax): Dr Greg House is the moodiest physician on the planet. He’s also one of the most brilliant, and he doesn’t let his need for painkillers get in the way of his diagnoses. Be warned: there’s nothing conventional about House or the way he works – and did we mention he’s moody?
- The Knick (Showmax): Dr John W Thackery leads the doctors at the Knickerbocker Hospital in this period drama that’s as scary as it is insightful. Doctors administer morphine, cocaine and heroin to themselves… then they start operating.
- The Strain (Showmax): Vampires are heading to New York and they’re not sucking blood – they’re in the blood, as a deadly virus that turns the living into the dead.
- The Passage (Showmax): The US government secretly runs an underground research facility that’s actually a test site where off-the-books experiments are being conducted on viruses… and one is about to break free.
- Bypass (Showmax): Cardio thoracic specialist surgeon Dr Cooper gives up her career and the job she loves when she discovers that it’s turned its back on her dying son)
- The Night Shift (Netflix): When ex-military doctors are sent to work in the emergency room at the San Antonio Memorial Hospital, their personal lives are dragged in with them as they tackle everything from bleeding noses to amputations.
- Nurse Jackie (Netflix): A rough-around-the-edges nurse balances her chaotic personal life with the busy routine of a head nurse the only way she knows how: popping prescription meds.
- Scrubs (Netflix): A group of crazy young doctors get to grips with the reality of their job – like giving patients news that they’re dying – while enjoying friendship, romance, fooling around on the job and just trying to be better people.