Disney’s latest new live-action drama is a reboot of the classic ABC series ‘Doogie Howser MD’ from the 90s, called ‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’
This new series is set in modern-day Hawai‘i and follows Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha, a 16-year-old prodigy juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. She is played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who you might know from Disney’s ‘Secrets Of A Second Born Royal’ or ‘Andi Mack’.
As you would expect with a show about a 16-year-old girl, we get plenty of ‘boy’ problems that don’t suddenly disappear, regardless of how smart you are. Unfortunately, I found the whole ‘love’ interest aspect to the show to be one of the uninteresting aspects of the two episodes. This is because they don’t build up the ‘will they, won’t they’, they just rush straight to it, which is surprising in the first episode.
Also appearing in the series is her parents, her career-driven mother Dr. Clara Hannon who’s also her supervisor at the hospital, which causes more issues for her. While her doting father Benny, helps keep her grounded, wanting her to enjoy the smaller things in life like surfing. She’s also got two younger brothers, one of which is obsessed with getting older and has a crush on Doogie’s best friend, who has a crush on Doogie’s other slightly younger brother. While at the hospital, she also has some residents helping her out, though they are very one dimensional.
Adding in the family members helps keep this series a little more interesting, but in the first two episodes, it’s very much about setting the tone for the show and getting everyone caught up to speed very quickly on who’s who. But sadly they are also a little one dimensional and seem to just be there to support Doogie. The difference between the two parents is refreshing, with the mother as the Doctor, she’s more career-minded but also can’t separate her daughter from her employee. While her Dad still doesn’t see her as a young women, but is much more laid back, unless it’s a boy knocking at the door! Her two brothers might as well not be there, as they just provide a little comedy relief, which is a shame. It would be nice to see them expanded upon, especially living in the shadow of a genius sister.
Each episode is around 25 minutes long, once you take away the intro and the credits, so there is only really time for one main storyline, with a few little side stories along the way.
You can tell this show isn’t quite made for the Disney Channel audience, but it’s not mature enough for the ABC audience. It’s somewhere in between. It’s not on the same level as ‘Big Shot’, but maybe as the show goes on, it’ll grow, but I’m not really sure where this series is going to end up. There are only so many jokes or scenes about being mistaken for a normal clueless teenager, instead of a top doctor, that I can take. There are some more mature aspects in the series, such as her coming to terms with a death of a patient, but it’s very much glossed over.
I’m a big fan of many hospital dramas, such as ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘House’ and ‘Good Doctor’, so I do feel those shows being aimed at an older audience, has skewed my view of what I want from a hospital drama. This almost feels like a stepping stone show for younger audiences into more mature shows. That being said, I do think ‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’ is a solid show and one the entire family can watch together.
Having spent some time on some of the islands in Hawaii, I do have a little soft spot for this show. It might just be the gorgeous beaches and mountains, that make this series feel fresh and different. There are some noticeable things that show this was filmed during the pandemic, since there aren’t that many extra characters in any scene and so much of the two episodes are filmed in outdoor settings. It isn’t that noticeable, but it’s just something I’ve become more aware of lately.
Overall, ‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D’ is an enjoyable family drama series, but doesn’t do anything that is that shocking. But at the same time, there wasn’t anything in these first two episodes that made me go wow. There isn’t anything wrong with the show and I think I’ll go back to check out some further episodes, but if I didn’t, I feel like I’ve already got the idea of the show, since this couple of episodes never established any long-running overarching story. It also doesn’t help that Doogie doesn’t really have any opposition, she needs someone to challenge her and her mum just doesn’t cut it. It’s a nice show, but nothing amazing!
Rating – 3 out of 5
Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is coming to Disney+ on Wednesday 8th September, with new episodes dropping weekly.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.