Chicago Hope (1994 – 2000)
Medical dramas are almost as much of a television staple as their legal counterparts. Chicago Hope had the dubious pleasure of debuting on the same day as that other medical juggernaut of the nineties, which was probably at least part of the reason that this one was cancelled after six seasons and the other one went on for a few more.
The writing on Chicago Hope was deep, but there was frequently a playful wink just below the surface – with a noir-inspired black and white episode, a musical episode, and one filmed as a celebrity style documentary, amongst other oddities. These diversions from the general week to week of surgery and the emergency room will come as no surprise once you understand the show is the brainchild of David E Kelley – the same guy who spawned Ally McBeal just a few years later.
The cast of Chicago Hope went through several transitions until, by the end of its run most of my favourites had fallen by the wayside, and there were only a couple of characters who had been there from the beginning. As the final season kicked in, although still good, the show’s glory days were a couple of years in the past, and its cancellation probably saved it from jumping the shark and kept its reputation intact.