A Review of the reviews of The Good Doctor on ABC by an autistic (savant)

Subtitle: and my personal review of the show as well

Let’s be succinct: Storyline=(doctor(young), autistic, savant syndrome), Challenges=(getting hired, being accepted, value appreciated), Results=(saving lives, period).

If you saw the premiere on ABC the other night, then you already know the storyline and don’t need a brief KetchUp.

I found out about this show via my Google Alerts. I have one set up for the term ‘Savant Syndrome’ and I received a ton of links to click in order to read about this new show in advance.

My only predicament to watch the show initially was living south of the border without US network TV. However, I overcame that obstacle pretty easily with the help of a VPN service and ABC’s free view of Episode 1.

My first thoughts, “They did a pretty good job showing autism and showing savant syndrome without reading definitions from a textbook.” And they also did a good job showcasing the ‘human condition’ which is very important in storytelling.

First a review of the reviews. I’ve read several so far and the writers are all over the place with their angles and opinions.

One writer wanted to show off some technical knowledge and gave us a list of the ‘Myths’ regarding autism and savant syndrome. [INSERT YAWN HERE]

Another writer caused me to cringe when they inserted “…suffering from autism…”! [INSERT WTF WERE YOU THINKING] [Answer: NOT]

To expand on that one, most autistics don’t feel like they are “suffering”, we just feel that we are different, period.

Since I’m very critical of both script writing and acting, I was very impressed with both in the first episode. However another writer was not, and criticized the “flatness” of the dialogue. I assume they were referring to both the lines and interpretation by the actor Highmore.

If so, guess what? That is a very typical way that many of us autistics interact both verbally and in body language, FLAT, period…GET OVER IT!

And finally the most important review that I read stated that the ratings for this show were the highest for ABC with any new series premiere in over eight years!

Thank God, because maybe they won’t cancel it before there’s an ending. That’s one aspect of US TV that I deplore. If the ratings aren’t there along with the advertising bucks, shove it out the window and bring in repeats of something else.

Those were the reviews by others, now a review by an autistic with Savant Syndrome [ME].

First, they NAILED IT and so did Highmore with his acting ability. Anyone that is familiar with autism or that is autistic themselves knows that we are all different, and there is no “one way” that we behave nor communicate.

Therefore both the writers and Highmore took the middle approach by showing just enough unusual physical movements and communication style along with the deadpan facial expressions of the character. It was very believable to me and I could relate as an autistic.

Second, without giving the viewer boring technical details related to Savant Syndrome, they showed them through the actions taken by the character in a medical emergency, and supported those actions with clever holograms that implied his thought processes.

The technique of using holograms that the producers used got some really cheesy criticism in more than one review.

Guess what? That’s sort of how it works for us folks with Savant Syndrome [SURPRISE]!

Often we are visual thinkers and use instantaneous visual recall to solve problems, very similar to how a computer works or your ‘smart phone’.

Therefore I give this prop a ‘thumbs up’, it worked for me, I understood the intent, and it weaved well with the actions taking place without being distracting.

Finally the infamous use of flashbacks on the screen in storytelling, either it works or it’s confusing. Again, there was just enough to give the viewer the true sense of pain that the character endured as an autistic child, along with the main crux of the story, his reason for becoming a doctor.

I’m hooked and I hope the writers are able to develop this story with authentic details as well as keeping us interested so that we want to see the next episode.

Time will tell…

Author: David Moore Boulware

Me = [scientist, researcher, writer, coder, photographer, autistic savant, alter ego (Leonard (the friendly vegetarian lizard from an alien oval planet)), ...]

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