Global Health in 10 Current TV Series

Global Health in 10 Current TV Series

13.2.2020
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Photo: The Knick. Cinemax

 

Television viewing in Spain has changed over the last five years. The advent of a variety of digital streaming services has given rise to the production of higher quality series and more of them. While much has been written about the new batch of series—both foreign and Spanish—no one has yet analysed them from the point of view of global health. This is our ranking.

10. Atypical

Atypical is a comedy that follows an 18-year old boy on the autism spectrum who want to be more independent. Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix.

9. Grace & Frankie

Grace and Frankie is an American comedy series about two women faced with creating new lives after their husbands, who are business partners, announce that they have fallen in love and want to marry each other. Among other issues, the series deals with aging and alcohol addiction. Five seasons are available on Netflix.

8. Masters Of Sex

Masters of Sex is a series based on the true story of gynecologist William Masters and psychologist Virginia Johnson, pioneers in the scientific study of sex in the 1960s. This highly recommended series deals with sexual diseases and dysfunctions.  ln Spain, all four seasons can be seen on Movistar+.

7. Elite

Elite is an internationally successful Spanish series that portrays the life of students at an private secondary school following the arrival of three scholarship students from a lower-middle class background. The series addresses many issues, including bullying and class and religious differences. In addition, the story of one of the main characters in the first season helps to raise awareness of HIV infection and combat xenophobia. Available on Netflix.

6. The War of the Worlds

The science fiction series War of the Worlds is an adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel of the same name published in 1898, which describes the invasion of Earth by an extra-terrestrial race. The population of the world is decimated after a devastating attack by the aliens. This fictional story echoes the impact on the world's population of the bubonic plague and other diseases, such as the Spanish flu. SPOILER ALERT: In this adaptation of the story, will the aliens be affected by terrestrial microorganisms? Available on FOX.

5. The Knick

The Knick is a two-season period drama that depicts experimental surgical practices during the early twentieth century. It also deals with the scientific innovations of the time as well as the characters' personal and professional relationships. The story is based on the history of Knickerbocker Hospital in New York, an institution founded in 1862 and closed in 1979. Various diseases and conditions are dealt with and syphilis is a recurring topic. Available on HBO.

4. Euphoria

Euphoria, an American production based on an Israeli series of the same name, was another of last year's highlights. The drama, which follows the lives of a group of teenagers, addresses the problem of drug addiction and its enormous impact on mental health. It also deals with the potential risks of new technologies and their impact on our emotional and social life. The first season is available on HBO.

3. Chernobyl

The miniseries Chernobyl, one of the outstanding productions of 2019, revolves around the nuclear disaster that took place in the former USSR in April 1986, depictingh the initial disbelief and denial on the part of the authorities and following the subsequent clean-up efforts. The series is based on the book 'Voices of Chernobyl' by Belarusian journalist and Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich. The five episodes are available on HBO.

2. La Peste

La Peste (the Plague), a Spanish historical drama, is set in the city of Seville in the mid-sixteenth century during one of the epidemics of the bubonic plague that devastated the city. Several members the city's elite are murdered during one of these outbreaks. The series, which is permeated by the ubiquitous presence and power of the church, shows how the city goes from splendour to decline. Available on Movistar TV.

1. POSE

POSE, an American drama series about the ball culture scene in New York, deals with the impact of HIV infections on the LGBTQIA+ community and the community's struggle to access less toxic treatments, the importance of condoms in preventing new infections, and the worsening of the HIV/AIDS crisis. The cast of this series has the largest number of LGBTQIA+ actors in history. Available on HBO (seasons 1 and 2) and Netflix (season 1).Además de esta selección, también encontramos otras series que tratan temas de salud global como:

  • Lady Dinamite (Netflix) – Bipolar disorder
  • Looking (HBO) – HIV/AIDS
  • Bojack Horseman (Netflix) – Mental health and addictions
  • El método Kominsky (Netflix) – Cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Modern Love (Amazon Prime) (primer capítulo) – Bipolar disorder
  • Mr. Robot (Movistar TV) – Social anxiety disorder and clinical depression
  • Jane the Virgin (Netflix) – Testicular cancer and breast cancer
  • Pandemic (Netflix) – This new six-chapter docuserie about specialists working to control new epidemics (flu, Ebola, etc.) has just been released

Many thanks for all their contributions and suggestions for this post to the science communicators and ACCC (Associació Catalana de Comunicació Cientifica) members Simon Perera (BCNSpiracy and PRISMA), Anna Escardó (De scientia naturali) and Estibaliz Urarte (Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu), and to the science communicators Jordi Lanuza (Fight AIDS Foundation and UK Medical Research Council), Virginia Mata (Ecoserveis) and Eleonora Aquilini (SciFIlmIt)

I am sure we must have missed some interesting programmes. Which series including some aspect of global health would you recommend?

More information

Medicine in Television Series – Fundación Dr. Antoni Esteve (complete document)