The doctor is in. And it's a good thing for television. Ever since the blurry black-and-white tube invaded homes, the medical show has been the palliative that audiences seem to need. From the clean-cut Dr. Kildare to the acerbic Dr. House, the medicine man has been diagnosing TV drama.

Its earliest renderings included "Marcus Welby, M.D." who was the kind of doctor you WISH you had. Played by movie actor Robert Young, Welby would actually listen to his patients and with empathy and authority do his best to cure them. "Dr. Kildare" featured Richard Chamberlain as the earnest Kildare working under the guidance of his august superior.

"Quincy, M.E.," became the first crime scene investigator to prowl the airwaves — a show that gave birth to all the "CSI's" that followed. There was "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," who saw Jane Seymour tending the ill on the postbellum frontier. Chad Everett was the comely young surgeon working under the sometimes combative eye of his mentor in "Medical Center."

"St. Elsewhere" not only featured some of the best writing on TV but also introduced Denzel Washington and Mark Harmon as young physicians toiling at a Boston hospital that had seen better days. And, of course, "M*A*S*H" followed the book and Robert Altman's brilliant film with Alan Alda as Hawkeye and Wayne Rogers as Trapper John. The series (which is still in reruns) was set near the firing lines of the Korean War. And while it was a comedy, it did not obscure the horrors encountered in an Army field hospital.

"Chicago Hope" was writer David E. Kelley's contribution to the healing world, with a sizzling ensemble cast including Mandy Patinkin, Christine Lahti, Adam Arkin and Rocky Carroll. "Doogie Howser, M.D." boasted a 16-year-old genius as a second-year resident surgeon in an L.A. hospital.

And, of course, the biggie was "ER," which not only ushered in seemingly realistic emergency room care but also made George Clooney a star. It ran successfully for 15 seasons from 1994 to 2009.

"Grey's Anatomy" seems to have found the secret to immortality with its 19th season beginning this year. Ellen Pompeo plays the chief of general surgery at a Seattle hospital who copes with the exigencies of the job and her personal life. "Private Practice" marked a spinoff of "Grey's Anatomy" and survived for six seasons.

But by and far the most popular medic on the tube has been the renegade — the one who breaks the rules in order to mend them. That started with "Ben Casey," who was so unorthodox that he wore his hospital tunic unbuttoned and talked back to his superiors. Hugh Laurie, as the pill-popping physician on "House," not only bucked the rules, he ignored them. And Matt Czuchry is the cocky resident on Fox's "The Resident," which will release its fifth season finale on May 17.

Ryan Eggold finds his character Dr. Max Goodwin "very driven and very altruistic and very sort of out-of-the-box" on NBC's "New Amsterdam," which will air for just one more season.

If television has stumbled on the prescription to successful drama, viewers have no trouble picking it up at the flat-screen pharmacy. From "The Good Doctor" to "Good Sam" to Dick Wolf's carefully nurtured "Chicago Med," there are also innumerable medical shows practicing on the streaming sites.