Back in the mid to late 60's, the major networks were getting "hip" about current events which were affecting the attitudes of younger people. There was Vietnam, a growing concern for the environment, drug use, the Generation Gap and even, believe it or not, a focus on race relations.
Amidst all of these issues, the networks created a plethora of TV programs such as The Mod Squad, Ironside, The New People, Adam 12,and, of course, Medical Center. All of these programs came about after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr and one has to wonder if this event triggered an interest in both the networks and their sponsors. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it was all about ratings and not about addressing and correcting the social issues of the times.
As a member of the baby boomer generation, I, too, was a naive teenager who experienced all of these turbulent issues, believing that my generation could change the world for the better. It didn't have to be me that changed the world; only someone else of my generation who could do it. The sad part was that everyone was like me and there really weren't any leaders, so to say, who would be able to change things for the better. Our expectations, although buoyed by such television programs, turned out to be one of disappointment; the world hasn't changed primarily because of obstinacy and compromise; the former being the way the world has always been and the latter being a trap the world had laid for us as we got older.
These television programs were made in order for the networks to cash in. Medical Center was no different from the other "cookie cutter" plots of The Mod Squad, Ironside or The New People. Medical Center focused on current issues affecting the mindset of my generation: the proverbial "generation gap" sticks out like a sore thumb in the episodes "The Deceived" and "Thousands and Thousands of Miles". The drug problem raises it's ugly head in the episode "The Crooked Circle". The naiveté of young people hoping to change the world simply oozes in the "A Duel With Doom" and, again, in "The Deceived" and of course the program has to touch on race relations with "The Last Ten Yards", but what television program back then would avoid that issue?
Television successfully capitalized on these issues, totally deceiving us that they were on our side and would do anything to correct the wrongs of the older generation. Unfortunately, the networks were only interested in profit, and not at all concerned for a cure of the problems we faced 45 to 50 years ago.
These issues have been quickly forgotten, replaced by a world that has worsened and unable to climb out of it's morbid and immoral abyss, let alone trying to address the issues of today which have totally dwarfed the problems we had as teenagers.
However, there is good news: Dr. Joseph Gannon was and is still the best looking doctor of any medical show.