Doogie Howser, M.D., the series that plucked an adolescent Neil Patrick Harris from obscurity, putting him on an eventual path to contemporary comedy superstardom, is getting a reboot series, this one brandishing a female lead.
Keeping this new version of the 1989-1993 ABC dramedy series in the Disney corporate tentpole, the reboot effort under the working title, Doogie Kealoha, M.D., is set to manifest on platform Disney+ as a streaming serial offering, reports Variety. In a creative choice analogous to the Harris-starring original, the reboot will center on the titular character, who’s similarly a 16-year-old prodigy-turned-doctor. However, in this case, said teen doctor is a half-Asian, half-white female practicing medicine in Hawaii (in contrast to the original’s setting of Los Angeles).
Interestingly enough, Doogie Kealoha is maintaining a direct connection to original star Harris, since it will take shape under the creative stewardship of showrunner Kourtney Kang, a longtime executive producer for the sitcom platform on which the former star reignited his career, CBS’s How I Met Your Mother. After that series came to an end in 2014, Kang would move on to co-exec-produce ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, which just ended its run in February. She’ll be joined in the creative coalition by executive producers Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar.
The show’s group of executive producers will also include Dayna and Jesse Bochco, the widow and son, respectively, of Steven Bochco, who co-created the original series with David E. Kelley. Interestingly enough, Doogie Kealoha is not even the first reboot with which Dayna and Jesse were tasked, with ABC having tapped them during last year’s pilot season for a reboot of one of Steven’s signature shows, NYPD Blue; plans that ultimately failed to manifest a new series. However, Jesse has put in a lot of time in his own right as a producer and director, notably on shows like Agents of SHIELD, Murder in the First, Dallas, Raising the Bar and even latter-era episodes of NYPD Blue.
The title role of Doogie Kealoha, M.D. remains vacant for now, and it remains unclear how far along things are, especially with the entertainment industry, nay, the global economy, stuck in a virus-concocted entropy. Yet, plans are clearly being made, and the reboot series is destined to join an overwhelming array of Disney property offerings on the streaming service alongside returning mega-hit Star Wars series The Mandalorian, along with developing series such as a prequel series featuring characters from Beauty and the Beast, and revivals of Lizzie McGuire, The Mighty Ducks and Turner & Hooch – and that’s barely scratching the surface.
While the very concept of rebooting classic properties has become so commonplace in the industry that it’s hardly worth celebrating and/or lamenting, it will nevertheless be interesting to see how reboot Doogie Kealoha, M.D. takes shape, especially as it recalls a legacy. Indeed, thanks to an inherently original premise of a 16-year-old doctor and his seemingly anachronistic teenage travails, family drama and computer journal closing thoughts, the original Doogie Howser, M.D. was a defining pop culture phenomenon of its brief late-80s/early-90s era, even leaving a handprint in the parlance that still likely causes fresh-faced doctors to be referred to jokingly as “Doogie.”