Doogie Howser reboot

In April, word came out that a Doogie Howser reboot was in the works at Disney+. The original series starred Neil Patrick Harris as a teenage genius and medical doctor, and ran for 97 episodes from 1989 until 1993. This new version will retain that “teen genius” concept but change nearly everything else about it, including the setting. Get the details below.

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is set in modern-day Hawaii (already a big shift from the original show’s L.A. stomping grounds), and follows Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha, “a mixed race 16-year-old girl, juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. Guiding Lahela (and also complicating things) is her family, including her spit-fire Irish mother who’s also her supervisor at the hospital, and her Hawaiian ‘Local Boy’ father struggling to accept that his daughter is no longer his little girl.”

Disney+ has given this new version of the show a ten episode order for its first season. The series is being spearheaded by Kourtney Kang, who was formerly a writer/producer on shows like How I Met Your Mother (which starred the O.G. Doogie himself) and Fresh Off the Boat. The original series, which turned NPH into a household name and put the term “Doogie” into the cultural lexicon, often dealt with big issues despite its far-fetched premise: episodes touched on topics like homophobia, sexism, racism, body issues, and aging. Under the Disney+ umbrella, it feels like this new series could address similar topics in a way that was similar to how ABC’s old TGIF lineup used to handle things, when shows like Boy Meets World frequently mixed comedy with moments of heavy drama.

Personally, I remain skeptical that a new Doogie Howser is something that will attract a sizable Disney+ audience. Just because something has brand recognition doesn’t always mean it’s ripe for a new version, and news like this – while certainly having some creative potential – just makes me wish that Kang could have developed a series about a teen genius that had nothing to do with the Doogie Howser “brand.”

Jake Kasdan (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and his producing partner Melvin Mar are executive producing the series for 20th Television, and production is slated to get underway later this year. Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. will premiere on Disney+ sometime in 2021.

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