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TV Tonight: Scrubs Returns, Sort Of

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Tonight at 9 p.m., something with the name Scrubs will air on ABC. Bill Lawrence, creator of the sitcom that debuted back in 2001 on NBC, gave the show a send-off of sorts last spring, before it was saved from certain death again. Lawrence says he considers the returned Scrubs—which focuses on a crop of med students—a “new show,” and had wanted to retitle it, but ABC had other ideas.


Whatever you call it (I like Scrubs: The Next Generation), the new version seems less like a continuation or a spinoff than a remake. Or, really, a rerun.

It seems odd to think of Scrubs as a “new show” when the premise—but for replacing interns with med students—is pretty much the premise of the old show. What’s more, the new Scrubs, to help transition viewers of the old version, brings back cast members including Zach Braff and Donald Faison, whose J.D. and Turk even reprise “Guy Love” from the Scrubs musical.

Having felt that the old Scrubs outlasted its productive natural life to begin with, I have a hard time seeing why the new version—pleasant but overfamiliar—is better than, say, actual Scrubs reruns. But for more intense fans of the show, introducing a new generation of doctors to cutaway jokes and fantasy sequences may be enough to keep them from pulling the plug. When it comes to medical sitcoms, end-of-life matters are a very personal decision.