The only real difference between modern medical dramas and Doogie Howser is the time frame in which to deal with these issues. While the current shows grapple with the issues in-depth, carrying them through an arc that can span seasons, Doogie Howser solves the domestic, cultural or personal issue du jour by the end of the episode (19 minutes or less or your pizza is free). While I think it's great that they were examining such complex issues in a time where most shows were flatly ignoring them, the need to resolve the situation before the credits roll required that the issues were scarcely given more than a casual, often dismissive glance. As an example, an episode dealing with potential child abuse on one of Doogie's patients quickly flips into a "doctors overreact sometimes" resolution combined with a "father knows best" moral.
Discussion question: did bringing up serious issues on Doogie Howser, MD do anything to help or hinder the greater national dialogue on said issues?