When it comes to rebooting hit Television shows of GenX, there seems to be a huge backlash, lots of purists crying not to touch their childhood. However, when it comes to Doogie Howser, M.D., which set off the career of Neil Patrick Harris, there have been crickets of complaints. Is this because they have been proven wrong too many times? Are they defeated and know whatever they say it’ll happen anyway? Whatever the case may be, I’m happy for the quiet. I was lucky enough to watch the first two episodes of the new Doogie coming to Disney+, Doogie Kameāloha, and have to say I absolutely loved it.
If you’re going to reimagine, this is a great way to do it. Doogie Kameāloha tells a similar story, but with a location change, genderswap, and new stories. In this version, we follow Lahela Kameāloha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a teenage wunderkind trying to figure out how to be a teenager while also being a fantastic doctor. In this world, Doogie Howser, MD exists, but as a television show. The fellow doctors refer to it and explain that’s why they call Lahela “Doogie” as a nickname. Does this mean we won’t see original cast members from the show? We’ll have to wait and find out.
Peyton Elizabeth Lee Makes It Her Own
Lee (Secret Society of 2nd Born Royals) as Lahela is incredibly charming. Watching her navigate friendship, love interests, and her rewarding, but sometimes very difficult job is amazing to watch. I also appreciate that the side characters are fairly well-rounded in these first two episodes. Far too often family members and co-workers get pushed aside for the sake of the main plot. However, that’s not the case so far. I felt I understood exactly who everyone was supposed to be from Lehlah’s Dr. Mom (Kathleen Rose Perkins), and shaved-ice selling father (Jason Scott Lee). Her little brother, Brian (Wes Tian), who wants to grow up too fast to her older brother, Kai (Matthew Sato), the love interest of Lahela’s best friend, Steph (Emma Maisel).
The cast rounds out with other doctors in the hospital, the fresh on the island doctor, Charles (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), and the two doctor sidekicks here to show him the ropes and be constantly impressed by Doogie, Noelani (Mapuana Makia), and Dr. Lee (Ronnie Chieng)
Fans Of The Original “Doogie” Won’t Be Upset By This One
I don’t really remember the original Doogie Howser series all that much, it was before my time. But, I really enjoyed the modern take on a familiar story. The writers never let you forget that Lahela is not only a doctor but also a teenager. She’s a doctor Vlogger, Tik Toker – if the getcha head in the game trend doesn’t become a thing I’ll be upset – and trying to figure out if the boy she has a crush on likes her back. I also appreciate all of the local nods to being a native Hawaiian, whether it’s the mention of Zippy’s or using the local performer from The Cheesecake Factory.
If you’re looking for a new family show to watch, or even just something fun make sure you check out Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. streaming weekly on Disney+