One of the last things Steven Bochco did before he died in 2018 was to give his blessing to Disney+’s remake of one of his (many) seminal TV shows, “Doogie Howser.”
The new version gender-swaps the title role, with Peyton Elizabeth Lee portraying Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha. The series, titled “Doogie Kameāloha,” is being executive produced by Bochco’s son, Jesse and widow, Dayna.
Jesse said that his dad gave him that final push he needed to go ahead with the remake. “Literally in the last days of my dad’s life, my dad’s like — and he was never one to repeat himself — but he said you have something here, and they’re yours. So go do it,” Bochco said Thursday during the Television Critics Association press tour.
Steven Bochco co-created “Doogie Howser” with David E. Kelley in 1989, and is behind some of the most famous network dramas from the ’80s and ’90s including “L.A. Law,” “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue.”
“It was so important to us that this show reflects who he is and was. And that was really our only trepidation, I should say, when anyone approaches us about wanting to rebuild any of our projects, because he was such a special artist,” Dayna Bochco added. “We felt very confident going forward, because [the show’s creators] were always so respectful of what he had done. And also respectful of the ideas behind the concepts, you know, which is the child prodigy that doesn’t fit in either world.”
Set in modern-day Hawaii, the 10-episode comedy follows Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha, 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 spitfire Irish mother who’s also her supervisor at the hospital, and her “Local Boy” father who struggles to accept that his daughter is no longer his little girl.
“Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.” is written and executive produced by Kourtney Kang and produced by 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios. Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar and Dayna and Jesse Bochco will executive produce the series. Jake Kasdan will direct the first episode.
Along with “Doogie Howser,” the Bochcos were asked about remaking “L.A. Law,” which has a sequel series in development at NBC, that would star a returning Blair Underwood. Jesse said they’re still hard at work on that project. “We’re going to give it to the world.”