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The Second Best Hospital In The Galaxy Is A Heartfelt Yet Goofy Delight

Scrubs meets Tuca and Bertie... in space!

Prime Video
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Animated series are capable of depicting anything: far-off worlds, superheroes, even a man who is also a pickle. But it takes a specific kind of show to combine the ridiculous and fantastical with real-world circumstances that plague us every day. That is exactly what The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy does: expertly balancing bizarre patients from all over the universe with a touching interpersonal storyline that complements the unique art style. It has a unique voice, but once it becomes familiar, it’s well worth being admitted into this hospital.

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy stars Keke Palmer and Stephanie Hsu as Drs. Klak and Sleech, two best friends and surgeons at a struggling galactic hospital that cures all ailments, from STIs to black hole accidents, and everything in between.

Palmer and Hsu are one the center of an all-star ensemble cast, each with a character that perfectly suits their personalities. Kieran Culkin brings his neurotic charm to Dr. Plowp, an ultra-empathetic avian alien just coming out of his late-onset puberty. Natasha Lyonne (who also serves as executive producer) plays Nurse Tup, the over-it RN who is holding the whole place together. Maya Rudolph even appears as Dr. Vlam, a robot who has lived lifetimes before settling down as a doctor.

Each of these voice actors performs double and triple duty throughout the series, lending a voice to whatever character needs it, which makes the entire show feel like it was made by a few friends doing silly voices together.

That tone extends to the story, an episodic structure that sees Sleech and Klak treat a patient whose affliction echoes something happening in their own personal lives. An anxiety-eating parasite forces Klak to confront her own anxiety and her issues with her pop psychologist mother, or a transmogrifying infection reveals just how far Sleech’s attraction to Plowp goes. There’s even a season-long arc about a rivalry with the first best hospital in the galaxy, where Klak’s ex-partner Azel (Sam Smith) works for the galactic version of Big Pharma.

Nurse Tup (Natasha Lyonne) handles a time loop almost like she’s been there before...

Prime Video

Every episode shows an expert handling of each character’s personality and abilities, but also an intimate knowledge of sci-fi storytelling. Episode 3, “Tomorrow’s Death is Yesterday’s Problem,” is such a great time loop story (and highlights Lyonne so well) it gives Russian Doll a run for its money. Strange holidays, government conspiracies, and an incoming apocalypse are approached with a seriousness that allows the stakes to feel real, but still leaves plenty of breathing room for jokes.

The animation style, full of unique character design and bright colors, brings to mind the beautiful-yet-underseen Midnight Gospel, while the writing of Klak and Screech is pure Tuca and Bertie. The dynamic between a neurotic woman trying her best and her outspoken extrovert with her own issues always works, whether it's in live-action, animation, or even outer space.

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy may be the second best animated sci-fi series of 2024 (that distinction goes to Scavenger’s Reign), but that’s exactly where it belongs: out of the spotlight, a hidden gem that is bound to find its audience eventually and be beloved on its own terms. If you wish Scrubs was Bojack Horseman or that Rick and Morty had more heart (and scales, and eyes, and tails) then this is the show for you.

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy is now streaming on Prime Video.

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