Most TV executives wouldn’t think that a TV show full of bloody operating scenes, a foul-mouthed satire of the Vietnam War and an unapologetic critique of US Military involvement would be suited for primetime television. Lucky for us, CBS took a chance on a dark comedy called M*A*S*H, a dark comedy loosely based on the 1970 film of the same name, which in turn drew inspiration from Richard Hooker’s novel, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The series went on to become an instant sensation, garnering both critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase.
This fanbase remains so devoted that even decades after the series concluded in 1983, people are still watching it and finding it as funny and darkly relatable as ever. Whether you watched the premiere live in the ’70s or only know the show through its controversial legacy, here’s how to watch M*A*S*H in 2023.
What is ‘M*A*S*H’ About?
At its core, M*A*S*H is a television series that revolves around the lives of the medical personnel stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. Set against the backdrop of a war-torn and chaotic environment, the show primarily follows the experiences and interactions of the hospital’s staff, including the irreverent yet brilliant surgeons Hawkeye Pierce (played by Alan Alda) and Trapper John McIntyre (played by Wayne Rogers), the compassionate company clerk Radar O’Reilly (played by Gary Burghoff), and the no-nonsense commanding officer Colonel Sherman T. Potter (Played by Harry Morgan).
The series centers on these dedicated medical personnel who work tirelessly to save lives amidst the wartime chaos. Their daily struggles, camaraderie, and unorthodox methods of coping with the grim realities of war provide the backdrop for the enduring humor and drama of the series. While each episode promises moments of roaring laughter and hijinks, it equally delves into profound themes, exploring the ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in medicine during wartime and the broader complexities of human nature in times of conflict. This ability to convey such duality is one of the main reasons for the show’s success.
When did ‘M*A*S*H’ Originally Air?
The television series M*A*S*H originally aired on September 17, 1972, on CBS. It continued its impressive run for 11 seasons, ultimately concluding on February 28, 1983, with the iconic final episode, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” This memorable finale dealt with the impending end of the war and the characters’ journeys beyond the 4077th. To this day, the finale episode remains one of the most-watched and celebrated episodes in television history.
Is ‘M*A*S*H’ Available to Stream Online?
If you’re in the mood for a TV binge, all 256 episodes of M*A*S*H are available to stream on Hulu with a paid subscription.
Is ‘M*A*S*H’ Available on DVD and Digital?
Since TV shows come and go on streaming services, the best option for some fans might be to purchase the show in a DVD boxed set or digitally. Depending on your location and preference, DVD boxed sets can be purchased from many retailers.
Suppose you want to own the series with the ease of digital access. In that case, there are many purchasing options, including Amazon Prime Video, where individual episodes and full seasons can be purchased.
Other Shows to Watch like ‘M*A*S*H’
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of M*A*S*H or simply looking for something fresh after watching the series on repeat for the past few decades, here are some shows that capture the essence of great storytelling and memorable characters, much like M*A*S*H.
This classic sitcom aired from 1965 to 1971 and is set in a fictional German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. The series humorously revolves around the exploits of Colonel Robert Hogan, played by Bob Crane, and his team of Allied prisoners who engage in covert operations right under the noses of their bumbling German captors. Led by the cunning Hogan, the prisoners use their wit, resourcefulness, and clever schemes to outsmart the clueless Colonel Klink and the ruthless Sergeant Schultz. Much like M*A*S*H, the show balances the absurdity of its premise with a lighthearted tone and witty humor, making it a unique blend of wartime backdrop and comedic storytelling. While it has faced continued criticism for its treatment of a serious historical event, Hogan’s Heroes remains a popular classic with its memorable characters and, whether you love it or hate it, a humorous take on life in a POW camp.
Scrubs is a beloved medical comedy-drama series that originally aired from 2001 to 2010. Set in the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital, the show offers a unique and often hilarious look at the lives of a group of young doctors as they navigate the ups and downs of their medical careers and personal lives. Led by the witty and endearing John “J.D.” Dorian, played by Zach Braff, the series combines humor, heart, and moments of genuine emotion as it explores the challenges and relationships within a hospital setting. Alongside a stellar ensemble cast, including Donald Faison as J.D.’s best friend and fellow doctor Christopher Turk, Sarah Chalke as the compassionate and driven Dr. Elliot Reid, and John C. McGinley as the acerbic yet caring Dr. Perry Cox, Scrubs delivers both laughs and poignant life lessons, making it a fan favorite and a staple in the world of medical TV dramas.
This darkly comedic animated series follows the espionage adventures of Sterling Archer, an egotistical, narcissistic, and highly skilled secret agent who works for the fictional spy agency ISIS. Created by Adam Reed, the show combines elements of spy thrillers, workplace humor, and satire as it presents a world filled with outlandish characters and absurd situations. Sterling Archer, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, is surrounded by a dysfunctional team of fellow spies, including his domineering mother, Malory Archer, and his equally quirky colleagues. The series is known for its sharp wit, rapid-fire dialogue, and a knack for lampooning various spy genre conventions. As it evolves over its seasons, Archer explores different settings, from spy agencies to drug kingpins and private detective work, all while maintaining its signature blend of humor and irreverence.