August 12, 2014 11:37 AM EDT

Physicians, heal thyselves: the story of St. Eligius, a Boston hospital of last resort for poor patients (hence its nickname) was important not so much for the diseases its doctors cured as the afflictions they suffered. Neither soap stars nor Welbyesque saints, Elsewhere‘s characters dealt with infidelity and moral crises; one was discovered to be a rapist, while another contracted AIDS. Elsewhere pioneered the quirky humor of modern dramedies, full of in-jokes and pop culture references (fictional TV doctors would sometimes be paged on Eligius’ intercom). The loved-hated finale still divides fans; the entire series was revealed to take place in the imagination of the autistic son of Dr. Westphall (Ed Flanders), who turned out not to be a doctor at all. But it was a beautiful dream while it lasted.

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