The Good Doctor (ABC, 2017-) is a US medical drama centered upon the life of Shaun Murphy, a surgeon with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and savant syndrome. While the serial product has been widely investigated from a linguistic and a medical humanities approach, little has been said about its reception. Based on this lack of research and considering the ability of medical dramas to promote information about health issues, the aim of this paper is twofold: first, to analyze Twitter social discourses around The Good Doctor with a focus on the representation of ASD and, second, to explore the potential of Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques to investigate the reception of TV series on Twitter. Two different methodologies were implemented to analyze the tweets: a topic modeling technique to detect the main topics, carried out using BERTopic, and a sentiment analysis approach to mine the audience’s opinion on a subset of tweets related to ASD, conducted using RoBERTa. Findings have shown that that The Good Doctor’s audience mostly discuss narrative and fruition-related topics, specifically throughout its airing time period, and have mainly positively received the representation of ASD contained in it.
Medical drama; social discourses; ASD; topic modeling; sentiment analysis.