Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-nine - Doc Martin: Season 1, Episode 1, "Now THAT'S the Doc that I remember!"

It's been a little while since the last time I watched Doc Martin for Couchbound. If you'll recall, I was originally interested because the British production was one of several shows that I hoped to share with my mother, her tastes running a bit more dry and... well, British, in comparison to my own (I don't think she's ever enjoyed a movie that I've brought over).

Still, it was weird having the Doc be all goofy and generally amiable as opposed to the snippets of short antipathy that I'd become used to when visiting the folks over many weekends, catching a random episode or two of the series as opposed the the prequel movie that I saw on the Stream last time.

As mentioned before, the movie Doc Martin is much different in terms of personality (and last name) than the series Doc Martin, even though they're both played by the same man, Martin Clunes.

There he was escaping a failed marriage whilst inadvertently solving a village mystery. Here, in the first episode of the series, he's escaping a blood phobia (thought you'd only get that from the description as it's only mildly implied in the first episode) whilst exposing infidelity and leering at the town's schoolmarm.

I must say, I definitely like this version better, as he's much more succinct and terse... closer to Gregory House than Patch Adams and, being the grouchy American that I am, you can certainly tell which way I would lean.

I also like how the clues for the weekly mystery are laid out nicely but not thrown in your face. Sure, the quirky medical problem is a bit of a lark, but it's not bandied about across the screen in gratuitous fashion. Instead, there's a certain modicum of, well, tact... that I very much appreciate.

While, yes, you can immediately tell who Doc Martin's love interest is going to be as she is pretty much the only woman in town the right age and challenging and intelligent enough, the implied attraction and social awkwardness is subdued enough so as to be rather pleasant as opposed to the constant Moonlighting syndrome that most (American) television shows have.

Come to think, that's something that I believe most British shows have on their American counterparts, credit that I can even give to Rose Tyler and whichever Doctor she is on during her run as a Companion.

Quick shout out to Ian McNeice who plays a supporting role in the series. He's a funny guy and plays his well meaning jack of all trades with a keen sense of comedic timing that reminds me of John Goodman... or, maybe it's just that they're both large men? Either way, I love them both dearly, most especially McNeice here in Doc Martin, though I think that my favorite role of his was in the update of Dune where he was the Baron Harkonnen.

In any case, the first episode is a fairly decent start for the series and I look forward to seeing more from the characters. Sure, it's a bit awkward seeing the transition from the film version to the television one, and that's something that will probably never leave my mind, but even so the changes that were made work really quite well.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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