Doc Martin, Series 1
This was recommended to us by Devin, a fan who came by and took us out to lunch after I had signed all his books. Nice guy, and we loved this British series that you could call a sitcom, as it is certainly funny enough, but it’s not written purely for hoots. The humour is situational, there are few big punch lines of the sort that real people would never say, the sort that finally turned me off almost entirely to sitcoms. Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) was a high-powered and respected surgeon in London, the sort of Type-A personality who has no life outside of his profession. He quite likely has Asperger’s Syndrome, as he possesses almost no social skills. In my experience, the only doctors with worse “bedside manners” than surgeons are coroners, and he fills that bill quite nicely. Then he suddenly develops crippling panic attacks, and the prime trigger is the sight of blood. He can no longer operate. He relocates to a small fishing village in Cornwall, about as far from London as one can get and still be in England. The villagers are set in their ways, and we discover that some of their ways are better than his. But some aren’t, and the clash of cultures and points of view—the totally rational vs. the folk society where everyone knows everyone else—is the source of the comedy, and of the drama. It’s your basic fish out of water story, and it’s handled very well. Tears are not jerked too copiously, and the small lessons in humanity that Doc learns are handled well. He is not a robot, he is capable of seeing that sometimes an oblique approach to a problem is the best one, and comes to understand that not all human problems can be solved with a scalpel or a pill. We have seen the first four episodes on DVD, and the second disk is on its way. We’re looking forward to it. The series is still ongoing in the UK, and it’s popular.
(Later) We now have seen all the episodes in the first series, six in all, and it held our interest to the end, and entertained us sufficiently that we will eagerly watch more, unless and until it starts to bore us.