One of the unfortunate results of a popular film or show is the inevitable clones. I'm talking about entertainment whose sole purpose is to capitalize on the success of others by mimicking the script as best as they can without plagiarazing. Case in point- "Doc Martin" which is another needless show in the overcrowded medical dramedy genre.
The series begins with famous surgeon Doc Martin arriving in Portwenn to set up a medical practice. Instead of being a welcomed citizen, the Doc's rude manners end up alienating the townspeople causing them to severely mock the Doc. Further more, the Doc's lack of social skills put him in hot water with people in more than a few instances. Even though Doc has trouble settling in, he is the only Doctor in town and his services are required. The six episodes that make up the first series are: "Going Bodmin," "Gentlemen Prefer," "Sh*t Happens," "The Portwenn Effect," "Of All The Harbours In All The Towns," and "Haemophobia."
"Doc Martin" is your typical routine fish of water tale that always feels overly familiar. That's because IT IS overly familiar. The show blatantly rips-off "Northern Exposure" only the towns inhabitants aren't weird and crazy- they're annoying. While the Doc Martin character is a boring, stuffy, assy man who deserves to be ridiculed from time, the townspeople's lives seem to revolve around pulling pranks on the doctor such as faking a wound to show how afraid of blood he is. Apparently they have no lives of their own. Their constant insults of the Doctor wear thin as you can imagine. The only character who is charming and funny is the stray dog who always happens to find the Doc wherever he is. With a show built around a whole town full of people for the Doc to play off of, one would think the writers would have been able to create a few quirky folks, but no. A wasted opportunity on their part.
Another problem with the show is the formulaic writing. The Doc wanders from one place to the next, mouths a few jackassy lines that have a 50/50 chance of being slightly funny, meddles in the affairs of people which causes an issue, and treats sick people- the end. No real progression takes place in the six episodes. Doc is an out of place grump and everyone knows it. It all adds up to being rather ho-hum. Considering the talented Martin Clumes and Dominic Minghella were involved, I expected a lot more.
The show is not without merit. The location of Portwenn (which is actually Port Isaac) is picture perfect and makes for a stunning setting for any show. The place has more life and character than anything found in the show. I also have to say that end of the sixth episode was a fitting conclusion to series one. Without giving away too much, a happy ending is averted when the Doc's actions come back to bite him in the rear. It was a perfect summary of Doc's inability to form a stable relationship with any human being. His only real friend is the dog.
"Doc Martin" is one of the best looking British series I have seen on disk. The vibrant colors of the grassy green hills and blue seas of the fishing village Portwenn is as breathtaking as it is beautiful. There are a few scenes containing slight amounts of grain, but they go virtually unnoticed. The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen.
The Dolby Digital Stereo mix may not rival THX sound quality, but for a dramedy series it is acceptable. The dialogue is never hard to hear and isn't faint or low quality like in many British shows I have seen. I have no complaints.
Aside from production stills from each of the six episodes, there is zilch.
On the whole, "Doc Martin" is devoid of any originality due to insipid characters and common episode plots. You're better off watching any number of medical dramedies that came before this.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.