Review: “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” Season 1

Originally, I wanted to post a short story today, but I’m not yet quite finished with it. Instead, I’m going to review the mini series “A young doctor’s notebook” with Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm. SPOILERS AHEAD

Oddly enough, even though the series has only four episodes (and each last only 22 minutes!), it put me through quite a rollercoaster of emotions. By ep 1 I found it funny, by ep 2 it became cynical, by ep 3 dark and by ep 4 really really sad. After seeing Jon Hamm on “Mad Men” (you know I love it) I dare say he has a talent for portraying broken characters.

And boy, is that doctor broken (I forget his name): top grades and then sent to the middle of nowhere (or as he notes in ep 1, the middle of nowhere was where he left the train station). 17 years later, he’s developed a severe addiction to morphine. Both Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm excel at playing this character. In the Behind the Scenes feature, Hamm said that the audience should forget who they had played before (i.e. Harry Potter and Don Draper), and I think they succeeded (I hope the old doctor is not a foreteaste of season 7 Don Draper).

For all you non-good-looking-guys-with-black-hair-fangirls out there, the series also contains a large amount of BLOOD (and other bodily fluids). If you liked “ER” back in the day, you will love this. That said, since “A young doctor’s notebook” is (primarily) set in 1917, the procedures and instruments make you thankful to live in 2014.

The series is based on a collection of short stories by Mikhail Bulgakov, “A country doctor’s notebook”. Having the old doctor give advice to his younger self was the idea of the series’ producers (I love that part). I might actually give the book a try, I hope it’s not quite as dull as so many other Russian authors (I’m looking at you, Tolstoy…).

Season two aired in November 2013, I hope they’re going to release the DVD soon – although I’m really wondering how they’re going to continue the story now that the question “How did he become addicted to morphine?” is solved and the older doctor is in prison (or wherever he is held captive).


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