Wednesday, January 21, 2015
'The Indian Doctor' S2 DVD: Best Rural Physician Fish Out of Water Dramedy Since 'Northern Exposure'
This review of the BFS Entertainment DVD release of the second series (my people call them seasons) of the modern BBC dramedy "The Indian Doctor" wraps up the (non-sequential) trilogy of posts on this highly entertaining program. These offerings commence with a late 2014 entry on the newly released S3 set, go back to the beginning with a January 2015 review of S1, and finish with this post. One can only hope that the BBC opts for an S4 and that BFS continues its great tradition of making British shows and films available here by releasing it.
The premise of "Indian" is that the newly immigrated titular physician Prem Sharma and his very proper wife Kamini Sharma set up shop in the small Welsh mining community of Trefelin in the early '60s. The prejudice that this couple encounters extends beyond bias regarding their ethnicity to applying to the fact that they are not natives of the community.
The aforementioned S1 review notes the similarities between "Indian" and the '60s American rural sitcom "Green Acres." Both shows revolve around the misadventures of an educated professional and his reluctant sophisticated wife moving to the country where they encounter eccentric and not-so-sophisticated locals.
"Acres" addresses aforementioned socialite Lisa Douglas becoming more accustomed to Hooterville by having the equally prominent mother of husband Oliver visit a few times only to run afoul of the natives. In the case of "Indian," the writers bring the very proper mother of Kamini for a full S2 visit in response to Kamini becoming more integrated into the community by then.
The arrival of Puspha Bakshi in the S2 premiere episode coincides with the relatively concurrent arrivals of evangelist Hebert Todd from Africa, his wild child daughter Verity Todd from boarding school, and a case of small pox from an unknown location.
The arrival of Pushpa is also interesting in that her portrayor Indira Joshi is a cast mate of Prem portrayor Sanjeev Bhaskar in the hilarious Britcom "The Kumars at No. 42."
The arrival of small pox drives roughly 75 percent of the second season action; Prem must solve the mystery of the source of the first infection in the community, contend with the behavior of the locals that hinders the efforts to prevent the disease from spreading, and try to offset related prejudice and ignorance regarding this outbreak. A Barney Fife style deputy hilariously trying to nip any problems in the bud does not help matters.
Herbert further hinders proper procedures by engaging in practices that promote his agenda at the risk of the well being of the community. Herbert additionally plays a second very obvious role regarding the events that could decimate the Trefelin population. In all these respects, this man of the cloth fills the role played by mine manager Richard Sharpe in the first season.
Meanwhile, a second-season romance provides a nice bridge between a special first season relationship and a marriage in the third season. Similarly, the second season events help build the bond between Kamini and local boy in need of a mother figure Dan Griffiths that starts in the first season and is very strong in the third.
These events lean a more toward dram than edy but never get melo or otherwise over the top. They simply tell the tale of a town that is largely its own worst enemy regarding the peace and prosperity of the town.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Indian" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.