Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
on 28 April 2014
1959. Ballarat, Australia. Greatly mourned Doctor Blake is replaced by his long absent son Lucien, he badly affected by war experiences in Singapore. On call as police surgeon, he is soon going well beyond his job description, ruffling feathers as he does the police's work for them, bringing cases to a successful conclusion.
Ten episodes of around fifty five minutes. No extras.
Ecstatic reviews whetted my appetite. Sadly I cannot be as enthusiastic. That colour drained appearance is no doubt intended to give a period feel. Viewers may be divided whether this succeeds. All the way through the small budget is evident. This, though, I rather liked, a pleasing change from ubiquitous glossy offerings. Less happy are rather limp scripts, so many one dimensional characters and so much acting that is barely adequate.
The series gains strength as it gets into its stride, especially when themes have more substance - as with the factory exploiting immigrant workers and the asylum where a nurse is killed. A sit-up-and-take-note sequence has Blake scathing about British military incompetence which caused Australian troops such grief in both World Wars. At such times the series is propelled into a higher league.
Clearly the show has legions of fans and inspires much affection. I regret only occasionally detecting the qualities about which so many have raved. My loss, no doubt.
Overall reaction? Gentle pleasure, with hints of strengths upon which to build.