Top critical review
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The weakest of the four series.
on 27 September 2010
I sort of liked Doc Martin Series 4. I like the actors and the setting, and for the most part the general stories. What I didn't like was that the details were off in terms of the character's personalities. They seemed to developed backwards, going from rich and complex in series 1 - 3, to one-dimensional in series 4.
Martin and Louisa especially have changed with Martin's gentleness and love for Louisa often disappearing in episodes of series 4. Their exchanges were simply arguments with no heart or soul behind them. Bickering, that doesn't lead anywhere. Frankly, I got tired of the number of times the emotional exchanges ended with a misunderstanding between Louisa and Martin. I also got tired of how often Louisa would stomp off as the victim. Although I did enjoy the line that Martin spoke about Louisa's "feminist point scoring" by not involving him in the pregnancy.
I did like the addition of Edith, she's there to tell us who Doc Martin was in the past, and to help us understand why he's the way he is now. Edith and Louisa are an excellent mirroring of the important women in Doc Martin's childhood. The cold and distant mother is reflected by Edith, the warm and loving aunt Joan by Louisa. The actor who plays Edith is excellent; she never wavers on the character being a horrid person, there are no hints from her that underneath it all she's a warm person. She's ice with no apology.
The birth of the baby could have been done better in terms of how Martin handled it. Martin's expertise as a doctor and his fear of holding his own baby didn't work for me. It's such a cliché anyway, and to apply it to a doctor is just lazy, bad, writing.
Hope that season five will bring back the depth to all of the characters. In my opinion the writers for season 4 took the characters at face value, which hurt the show.
I'm giving this three stars because a not-so-good Doc Martin is still better than most of what's on T.V. right now.