The Clinic (I) (2003– )
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The first night I sat down with a couple of beers and began to watch it I was curious as to who the cast were. I looked up the Internet Movie Database Base that night and discovered that I had seen most of them before in terrible shows but this was their best effort. The standard of acting throughout was of a very high quality. Each actor slipped into their roles very comfortably indeed and this was the making of it really.
From the first show to the last one each actor/character developed individually each having a crisis in most episodes but it was a recurring theme in each episode that was the development of the character/overall story you see. But to be totally honest with you the script was pretty weak. The script had all the usual medical drama's going on in it and their was nothing new but it was that the acting and the emotions displayed on screen to us that made the show worthwhile.
It has taken the Irish network bosses nearly 50 years to provide us with a great drama and they have finally succeeded in doing so. It will be interesting to see if there is a series two and where it will take us.
The Clinic is the Clarence Street Clinic in Dublin, a multi-disciplinary medical practice, with everything from physiotherapy to homeopathy. Owner general practitioners Cathy and Ed Costello struggle to keep the practice and their marriage afloat. Plots focus on patients and clinic employees in a semi-serialized manner.
O'Sullivan is Cathy, the co-founder and driving force behind the business. She must deal with the conflicts between being a good doctor, a successful business owner, and a good wife. Will something have to give? Meanwhile, her husband Ed would rather just focus on the good doctoring. It doesn't help that Cathy's domineering father, who disdains Ed, owns one-third of the clinic.
Into their lives comes Mafham as Dan Woodhouse, the character you love to hate who never met a consonant he couldn't overpronounce. Dan is an English plastic surgeon taking up an office in the clinic. While his tummy tucks and Botox injections are good for the bottom line, the rest of the staff tend to dismiss his work as frivolous and not real doctoring. His arrogant nature doesn't help.
Most of the characters are likable and evolve over the course of the entire series. As with any long-running show, some characters disappear or are written off, which can be jarring. The plots are mostly ones we've seen before, including many romantic liaisons, but are usually executed well enough to keep your interest. The show is also an interesting look into the Celtic Tiger years in Ireland, prior to the 2008 recession (the last series broadcast in 2009 reflects on this).
I found this show extremely addictive; most series end with a major cliffhanger. Luckily, as of this writing, all seven series are available in the US via AcornTV's streaming service (www.acorn.tv), so you can go immediately from the cliffhangers to the next episode.
An eight for the show's addictive nature, and for the performances of Mafham, O'Sullivan, and Lydon.
Let's try a biased description of a few major characters. Dr. Cathy Costello (Aisling O'Sullivan) who never met a conclusion she couldn't jump to. Mr. Dan Woodhouse (Dominic Mafham) goes from drug using smuck to a pretty decent guy who unfortunately has a fatal attraction. . Patrick Murray (Gary Lydon) goes from gullible, self-pitying, half-arsed counselor to incredibly gullible, self-pitying, half-arsed counselor. Daisy O'Callaghan (Amy Huberman) goes from dippy alcohol abusing receptionist to dippy, clue-less receptionist to self-righteous prig partner after inheriting Cathy's shares in the clinic. Surprise, Cathy dies. Keelin Geraghty (Rachel Pilkington) goes from so-so physical therapist to butinsky therapist who should have lost her license several times. Aine Flanagan (Gertrude Montgomery) goes from serious practice manager to receptionist after Cathy showing typical bad choice believes her long time employee might be a thief. Brendan Davenport (Chris O'Dowd) goes from slightly odd but highly competent accountant to wealthy but losing in love adult who chooses to live his life. Cara Madigan (Dawn Bradfield) goes from busy body manipulative instigating bitch receptionist to busy body manipulative instigating bitch practice manager. Dr. Clodagh Delaney (Leigh Arnold) goes from beginning mistake making doctor acupuncturist to settled in full staff mistake making doctor acupuncturist.
This can be a very addictive series and all seven seasons are currently running on Acorn TV. There are some abrupt character shifts and it can be infuriating when their absence isn't explained. But the new arrivals tend to be interesting and bring their own issues to the clinic. Only a few of the original cast survive all seven season and it can be surprising to see who makes the cut. As this is an Irish cast, at times the accents are so thick it can leave the viewer (American) confused as to what was said. Add differences in meaning of words and the confusion increases. A fag is a cigarette; the title Mr. is used to identify a surgeon as opposed to Dr. which references a GP; the post is the mail; brilliant means a good idea. After a while you (American) will catch on. Just as binge worthy as any Netflix series.
The acting is universally good, even great at times. The direction shows competence even when the script occasionally slows. But the scriptwriters do a superb job: never preaching, always entertaining.
Ireland thank you. It's not Wilde, but it's not supposed to be. And I have fallen in love with almost every character - beautiful, sad and wicked - just because they are so believable.
I have never before watched a medical soap which practically makes you feel like a voyeur in a real life clinic. Of course, reality would be unwatchable. The Clinic is sometimes mesmerising.
I began to skip past any segment with Dan, and then those with Clodagh, and then the awful character of Liam's son, Ian. Then it just became intolerable, and as much as I wanted and waited for the writers to do in Dan and that pipsqueak Ian -- and to get rid of Clodagh and even Cara, I could not take one more minute!