"Young James Herriot" covers the early adventures of our favorite rural veterinarian. Portrayed over a three episode miniseries, there was plenty of time for them to tell the story. And while certain aspects were genuinely wonderful, the bad outweighed the good.
The show shoots itself in the foot by wandering away from the character we came to see. It attempts to bring in period issues (women's equality, fascism, persecution of Jews at the time) but ends up indulging itself in pointless history lessons and boring irrelevant side-plots.
Rather than portray an intelligent, thoughtful feminist, they have a shrill, infantile and arrogant harpy to represent the entire women's struggle. And her enemy was an equally straw-man stereotype chauvinist with no redeeming virtues at all. And of course, the local contingent of conservatives aren't just conservatives, they're genuine fascists. Finally, there's the landlady who has a ridiculous amount of screen time despite being utterly irrelevant to all plots.
The characters (other than James) we so shockingly two-dimensional as to distract from the otherwise good medical plot lines.
Let's end on some positive points: The plots related to diagnosing and treating animals were wonderful. Also, production quality and period setting were above reproach. They give a good feeling for being in the 1930s Glasgow. Of course, period dramas are the UK's specialty.
Conclusion: If you can overlook dismal characters, civics lessons, vague liberal soap-boxing and irrelevant plots, the nuggets of gold in the muck may make the show worthwhile to you.
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