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Addictive Primetime Soap with Some Terrific Performances
An Irish series that originally ran from 2003 to 2009, this is a solid drama elevated by outstanding performances by the two leads, Dominic Mafham and Aisling O'Sullivan. Gary Lydon should also be called out for his portrayal of sad sack resident counselor, Patrick.
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.
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