All Creatures Great and Small: First Season
February 26, 2021 6:26 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The numerous adventures of a friendly staff at a country veterinarian practice in 1930s to 1940s Yorkshire. The first season plus its Christmas episode, "The Night Before Christmas."
posted by gladly (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Wife and I absolutely loved this, and are very much looking forward to the next round!
posted by davidmsc at 8:13 AM on February 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

So many things to love about the show - including, as noted in the article, that there are no villains. Some other observations:
- absolutely LOVE the illustrations/animation in the intro - so cute!
- tried to determine the age difference between Siegfried and Tristan - pegged it about 34 for Sieg and 25 for Tris, to account for "older brother raising younger brother." Boy, was I surprised to find out that the actor portraying Siegfried is actually 54 years old!
- The animals!
- All of the characters are charming and intriguing.
posted by davidmsc at 8:28 AM on February 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Considering the inevitable comparisons to the series from the 70's-80's, I went into this with some trepidation, but was completely won over in the first episode. The characterizations are familiar, but fresh -- Tris is much more of a scalawag than before, James more tentative and unsure, but I especially love the way they've beefed up Mrs. Hall and Siegfried. The show also benefits tremendously for not being confined to a television studio in the manner of so many 1970s BBC productions. My only disappointment is that we won't have any more scenes with Diana Rigg, who was splendid.

I assume television and film production in the UK is as backed up by the pandemic as it is in the US, but I hope we don't have to wait a long time for Season 2. I might go insane having to wait until next year for Season 3 of The Mandalorian.
posted by briank at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Ah, yes - what briank said - what a joy to see Diana Rigg in two episodes, and her character (and Tricki Woo!) were wonderful. I'm glad she got to leave a final mark on media on such a quality show.

Fortunately, I came to this show fresh, never having seen the original series - despite the fact that I actually lived in England from '76-'79! But I was a just a kid then and had no interest in "grown up" boring shows like that. I was all about ToTP and Saturday Banana and the Tomorrow People.
posted by davidmsc at 9:13 AM on February 26, 2021

I didn't hear about this show and just happened on this thread - nice to see it seems to be worth watching, I'll have to track it down! I read and loved all of Herriot's books as a kid.
posted by randomnity at 9:56 AM on February 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was not prepared for the sheer number of sequences in which a man sticks his entire arm inside of a farm animal.
posted by chrchr at 12:01 PM on February 26, 2021 [7 favorites]

I read all the books, but I never watched the original TV series, so I came to this with a good mixture of sentimentality and fresh eyes. I love the cast, but I was a bit thrown by how young Mrs. Hall is. In my mind, she was always a generation older than the Farnons and Jim. Now, she looks like the same cohort as Siegfried, and I swear, they have chemistry.

One of the best parts of this show is what they put into the animal filming. It all feels very accurate for the books and the people of Darrowby. And there's not too much extra animal noise inserted that film and TV always seem to do.

The episode with the local fair and the nefarious schemes about pony height was fantastic. That had exactly the feeling of the books.
posted by gladly at 12:13 PM on February 26, 2021 [7 favorites]

I was not prepared for the sheer number of sequences in which a man sticks his entire arm inside of a farm animal.

I watch a lot of the vet shows on NatGeo Wild, like The Incredible Dr. Pol and Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet, and you ain't seen nuthin' compared to what real large-animal vets do.

and I swear, they have chemistry.

Yeah, to the point that my wife has started shipping them.
posted by briank at 1:54 PM on February 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

chrchr - amen - basically only two "avenues of access" -- front or back. Thank heavens for more diagnostic tools in modern times!
posted by davidmsc at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2021

This is completely adorable.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:56 PM on February 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I loved this and am extremely glad to hear there will be a second season. I never saw the 70s series, so I can't compare the two, but I thought this was a lovely adaptation of Herriott's stories.

I especially liked how Nicholas Ralph played James. He starts out so nervous and timid (but determined!) and really grows into his confidence as the series goes. But the whole cast is great, and I look forward to more time spent in Darrowby next season.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:55 PM on February 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was not prepared for the sheer number of sequences in which a man sticks his entire arm inside of a farm animal.
I remember from the first series that the line, from any of the vets "I'm going to need some hot water, some soap and a towel" was a reliable cue for delicate audience members to look away until they heard bleating.
posted by rongorongo at 1:40 AM on March 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Mrs. Hall and Siegfried! That moment in the church! I don't think I actually want them to get married, but their relationship, not James and Helen, feels like the emotional core of the story.

I would totally watch a spinoff series just about them. Maybe a mashup series where they go on that other villain-less British cozy, the Great British Bake Off.

(Actually ok now I want all the characters to appear on Bake Off. Tristan's showstoppers would be ... something else.)
posted by basalganglia at 4:49 AM on March 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

"I'm going to need some hot water, some soap and a towel"

That's literally like several percent of the text of the original books. SO MUCH SOAP-AND-A-TOWEL

Can't wait to watch these tonight!!
posted by wenestvedt at 2:17 PM on March 5, 2021

Each episode in this new series feels like a nice warm hug of nostalgia and gleeful enjoyment as James’ initial barriers to establishing himself professionally in his early adult life are worn away. The poor boy makes good narrative is feel good TV.

In this re-make, James’ character is given a lot more naïveté in his arc from desperate jobseeker to enmeshment in the Darrowby universe. This is especially developed against this version’s insertion of the backdrop of his Glasgow family, a precarious Depression-era situation where the working class grind of the Docks threatens to ruin James’ aspirations. Thus his promotion at the end of Season One completes a satisfying character arc.

The truest thing in each version of the All Creatures Great and Small franchise is the oft repeated “the animals are easy, the people are the problem” notion. This is explored in a much gentler way than the original series, such that Tristan and Siegfried are slightly batty brothers in a soulful trajectory after loss - of their parents which gives Siegfried the care of his brother from a young age, and of Siegfried’s widower life. Mrs Hall is not the taciturn and disgusted character of the 1980s version, but instead a guardian angel aiding the hero as he navigates obstacles to Darrowby acceptance, and thus safety from being returned to obscurity in Glasgow.

Siegfried is not the confirmed bachelor who farcically makes up visits to his aged mother in Broughton [the ‘Bunburying’ of Wilde’s Importance of Being Ernest] to cover for his tom-catting with married or not ladies all over the shire. In this version he’s a lost, honourable soul in need of new love, a much more benign treatment of his character. Tristan also is not enmeshed in a dynamic with his brother that follows the same future - a lothario figure who lies and dodges the maidens and their marriage seeking ways. The original series was more like watching Fawlty Towers, with a house of twits running a business in a similarly ridiculous world of crank characters, this one is a Disney version where there is a sincerity and benevolence in the journey to adult life.

[The brothers in Alf Wight’s real life Dales encounters were widely known as cranks - Donald Sinclair/ Siegfried is remembered as a guy who fired his gun at the dining room table to clear guests at his dinner parties. Whilst Brian Sinclair/Tristan was happy with his depiction in Wight’s books, Donald was less so - even though his tirades and bizarre behaviours were given a humorous veneer.]

In re-watching the original, and dipping back into the books again, I’m even more aware of the Disneyfication of the new series. The farcical, stagey treatment of brothers’ sabotaging and dysfunctional ways gives way to no real personal consequences to James beyond good-natured ribbing on his ‘baptism of fire’ into Darrowby life story arc.

In terms of my relaxation as a viewer, there’s a lot to love about this new version. It’s so much nicer to feel good about James’ acceptance into the community than the anxious viewing of two brothers in an almost abusive triangulation with a new object for their almost psychotic amusement.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:23 PM on April 11, 2021

The second season is out! I made a Fanfare post for it.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:09 PM on January 18, 2022

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