Poignant and still funny
4 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I don't understand how the bad reviews are here, but most of them suggest the viewer's misunderstanding of dark humor. They also keep calling it American when it is produced by the BBC. As an American who has watched several BBC shows, this is fairly British in style.

It's a show about an amateur doctor in early 20th century Russia. Gloom and gore aren't spared one bit. But that's the thing, is it actually puts into light how a doctor at the time might go about things - he merely has to disregard all of the bad parts because it's his life and his job and what better than to medicate than with laughter and morphine? It also highlights how doctors become good at stifling their empathy in order to focus on their work. In our lead man's case, this escalates into narcissism, and it's hard to tell if that's who he truly is or if it's the drug's doing.

I love the storytelling where it's mostly show not tell. You have to read in between the lines to get the meat out of this story, so if you're looking for easy fluff that's where you might have gone wrong. As much as it is dark comedy, it is also a very powerful telling if how wretched addiction can be.

Jon Hamm and Danielle Radcliffe are a great pair. It's great to watch the older version of the doctor try to relate to his younger self, even come to terms with his past, and how that affects him later in life. His memory isn't perfectly preserved and it's presented as if he were allowed to view it properly and be amazed and disgusted at the reality. This exploration is highly thought provoking on it's own. Had the show been merely flashbacks to accompany the present tale, it would've felt cliche.

For me, most of the tale was the miserable downward spiral it's portrayed as. I enjoyed the humor very well, but I didn't finish it feeling like it was a comedy. That didn't detract from the show, though. I was left to contemplate many important themes, addiction being the most prominent, and how they were presented in this piece. Both the old and young doctors suffer from it. One is fresher and only admits his problem at the very end to excuse himself from doing the right thing. The other has found himself the pitiful product of such foolishness, and tries with all his might to amend the past to no avail.

Overall, I think it was extremely well done, and anyone who can handle the darkness will love this.
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