Netflix Picks: In Revolutionary Russia, Young Doctor is Clueless

I think it’s about time I explained how I pick what I’m going to review for this series.  I go onto Netflix, have a quick look around, and pick the first thing that looks interesting that I haven’t seen yet.  Which brings us to today’s pick, A Young Doctor’s Notebook.  I had already heard of this British mini-series thanks to the cable channel Ovation, but I’d never gotten the chance to watch it until now.

The show stars Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Freakin’ Potter) as the titular Young Doctor, and John Hamm (of Mad Men fame) as the older version of the young doctor.  The show is set in early twentieth century Russia, it actually splits it’s time between 1917 and 1934, in a hospital in a remote village.  A trip to the local shop will take half a day to get there, and half a day to get back, and the shop doesn’t open until August.  That’s how remote this place is.

Even though it’s called A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the story really centers around how the young doctor becomes the older one.  Most of the action takes place in the older doctor’s memories of what happened.  He then injects himself into those memories, giving his younger self the advice and encouragement that he wishes someone had given him at the time.  Before he became the man who’s being questioned about forged prescriptions.

The writing in this mini-series is pretty strong, essentially, this is a comedy; but a comedy of a pretty dark kind.  The characters have a quirky, but dark tone to them that works well in the Russian setting.  Speaking of the characters, the acting is well done.  Hamm and Radcliffe do well, as expected, and the supporting cast works hard to bring life to what might well be one note characters.

If you like black comedies, or just want to see how well Daniel Radcliffe has been doing since Harry Potter, I can definitely recommend giving this one a watch.  There’s two seasons, split up into four episodes each.  And each episode is only about twenty-three minutes in length, so this one isn’t going to require a big time investment.

Overall rating: 7/10


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