Monday, June 11, 2012

Check out Doc Martin Series 5 on DVD

Acorn Media has recently released Doc Martin Series 5 on DVD. The series centers on Doctor Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes), a general practitioner in the scenic village or Portwenn. Grumpy by nature, it has taken a long time for the locals to warm up to the good doctor, but now that he finally has found his place, does he want to keep it? Series 5 finds him contemplating a move to London, now that he has pretty much mastered his fear of blood, making him much better at this job.

Of course, there are plenty of things to keep Martin in Portwenn. For one, he has an infant son to look after, whom he and Louisa (Caroline Catz), have yet to name. Martin's Aunt Ruth (Eileen Atkins, Cranford), a doctor herself, has her share of problems, and could really use Martin being around. And she's just one of the many townspeople that could really make use of her services.

It's too bad Martin can't just be happy with what he has. The annoying aunt, crying baby in the night, estranged wife, hippie mum-in-law (Louisa Jameson, Doctor Who, EastEnders), and a brand new flaky receptionist (Jessica Ransom, The Armstrong and Miller Show) to break in pile up on top of the usual village drama and a completely inept replacement G.P. (Joanna Scanlan, The Thick Of It), making Martin as needed in town as he is anxious to escape it.

Doc Martin is a charming series, with the personality of House, minus the personal demons, and a colorful cast of support characters, much like Gilmore Girls. It's funny and light, with wacky plots and an amusing portrait of small town life. He is a thoroughly selfish character, expecting a woman who isn't even with him anymore to pack up her life and move with him for his own career. But he is also caring, wanting to be a good father. It's these opposing characteristics, as well as Martin's ability to show growth, that keep him such an intriguing character.

Series five begins with tragic change for Martin, when his Aunt Joan (Stephanie Cole) passes away from a heart attack. Might this tragedy help spur Martin to value family a bit more? It certainly seems like this might be the case, as he makes supreme efforts to make things work, even if he can't bring himself to declare his feelings or commit fully to trying to win Louisa back.

As mentioned, the townsfolk are quite colorful, and a large draw of the show. Doc Martin Series 5 serves these supporting players well. "Mother Knows Best" finds Portwenn celebrating Portwenn Fun Day, a major fundraising event which includes a culinary contest, sparking much rivalry. "Remember Me" sees Joe's (John Marquez) ex-wife, Maggie (Julie Graham, The Bill) coming into town with a case of amnesia, believing she is still married to Joe. And "Cats & Sharks" explores Bert's (Ian McNeice) severe money problems.

Everything culminates in the series fifth finale, when Martin's son is kidnapped, and two former lovers are reunited. It's a heck of a season, full of ups and downs and a lot of laughs.

Doc Martin Series 5 is presented in a two-disc DVD set, which includes about an hour of behind-the-scenes features, split evenly over the discs. All eight episodes are included, and series five will likely serve as the penultimate run of the show, making it a must-watch before things come to a close in 2013.

Buy Doc Martin Series 5, on sale now.

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