In Australia: Wednesdays, 8.40pm, Nine
Like its lead character, Doctor Doctor gets by more or less on charm alone. It sees former high-flying Sydney surgeon Rodger Corser forced to return back to his rural home town to become a GP for a year after an ‘incident’ at one of his drug- and alcohol-fuelled parties. Back in the sticks, he learns that MRI machines are pipe-dreams, Google only gets you so far with diagnoses, hanging around with a drug-taking nurse is a problem and you shouldn’t spend too much time hanging out with your ex- (Nicole da Silva) now she’s married to your brother (Ryan Johnson).
This relentless hodge-podge of Doc Hollywood, Rake, Royal Pains and 800 words was fun in the first episode, with Corser a very agreeable lead. However, the show’s tried to be a bit more serious in subsequent episodes, with Corser at risk of getting struck off if he (inevitably) fails a drugs test, people dying in his arms, and family rows over his past and current relationship with da Silva. On top of that, while it was never the most realistic of shows to begin with, I imagine that hospital administrators should know that if they’re given large donations for specific items (eg MRI machines), it’s pretty much fraud/theft to then spend it on other things, a nagging concern never addressed in the third episode – if you’re going to get serious then you need to do it consistently, not just in the bits you like.
Doctor Doctor still has plenty of attractions, but Corser is largely carrying the show in the audience’s affections at the moment, with other characters more irritants than people you’d want to hang out with. It also needs to steer clear of the darker aspects of Corser’s previous mess-ups or at least balance them out with humour as it did in the first episode.
A decent enough show with potential that’s already been rewarded with a second season, Doctor Doctor nevertheless needs to look hard at what it wants to be in life if it’s to avoid losing patience.
Barrometer rating: 3
Would it be better with a female lead? Probably
TMINE prediction: Already renewed for a second season, but will need work to get a third