22 December 2020

Review: All Creatures Great and Small (PBS, 2021)

Review of PBS All Creatures Great & SmallAmong the wonderful things to look forward to in 2021, is the U.S. premiere of the all new television production of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS Masterpiece, starting January 10 (check your local listings for the exact air time).

If you don't know, the show is based on a series of books written by veterinarian James Herriot and loosely based on his own life, after he joined a small Yorkshire practice owned by Siegfried Farnon. The books are fantastic and well worth your time, but you don't need to have read them to enjoy the PBS series.

Thanks to WGBH Boston, I was able to watch a screener of the series. Let me jump to chase: The production is fantastic! The producers did an excellent job re-creating the look and feel of the late 1930s. The clothes, the cars, and the little details in the houses and pubs all look like they fit the era. The Yorkshire scenery is beautiful, and you might be planning your next vacation before the first episode is over. Better yet, the screenplay nicely follows the beloved books, and fans will recognize many of the incidents, people, and animals.

All the actors captured the essence of their characters. Nicholas Ralph plays James. He is so perfect, it's hard to believe this is Ralph's screen debut. He has a bright future. Samuel West plays Siegfried with a good balance between the veterinarian's outward crustiness and rare moments of overt kindness, and I can't think of a better actor to play Siegfried's fun-loving younger brother Tristan than Callum Woodhouse.

Review of All Creatures Great & SmallThe Farnon's housekeeper is played by Anna Madeley, and the local woman who catches James's eye is played by Rachel Shenton. The women are from different generations with different expectations, though they've both experienced hardship. Each actor brings her character's personality to the fore while avoiding stereotypes.

I loved being transported back into the world of James Herriot (the pseudonym of the real-life James Alfred Wight). This production of All Creatures Great and Small shines. Mark your calendar and get ready to meet all of James's quirky and eccentric neighbors and patients, to laugh at Tristan's antics, and to root for James's success. I can't think of a better way to brighten up the new year.

Take a look at the trailer:

Thanks again to WGBH Boston for the opportunity to watch the series and share my thoughts with you.


Randomly Reading 12/22/20, 8:04 AM  

I used to love reading those books by James Herriot when I was a teenager. I can't wait to have time to sit and watch this. It looks great. Thanks for your review.

Vicki 12/22/20, 3:38 PM  

The books have been on my list to read for years. I'll add the series to my watchlist.

Karen White 12/22/20, 3:44 PM  

I loved these books so much as a kid! So glad to know about this and can't wait to watch.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 12/23/20, 9:26 AM  

I've been meaning to read these and watch the series. Good wholesome stories.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 12/23/20, 2:46 PM  

I can't wait to see this series.

Tina 12/23/20, 4:53 PM  

I have read them all and watched the original series. Our son Tristan is named after the character in this book! Our Tristan will be 32 next week :-)

Molly 12/25/20, 10:40 AM  

I've wanted to read this series of books since forever! Perhaps I will start with the PBS show first. It is about all I can handle right now after this 2020 year.

Joseph 12/29/20, 4:27 PM  

Great memories of reading Herriot to my children. This looks superb. Can't wait.

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