TV Recap: The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Episode 8

With only two episodes of The Doctor Blake Mysteries left one must ponder if this new series will be commissioned for a second season. Not much has happened storyline wise in these past eight episodes but there have been many great crimes and many great killers caught by Lucien’s (Craig McLachlan) cleverness.

dr blake ep8With only two episodes of The Doctor Blake Mysteries left one must ponder if this new series will be commissioned for a second season.  Not much has happened storyline wise in these past eight episodes but there have been many great crimes and many great killers caught by Lucien’s (Craig McLachlan) cleverness.

It does seem unfair but the comparisons to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries seem to leave this series hanging by a thread to entertain ABC audiences in the same way.  Although within the same genre The Doctor Blake Mysteries haven’t done enough to keep us on the edge of our seat.  It’s a terrible shame that the storylines are so slow and that any love interests between the characters have been put on a backburner for reasons unknown.

Last night episode, ‘Game of Champions’ had an outstanding performance by Melbourne’s Production Company star Matt Hetherington who can not only act but can sing and dance too (I will admit my bias having seen every single show he has been in for the past five years). The guest performances on the show have sometimes outdone the main cast and last night’s episode was no different with Hetherington, John Wood and Nicholas Bell maintaining more interest that poor old Jean (Nadine Garner), Mattie (Cate Wolfe) and Danny (Rick Donald).  Mattie is a wonderful character but her relevance could be debated.  If she was taken out of the show there really wouldn’t be any difference week to week.  It’s not the fault of Cate Wolfe, who has portrayed Mattie stunningly it’s the fault of the writer Stuart Page for this series that seems to have forgotten that audiences want drama and interweaving narratives between the main cast.dr blake mysteries

Something has gone wrong here and I am at a loss to figure out how. Was it the difficulty of adapting the books? This show could be so much more.  It could be the next big thing in Australian TV if there was more storyline, more character work, more URST (Unresolved Sexual Tension), more interaction within the main characters so the audience cares about them.

Compare this to the final two episodes of Miss Fisher, where we sat on the edge of the seat screaming at the telly and loving Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) so much that we couldn’t bear the idea that the baddie would win.  We care about her. We care about her ‘family’ and we certainly care about Detective Jack (Nathan Page).  We care because we have been provided with a story thread consistently throughout the series, we care because there’s drama, life and death situations for the main characters as well as a murder mystery every week. Doctor Blake is unfortunately none of these things.  I wish it was because I always believe in Australian Drama and local production.  I love Craig McLachlan too and his performance and charm is the best thing in this show by far.

I want this series to succeed and another to be commissioned so they can show us how they can kick-arse and prove me wrong.  I’d happily eat my words and celebrate the series if it had a turnaround in the entertainment and storyline areas. Here’s hoping the last two episodes turn it all around and next week you’ll be reading my tangent on how wrong I was and how clever the series became at the last moment.

I bloody hope it happens.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries airs on Fridays at 8:30pm on ABC1. Read more episode reviews of this series.

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2 Comments

  • Kate good to see your reviews again!

    Initially I thought this was a bit too slow and meandering though it’s great to have period Australian stuff on telly. But it’s grown on me and now I like it. It is set to a very different pace and Dr Blake is quite quite different from Miss Fisher (though both are progressives). Also I think the scripts – while sticking to cosies and therefore easily solvable – are better than MFMM which frankly could do better in that department though its stars transcended that weakness.

    I think its also the decade – the 20s is all zing and wicked while the 50s are a lot more staid.

  • I do like the Doctor Blake series, but need to point out that on several close-ups, I have noticed that characters have been wearing quartz watches! You can do better. BTW, I like both Phryne and Doctor Blake, but prefer the latter.

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