‘All Creatures Great & Small’ Remains One Of TV’s Top Series In Its Second Season

Courtesy: Channel 5/PBS/PBS Distribution

Fans of the reboot of the classic television series All Creatures Great & Small have had a lot to be happy about this year in regards to the series. The series’ second season was met with acclaim from audiences and critics alike on both sides of the Atlantic. For those who don’t know, the series originally airs on the British television network Channel 5 before being imported by PBS after its European run. As Season 2 ran its course here in the U.S., the announcement came in January that the series has already been renewed for two more seasons, so lots more stories from the town of Darrowby are certain to come in the next couple of years, thankfully. While audiences await those many new stories, they can enjoy the series’ second season on DVD and Blu-ray thanks to PBS Distribution, having been released to both platforms March 8. For those who have yet to watch Season Two, it offers much to appreciate, not the least of which being its writing. That will be addressed shortly. The cast’s work is just as admirable as the writing and will be discussed a little later. The collective cinematography, make-up and costuming is also once again notable in its own right and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Season 2’s presentation. All things considered, they make the second season of the All Creatures Great & Small reboot series another presentation that the show’s fans will agree is so enjoyable.

The second season of Channel 5 and PBS’ All Creatures Great & Small reboot is another fully enjoyable presentation. It continues to make the series a rare rebooted series that is actually well worth watching. That is due in large part to the series’ writing. The writing presented in Season 2 is noteworthy because as in the series’ first season, it balances so many aspects so well. On one level, the writing shines because each episode is its own story. While there is a bit of a serial aspect here as romance starts to flourish for everyone at the veterinary office, the overall approach is anything but serial. Each episode overall is its own story. That means that audiences once again will not feel forced to binge the series and know what’s going on in one episode to the next in order to enjoy the show. What’s more, audiences do not even have to feel committed to going back to Season 1 if they have not yet seen that season in order to enjoy this season. That is because the writing does so well to catch viewers up with the first season’s events.

On another note, the writing here is impressive because the writers never let the growing romance aspect of the show overpower the bigger story. Rather they balance that respectfully into the bigger picture of each character’s continued development. Viewers will enjoy watching the continued sibling rivalry between Tristan (Callum Woodhouse)  and Siegfried (Samuel West) as Tristan starts to come into his own. James (Nicholas Ralph) and Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley) each develop even more in their own right. James comes into his own as he also learns to stand up to Siegfried and establish his place at the practice. Additionally, he starts maturing even more as he deals with the residents of Darrowby and their personal biases. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hall gets even more of her own time as she has to manage the practice as a sort of house mother while also finding and accepting love. On yet another angle, the dynamic between Helen (Rachel Shenton) and James even develops more in a way that will make it fully relatable to audiences. The whole story will not be given away out of respect for those who have yet to see Season, 2, but the couple does have something of a happy ending, albeit very realistic. That in itself is yet another example of the power of the season’s writing. Between all of this and the fact that audiences one again will not feel like they have to intensely devote themselves to the show, the writing clearly offers audiences plenty to appreciate. It makes for a solid foundation for the series’ second season. It is just one of the items that makes Season 2 successful. The cast’s work is of its own applause.

The cast’s work is of note in examining Season 2’s presentation because it does just as much to engage audiences as the writing. One of the most memorable moments in which this is exhibited comes late in the season as Tristan realizes that Siegfried and Mrs. Hall had lied to him about his exam grades. He sits at the table, nursing a bottle and fighting back tears as he confronts Mrs. Hall about what she knew. It would have been so easy for Woodhouse to go over the top and just milk the moment. Thankfully he did not go that route. The control that he exercised in handling the moment made it all the more powerful and engaging. On the opposite side, the varied moments when he brings out Tristan’s normally cocky attitude makes for its own share of laughs. This shows in its own right, Woodhouse’s talent and its impact on the show. On yet another note, his work opposite West is so believable. Anyone with a sibling will fully relate to the pair’s squabbling will love those moments.

In looking at Madeley’s performance, her balance of counselor, confidant, and general semi-boss standing makes her just as enjoyable to watch. She has lost nothing along the way. Those softer moments as she handles Tristan and Siegfried’s relationship and the more personal moments as she listens to broadcasts about the coming war show a wide range of emotions and talent. That she can make Mrs. Hall so believably coy as she deals with her own feelings towards her own romantic interest and her friend’s attempt to counsel her in the matter is just as enjoyable to watch. It all feels so real. There is no over the top drama even in this aspect. It does just as much as Woodhouse’s work to make the acting so rich.

The dynamic between Shenton and Ralph as Helen and James is just as enjoyable. The tension between the pair early in the season actually does well to leave audiences wonder if the couple would end up together. That is a tribute to the duo’s work interpreting the story this season. Even in the season finale, there is a discussion between the pair that leaves one wondering if the honeymoon period ended before it even began. Once again, this is the duo acting so well. It is a moment to which any ordinary person will relate because every couple goes through the discussion that Helen and James had. The total outcome will be left for audiences to learn for themselves even as audiences wait to see where Helen and James’ relationship will go in Season 3. Between this work and that of the rest of the cast examined here, it goes without saying that the cast’s work in Season 2 makes for just as much engagement and entertainment as the season’s writing. The two items together make for even more reason for audiences to take in Season 2. They are just part of what makes Season 2 enjoyable. The collective cinematography, makeup and costuming round out the season’s positives.

The cinematography featured in Season 2 is just as stunning as that in the rebooted series’ debut season. The lush, green meadows and the quaint town streets (captured in and around Yorkshire) are so stunning, especially under the bright, blue skies. The ability of those behind the cameras to just as effectively set the stage in the vet office and even in the farmers’ homes and land is just as admirable even in its minutiae. It makes the stories all the more engaging. The same can be said of the work put in to ensure the season looks time period accurate. From the vehicles to the costumes and the hair dos and more, it is clear that a lot of time and effort went into making sure as much as possible was done to make everything right and believable. So just as much credit is due to those behind the cameras in this angle as those behind the cameras and capturing the acting. When all of this is considered along with the work of the show’s writers and cast, the whole makes for even more enjoyment in the second season of All Creatures Great & Small. It makes the second season a complete success and one more of the year’s top new DVD and BLu-ray box sets for grown-up audiences.

The second season of All Creatures Great & Small‘s reboot is a joy of a presentation. That is due in part to the season’s writing, which balances so many story aspects so expertly from one episode to the next. The writing once again avoids any serial aspects, which in this day and age is so welcome. It also makes the separate stories so engaging and entertaining in their own right. The cast’s work interpreting the writers’ work is just as enjoyable. The cast’s work is fully believable from one story to the next and makes the season all the more immersive. The collective cinematography, costuming and makeup make the season’s aesthetic impact just as enjoyable as the writing and acting. Each item examined here is important in its own right to the whole of the season’s presentation. All things considered, they make the season another welcome presentation for the rebooted series and another positive addition to this year’s field of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-up audiences.

All Creatures Great & Small: Season 2 is available now. More information on the series and other shows from Channel 5 is available online at:


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‘All Creatures Great & Small: Season 2’ Premiere Date Announced; New Trailer Premieres

The second season of Channel 5’s reboot of All Creatures Great & Small will make its American premiere in January.

The second season of the rebooted series is scheduled to launch Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS stations nationwide. A trailer for the rebooted series’ second season is streaming below.

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/Channel 5/Screen Yorkshire/Playground/all3 media

The Season Two trailer finds James (Nicholas Ralph) having to make an important decision. The decision in question centers on whether to stay at Siegfried’s (Samuel West) office or breaking out on his own. Along the way, James tries to help Siegfried’s brother, Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) grow into his own and even deal with Siegfried.

Also back for Season Two are Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley) and Helen (Rachel Stenton). Both women play their own key role in the season’s overall story. PBS and PBS Distribution released the series’ lead season in April on DVD and Blu-ray.

More information on the series and other shows from Channel 5 is available online at:


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The First Season Of “All Creatures Great & Small’s” Reboot Is A Surprisingly “Great” Presentation

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/Channel 5/Screen Yorkshire/Playground/all3 media

Reboots have become in recent years, an all too common thing in television.  Paramount is rebooting Rugrats, NBC tried (and failed) with its reboot of Will & Grace, as did CBS with its reboot of Murphy Brown.  There are even so many game shows getting rebooted over on ABC, and none are nearly as entertaining and engaging as the original series.  So when it was announced that the British drama All Creatures Great & Small was getting the reboot treatment on Britain’s Viacom-owned Channel 5 last year, there was good reason for audiences to be tense.  The original series, which also aired on Channel 5 from 1978 – ’80 and again from 1988 – ’90, offered so much for audiences to enjoy, so needless to say the  bar was already set high, considering the simplicity, heart and warmth of the original series.  Now with the release of the rebooted series’ lead season available on DVD (it was released Feb. 9 on DVD), it can be said that this show is one of the very rare exceptions to the rule of reboots being less than their source material.  Rather, this update on the original series is just as enjoyable as the original show.  That is proven in part through the stories, which will be discussed shortly.  The presentation thereof plays its own subtle but important part to this presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The work of the show’s cast also does its own share to engage and entertain audiences.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the first season of All Creatures Great & Small’s reboot.  All things considered, they make the lead season’s presentation one that makes this reboot stand out in the best way from so many other reboots being churned out on either side of the Atlantic.

Channel 5’s reboot of All Creatures Great & Small is a surprisingly entertaining and engaging presentation in its debut season, considering that it is, again, a reboot.  One of the items that makes this reboot shine in its lead season is its stories.  Given, the stories are loosely connected to the semi-autobiographical stories by James Herriot and just as loosely connected with the stories featured in the original series.  That aside, the stories bear so much heart and warmth from one to the next as they expertly balance drama and comedy alike for a fully immersive whole.  One episode that exemplifies the show’s powerful dramatic element finds James (Nicholas Ralph) facing the consequences of having to euthanize a horse that was suffering internally.  It would have been so easy for the show’s creative heads to go and make this moment early in Herriot’s career way schmaltzier than it needed to be.  That’s something that producers of any American drama might do with such a show, but thankfully was not allowed to happen here.  The way in which the story was handled, with James eventually gaining Siegfried’s (Samuel West) trust and  even respect, but still beating himself up, is so moving because of the control on all aspects therein.  That is also attributed to the work of the cast, which will be discussed later.  The result of that overall control is that said story becomes one of the series’ most moving and powerful moments in this its debut season.

By contrast, the story that finds James having to take part in the Dales’ annual fair balances drama and comedy together.  This story has equal parts drama and comedy as Siegfried, Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley), and Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) make a bet as to how long James will last at the fair before he finally snaps.  That these otherwise prim and proper types were gambling, and on the fate of their own friend no less, makes for so much laughter.  James’ own struggles to handle all of the pressure make for their own lighthearted moments, too.  It really serves to bring out that Buster Keaton type persona that Nicholas Ralph presents throughout the season. This will be discussed later.  Alongside with all of the laughs is James’ own inner struggle with having to decide whether to keep a secret involving a bull’s potency or lack thereof.  It is a simple matter, but the manner in which the show’s writers handled this story crates real engaging drama and ensures viewers’ engagement in its own way. That balance of lightheartedness and seriousness makes this story another memorable addition to this season.  It shows in its own right, what makes the show’s stories so important in its debut season.

Another story that shows the importance of the stories in this reboot actually stretches throughout the show’s debut season.  The story in question is that of Tristan’s personal growth.  He starts out as an indignant, snotty brat, but as his time at his brother’s office continues, audiences see him grow as a person.  It would have been easy in this case, to have just left Tristan a static character.  Thankfully that did not happen. His growth leads to scenes throughout that will lead to awe and laughter throughout.  The balance of dramatic chops and physical comedy that Woodhouse incorporates into his character as Tristan changes does so much to entertain audiences, too.  It is yet another example of how the stories featured in this season make it so appealing.  When these stories are considered along with the story of James’ romance with Helen (Rachel Shenton), James’ efforts to save a cow’s life, his near fatal mistake with another cow’s diagnosis, and even the powerful holiday-themed story that serves as the season finale, that whole makes clear why the stories featured in the first season of All Creatures Great & Small’s reboot surprisingly entertaining.  The manner in which the stories are presented here couples with the stories themselves to make for even more appeal.

The manner in which the stories are presented in the first season of All Creatures Great & Small’s reboot is important because by and large, it breaks from the norm of so much of today’s television.  The stories are presented as standalone works rather than as part of some serialized presentation.  Yes, there is a serial type aspect to the show in terms of the character development, but that is where that element stops.  This means that for the most part, audiences do not have to feel like they have to invest themselves in the show but so much.  In an age when far too much programming (on either side of the Atlantic) has become serialized, it is nice to return to a simple brand of programming if only for once.  Keeping that in mind, audiences who, like this critic, are beyond sick and tired of serialized shows will openly welcome this once familiar brand of story telling, making for even more appeal here.  This aspect is just one more that makes this season so enjoyable.  The cast’s work on camera puts the finishing touch to the presentation.

The work of All Creatures Great & Small is important to discuss because of the engagement and entertainment that it ensures.  As noted previously, newcomer Nicholas Ralph’s take on James gives James a new sort of identity this time out.  Not only does Ralph look somewhat like silent film legend Buster Keaton with his often stone-face emoting, but the personality that Ralph brings to James has that same sort of character type to the role.  That type in question is the innocent, underdog figure.  Whether Ralph set out to emulate Keaton is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, it makes Ralph’s performance and James that much more endearing and enjoyable.

Ralph is just one of the cast members, whose work on camera deserves attention and credit here.  Samuel West’s performance as Siegfried is entertaining in its own right.  Watching West develop Siegfried’s persona from the gruff, eccentric figure that he was in the season’s premiere to the more vulnerable, open type that he became by the season’s end is just as enjoyable as watching any of his cast mates.  West is fully believable in the role, and just as entertaining because viewers never know which side of Siegfried that they would see from one episode to the next.  The way in which West plays his character alongside/against Ralph’s own performance adds even more to each actor’s portrayal.  It shows there must have been some real chemistry between the pair off camera and on.

Much the same said of Ralph and West in regards to their performances can also be said of Callum Woodhouse’s presentation of Tristan.  At first, his take on Tristan’s snotty, arrogant behavior makes it so easy for audiences to dislike Tristan and write him off as just an antagonist to James (and even his own brother to a lesser extent).  However, as the season progresses, Woodhouse shows just as well, Tristan’s gradual desire to grow and become a better person.  The result is that audiences will find themselves surprised at their desire to actually pull for Tristan.  The reason being, that he manages to make Tristan a reflection of audiences.  He mirrors that desire that audiences have to better themselves because they know they, too, are imperfect.  Woodhouse’s clear understanding of that concept makes his portrayal just as strong as any other this season, and certainly not the last.  The one and only Anna Madeley is just as entertaining as her cast mates.

Madeley, who takes on the role of Mrs. Hall this time out, is the closest thing to a matriarch at Siegfried’s office.  She plays friend/confidant to Siegfried while taking on the part of a motherly figure to James and Tristan.  Her ability to be gentile with those two at times and firmer at others gives just the right balance of care and concern while also treating them as the adults that they are.  At the same time, the vulnerability that she allows Siegfried to see shows her softer side in a completely different fashion.  That is just a part of what audiences will enjoy watching from her.  There is a scene at the fair in which she silently but firmly goes toe to toe with a crooked carny who took a young girl’s money.  Her fortitude in that moment against the carny makes for another great performance on her part.  All things considered here, Madeley makes Hall just as great and beloved in this season of the show’s reboot as do her cast mates make their characters.  That is, again, the way in which she interprets each scene and Hall’s role in each circumstance.  That talent makes Hall unquestionably just as important to this show as her fellow characters.  Keeping that in mind, when Madeley’s performance is considered along with those of her cast mates, the result is performance after performance that fully immerses audiences into each story.  That immersion in turn results in appreciation for the stories and their own presentation style.  Keeping all of this in mind, there is no question in the end that all things considered, the lead season of Channel 5’s reboot of All Creatures Great & Small is a surprisingly entertaining presentation, especially being a reboot.

British network Channel 5’s reboot of the classic series All Creatures Great & Small is a surprisingly enjoyable new take on that original series.  It truly stands out among all of the otherwise forgettable reboots that have and do pollute the airwaves and ISPs.  That says a lot in itself.  Part of the reason that it stands out is its stories.  The stories, while loosely based on James Herriot’s books and the original series’ episodes at best, they are still enjoyable works that boast so much heart and depth.  The dramatic plot elements never get too extreme while the comedic elements get just enough time of their own.  At the same time, that the stories once again focus on James’ development at Siegfried’s office adds even more appeal to this aspect.  The fact that the stories are presented more as standalone stories than serial style tales makes for even more engagement and entertainment.  The work of the show’s cast within each episode puts the finishing touch to the whole.  When all three elements are considered together, they make Channel 5’s reboot of All Creatures Great & Small a rare exception to the rule of so many reboots being unnecessary and lacking in any entertainment and engagement.  They make this first season of the series’ reboot a surprisingly “great” presentation.  All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1 is available now.  More information on the series and other shows from Channel 5 is available online at:

Website: https://channel5.com



To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.