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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