TV on DVD Review: Doc Martin, Series 4

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Doc Martin, Series 2
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It's certainly a good thing that Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) decides to take a proactive approach to ridding himself of his hemophobia in the ITV series' fourth season as when Doc Martin gets started, viewers find themselves in the midst of more blood and gore than we traditionally see in the idyllic Cornish village of Portwenn.

Following the blow-up of his wedding plans to local school headmistress Louisa (Caroline Catz) that found the on-again/off-again pair deciding to call off their planned nuptials at the end of the third season, Martin sulks around the community with an even shorter fuse than he'd had before.

Back to alienating patients, offending strangers unaccustomed to his inability to make small talk or act polite, he likewise proves he's not above kicking away Buddy, the new dog taken in by his Aunt Joan (Stephanie Cole) who habitually follows Martin from door to door.

And despite the fact that Louisa has left Portwenn, which wasn't big enough for the both of them, Martin seems to feel that London would be precisely the right size as he hopes to cure his blood phobia and get back to serving as a top London surgeon in the same city where incidentally his ex has ventured.

After running across Edith Montgomery (Lia Williams), an old girlfriend in the form of a female Martin – cool, calculating, matter-of-fact and with nary a trace of bedside manner-- with whom Martin had attended medical school and whom we quickly ascertain still carries a torch for her old beau, Martin is soon put into touch with a behavioral therapist whom Edith is convinced will cure him of his blood phobia.

However, we realize that instead of the therapist, it's Edith herself who has taken it upon herself to try to rid Martin's strong ties with Portwenn and Louisa, which is made all the more difficult when Louisa shows up at the end of the season's first episode, quite pregnant and ready to settle back into the community in which she was raised in order to raise her and Martin's baby.

And even though she's adamant that she wants nothing to do with Martin and is dead set on raising the baby alone, the gossiping townsfolk, fortuitous coincidences, some convenient health scares and continually crossed paths make her wishes prove most difficult to keep as the two seem destined to always remain in the gray area relationship-wise, halfway between platonic and romantic.

With plenty of entertaining subplots, bizarre medical cases and new dilemmas for not just Martin and Louisa but the financially desperate Aunt Joan, as well as a romantically frustrated Pauline among others, the eight episodes of the fourth season of Doc Martin whisk by even faster when viewed in quick succession across this two disc set from Acorn Media.

Featuring the gorgeous Cornwall village scenery of Port Isaac where the series is filmed in the digitally transferred theatrical widescreen aspect ratio that fills newer model televisions completely without the black bars that would appear on standard TV sets, this breezily enjoyable, highly creative and richly atmospheric small town series is sure to satisfy long term fans of the doc who've been his television patients for years.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.