‘All Creatures Great and Small’: A Re-Made British Masterpiece. A PBS review of the 2020 re-make. All text © Rissi JC

‘All Creatures Great and Small’: A Re-Made British Masterpiece

March 10, 2021 7 Comments

In this 8-part TV series, filmmakers introduce viewers to the world of James Herriot, a man who wrote a series of books on his experiences as a vet in a small English village. This is a re-make of an 80s TV show, and while I haven’t a clue what that’s like, I’m here, ready and able to discuss All Creatures Great and Small, season one!

All Creatures Great and Small (2020), Season One Masterpiece TV Review

Finding work as a vet, which is his training, has been something of a challenge for James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph). He hasn’t much of a prospect until he receives a letter from a vet with a practice in a small English village. Leaving his parents in Scotland, James eagerly travels the distance in the hopes this interview will lead to a job offer. Once there, he discovers Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West) is a harsh potential boss who has gone through multiple assistants and seems to expect the impossible of those he works with.

With the encouragement of Siegfried’s kind and warm-hearted housekeeper Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley), a woman with her own troubles, James just may succeed.

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‘All Creatures Great and Small’: A Re-Made British Masterpiece. A PBS review of the 2020 re-make. All text © Rissi JC

The number of productions they put out each year may be slim, but Masterpiece also lives up to their name. There’s rarely a production I don’t like and those that I don’t think are worth the hype usually have some good quality. This All Creatures Great and Small (2020), season one production is wonderful and then some. There’s something entirely “perfect” about this production that I cannot place, but know is there by how the stories make you feel.

The cast is quite good and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces from Bletchley Circle, Mr. Selfridge and even little brother Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) from The Durrells. Though a newcomer, Nicholas Ralph is excellent. In a nutshell, everyone is grand. The stories focus mainly on James’ entrance into these lives (and him trying to earn trust) along with the care of his patients. But the writer’s understand the importance of humor, of which there is plenty. We also have a sprinkling of romance here and there. However if you’re looking for Downton Abbey type romance, this isn’t that.

This show has so much whimsy from its opening credits to the characters, and of course, it features lovely country side, too. As viewers, we’re always going to hope we see the characters grow and change and continue to do good, but I have to say, I hope the writer’s understand what a delight this show is. All this to say, I hope come season two, it remains the same.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Read the disclosure page for details. If you have purchased anything through our links, thank you. We’re grateful.)

You can find All Creatures Great and Small (2020) on PBS DVD, Bluray or digitally with a Masterpiece Theatre subscription on Amazon.

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‘All Creatures Great and Small’: A Re-Made British Masterpiece. A PBS review of the 2020 re-make. All text © Rissi JC
‘All Creatures Great and Small’: A Re-Made British Masterpiece. A PBS review of the 2020 re-make. #British #AllCreaturesPBS #WhattoWatch #GoodTVShows Click To Tweet

Content: there isn’t anything terrible to note unless you don’t like shows that involve animal care. There’s a few scenes of animals having their temperature taken (and the “gory” business of a calve being born); as well as one (off-screen) scene of a horse being shot. (It suffers an incurable condition.) The show is TV-PG/14 depending on the episode.

Photos: Masterpiece PBS

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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7 Comments

  • Lauren @ Always Me March 10, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    I loved this show so much! I’m glad to know there’s going to be a second season on the way! Nicholas Ralph’s James Herriot is a new favorite character. :)

    • Rissi JC March 15, 2021 at 10:38 pm

      YES!! Same. It’s SUCH a good and relaxing kind of show. Much as I love my crime dramas, there’s nothing quite like a quiet British countryside drama. :)

  • Paula Shreckhise March 11, 2021 at 6:10 am

    I loved the books and the original series so much. I feared that this would not live up to them. Hubby and I are really enjoying this new rendition and are eagerly awaiting the next season. I also enjoy learning the behind the scenes stuff from Masterpiece website. Fascinating.

  • Kathy March 11, 2021 at 6:10 am

    I haven’t seen the show, however, I have read all of the books and enjoyed them. 🙂 Nice review!

    • Rissi JC March 15, 2021 at 10:39 pm

      Good to know re: the novels, Kathy! :) I haven’t read any of the books, but this show… it’s lovely. Hope you enjoy if you see it (and let me know if you do).

  • thestoryenthusiast March 11, 2021 at 9:19 am

    I’m halfway through this one and have found it to be everything you just described. It is just a delight and the characters grow on me with every episode. I’m going to watch the original when I finish with this remake.

    • Rissi JC March 15, 2021 at 10:40 pm

      I’m thinking about watching the original, too. Trouble is, with me, I tend to have more interest in the original if I watch it pre the re-make. For some reason I always like the re-make so it’s kind of like watching the old versions are a “let down.” The filming and production quality is always just that much improved. That said… I feel like I could still enjoy the original. Let me know what you think if you see it. :)

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