TV Review – ‘Another Farnon?’ (All Creatures Great and Small) (2020)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Well, after checking out the first episode in the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ series on Channel 5, it’s only fair that I check out the second episode, featuring the first appearances of Tristan Farnon, Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki-Woo. I was looking forward to seeing this episode indeed.

I know that the 2020 remake of ‘All Creatures’ can’t be as good as the original 1978-1990 series, but I’d like to think that this new version of the series is a unique take based on the original books by ‘James Herriot’. Whether the 2020 remake is closer to the source material, I’m not so sure about.

Anyway, what did I think of the second episode of 2020’s ‘All Creatures’? I enjoyed it. Although, there are mixed feelings I have about the characters, especially the relationship between James and Siegfried so far. It’s still early days at present. Maybe their relationship will improve as it progresses.

I’ll explain what I mean as we go. In the episode, Nicholas Ralph as James meets Callum Woodhouse as Tristan Farnon, Siegfried’s younger brother for the first time. Tristan says that he passed his exams. Samuel West as Siegfried is pleased to hear the news and he even rewards Tristan with a car.

But as the episode progresses, it turns out Tristan may not have passed his exams after all. James becomes more romantically interested in Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson, giving him a reason to stay in the Dales. James also attends to the dog Tricki-Woo, owned by Diana Rigg as Mrs. Pumphrey.

First off, Callum Woodhouse is good as Tristan Farnon. I wouldn’t say he’s good as Peter Davison, but he does provide an enjoyable portrayal of Tristan’s character. I think Callum’s version of Tristan is a little naughtier than Peter’s. He also doesn’t much work whenever James is conducting vet cases. 😀

The most enjoyable parts of this episode are Diana Rigg as Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki-Woo. Honestly, I loved it when Diana’s Mrs. Pumphrey as well as Tricki-Woo warmed to James. I loved it when she called James ‘Uncle Herriot’ and he responded to that calling Tricki-Woo ‘nephew’. It’s very sweet. 🙂

The relationship between James and Helen seems rather promising so far, especially when they interact and are rather sweet on each other. James wishes to see Helen again on a date, though that’s hampered by Matthew Lewis as Hugh Hulton’s attentions towards Helen at Mrs. Pumphrey’s party.

Interesting that! In the original series, the wealthy landowner who competed for Helen’s affection with James was Richard Edmundson. I wonder if the name Hugh Hulton is closer to the book. It’s also nice to see how Anna Madeley as Mrs. Hall interacted with Callum Woodhouse’s Tristan in the episode. 🙂

Going back to the issue I have with James and Siegfried’s relationship, I feel there’s not much interaction between them as partners. In the original series, the chemistry between Christopher Timothy and Robert Hardy is there as their characters shared cases with each other during episodes.

Here, the relationship between James and Siegfried is stricter, like Siegfried doesn’t trust James to do his job properly. That might be the inconsistency of Siegfried’s character coming into play here, but it does feel rather off. In many ways, Siegfried treats James in the same way as he treats Tristan.

Maybe this will change as the series progresses and maybe James and Siegfried will grow to like each other, but it does feel unsettling. I liked it when Robert Hardy’s Siegfried and Christopher Timothy’s James interacted with each other in the original series as they behaved like they were genuine friends.

Robert Hardy was also more cheerful and friendly compared to how Samuel West does it. 😐 There’s a situation in the episode where James attends to someone’s cow and he has to keep attending to it when there’s still something wrong with it. Siegfried is rather hard on James when he gets it wrong. 😦

Also, and I hate to say it, but there are times when James can be a little irresponsible for his actions. In the original series, Chris Timothy’s James tended to be more responsible and open about the mistakes he made. I don’t know if it’s inexperience, but James in this series can be reckless at times.

Incidentally, the second episode opens with a brand-new title sequence which wasn’t in the first episode. I like the title sequence and the theme music is decent enough, but it’s not a patch good as the original TV show’s title sequence and theme music. Maybe it’ll grow on me as I watch this series.

Also, do title sequences being introduced in the second episode of a brand new TV show seem to be the norm nowadays? It happened in ‘Doctor Who’ when Jodie Whittaker’s title sequence was first introduced in ‘The Ghost Monument’. I’m sensing a pattern here with new shows being introduced.

Overall, the second episode of 2020’s ‘All Creatures’ was good to watch. I’m getting used to the atmosphere and tone of the show so far and it’s still early days yet. But the performances of the cast are good and at least the stories themselves are keeping me interested in wanting to watch more. 🙂

I’ve got in mind to do a Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy story where Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor gets taken out for a bit to be replaced by Callum Woodhouse’s Fifth Doctor. ‘Mind Robber’ logic here? 😀

Stay tuned for my review on the third episode of the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ 2020 remake called ‘Andante’ for my blog next week.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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