Reviewing Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook TV Mini-Series | Fanboys Anonymous

Reviewing Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook TV Mini-Series

Posted by SirenaFeniks Thursday, January 16, 2014
Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way from little Harry Potter. Now we see him play a young doctor alongside Jon Hamm (from Mad Men) in Season 1 of the dark Russian comedy, A Young Doctor's Notebook, originally written by Mikhail Bulgakov. Based on Wikipedia, this television series was to be broadcasted by Sky Arts December 6–27, 2012, but the company Ovation began airing it on October 2, 2013. Its second season began on November 21, 2013.

Jon Hamm & Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook screen shots
Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe standing side-by-side as the older doctor and the younger doctor. 
Opposite Hamm, Radcliffe plays a newly graduated doctor who is trying to make it in a deserted village in ice cold Russia. Even though the village is small, the problems are big! Hamm plays the older version of the doctor.

In the first episode, the show begins with Hamm, the older doctor, sitting in his office in Moscow in 1934 while soldiers go through his things. From this, Fanboys and Fangirls, we can assume that the doctor is being searched for some reason, obviously not a good one! In this scene, the older doctor finds the notebook he kept as a young doctor, and he begins telling us his story:

A Young Doctor's Notebook Jon Hamm photos
Jon Hamm a.k.a. Don Draper
"They say happiness is like good health, you don't notice it until its's gone. Me, I was happy in 1917. I've not long graduated from the Imperial Moscow University of Medicine and Dentistry until I was sent to the old village of Murjevo to run a hospital. It was a long and arduous journey."

Then we meet the younger doctor played by Radcliffe. First, we see him in a horse-buggy being taken to the hospital where he will station. It is freezing and snowy, yet he still tries to smoke a cigarette. We will later see throughout the show that this is his addiction, among other things.

When the younger doctor arrives at the hospital, the staff do not believe that the flimpsy, small, young man is actually the doctor and are shocked. Of course, at this scene you can't help but think of Radcliffe as little Harry Potter and remember how no one ever took him seriously as well. Then, again we see Hamm showing up in the scenes—only visible to Radcliffe—as a guardian of the younger doctor, who is actually himself in the past. Putting Hamm and Radcliffe together and making us think they are the same person is quite a longshot.

A Young Doctor's Notebook cast photos
Daniel Radcliffe--the grown-up Harry Potter
The younger doctor settles in by episode 2, and we see a shift in the character. In my opinion, Radcliffe makes this shift very subtly and professionally. Although there are some bloody scenes that might make your insides squirm, it seems that Radcliffe grows as an actor as his character develops as a doctor.

In episode 3 we see that the older doctor has a morphine addiction. Throughout this episode Radcliffe plays a depressed, more bitter and less motivated younger doctor. Unlike in Harry Potter, Radcliffe plays more of a pessimistic character in this show. We slowly see how the younger doctor gets sick and decides to use morphine one day.

In the last episode of season 1, episode 4, we see the older doctor getting caught by soldiers as he shoots up morphine. Other than that, the scene goes back to the younger doctor, and we see him doing more and more complex operations such as delivering babies and treating syphilis patients.

Season 2 consists of four episodes that are not quite as intriguing or entertaining as those of the first season. If you're in for some more gruesome scenes that are bloody and dark, then you're set for a treat. Generally speaking, however, there isn't that much to look forward to. The younger doctor becomes more of a morphine fiend while the older doctor tries to save himself from his addiction.

According to IMDB, the show was given an 8.0 out of 10. The episodes from season 1 and season 2 of A Young Doctor's Notebook shows us, Fanboys and Fangirls, how the kid playing Harry Potter has grown into a more revered and mature actor. Playing a part such as this does show that he has matured. Yet I still can't get the image of Harry Potter out of my mind for some reason.

The New York Times says that this television show is considered to be one of those based on serious literature. Alongside HBO's Parade's End and other shows like Game of Thrones, this show stands out on American television simply for being a serious adaptation of serious literature. Also, the show is based on the autobiographical stories of the Russian writer Bulgakov. I suppose that would make it seem a little bit more realistic. Otherwise I found the material to be too sarcastic and surreal, especially during the scenes where the doctor does operations. As the audience we do not really receive a grasp of how the doctor feels or what he thinks. The show may have tried to do so by showing the doctor at different stages of his life, but using two very different people to play those parts just does not help make the point.

In the second season, Radcliffe's acting does not change so much because the character does not progress. Overall, as stated by the Telegraph:

A Young Doctor's Notebook surgery scene images
A gruesome scene from the second season with the younger doctor operating. 
"A Young Doctor’s Notebook was a pacy, ribald and often queasy romp, as Radcliffe grappled with gruesome operations, including a particularly blood-soaked amputation, while descending into addiction to the painkiller morphine. Hamm, meanwhile, was shown either in slapstick tussles with his younger self, or in the future, as a hopeless drug addict who bleakly confronts the horror of those youthful choices as he faces arrest."

In my opinion, the only interesting part of this show is the cast. Where else could we have seen Harry Potter and Don Draper come together? Don't you all agree, Fanboys and Fangirls? Watch the show and tell us what you think below and on our Facebook page!

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