One of the most popular genres of unscripted TV is the veterinarian show, and on weekends, viewers have plenty of choices, with a new series and new episodes of two existing ones.
Masterpiece: All Creatures Great and Small (PBS, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET/PT -- check local listings for time and channel in your area)
Having started on Jan. 10 (If you missed the first episode, get caught up at PBS.org or on the PBS app), the seven-episode series is a new version of the classic novels by James Herriot (real name Alf Wright) about the adventures of a young veterinarian in northern England's Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s.
The series features drama, comedy, warmth and (chaste) romance. Having seen all episodes, I can stay that, other than increasing the roles of the women in the story, producer Colin Callender and writer Ben Vanstone have resisted the impulse to “modernize” the story and bring in values and ideas that would have been antithetical to the spirit of the original.
At a press event last year, Callender said:
Perhaps, most of all, I remember with great affection the day, as a family, when we would sit down and watch television together when we were growing up. My feeling was that audiences want that, and that’s clearly what’s happened during the lockdown.
So, I think the timing of this coming out is clearly apropos. I hope it finds a whole new generation of viewers who discover the books and the characters in the way that some who may have known the old series hold it in great esteem.
The Incredible Dr. Pol (Nat Geo Wild Saturdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT)
A new season launched on Jan. 2, featuring rural Michigan veterinarian Dr. Jan Pol, DVM, in his 50th year of veterinary practice (though not without controversy in the veterinary world). The current season features all-new cases, along with a look at how Dr. Pol and his colleague are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here's a clip:
Heartland Docs, DVM (Nat Geo Wild, season-two premiere, Saturday, Jan. 30, at 10 p.m. ET/PT)
Set in rural Hartington, Nebraska, the show focuses on married vets Dr. Erin and Ben Schroeder, who are committed to the longtime farming families producing food for the nation.
With the help of teenage sons Chase and Charlie, the Schroeders treat a wide variety of animals, including cows, pigs, llamas, deer and possums, no matter whether it's in summer heat or winter blizzards.
Here's a clip of them visiting with Rachael Ray:
Images: ''All Creatures': Courtesy of ©Playground Television UK Ltd & all3media international; 'Dr. Pol' and 'Heartland Docs, DVM,' National Geographic
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager at Family Theater Productions.