Shows

I Unexpectedly Enjoyed Call the Midwife Season 1

Show Review:

Call the Midwife Season 1

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Superb acting
  • Charming characters
  • Deals with serious topics well
  • Manages to be original in each episode in spite of similar material involving pregnancy and childbirth
  • Good balance of humor and sad aspects
  • The music really added to the atmosphere of the piece

Cons

  • No specific cons. Despite being not my usual style, I really enjoyed it.

Observations

  • Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth–some say it doesn’t do the books justice

Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead!

Review

The concept of this show is a bunch of midwives and Anglican nuns working together in a convent called Nonnatus House and continually caring for the community. They care for its women, its men, its children. They do a heck of a lot more than just deliver babies, even if that is the bulk of what they do.

I must have been mad. I could have been an air hostess. I could have been a model. I could have moved to Paris, or been a concert pianist. I could have seen the world, been brave, followed my heart. But I didn’t. I sidestepped love and set off for the East End of London, because I thought it would’ve been easier. Madness was the only explanation.

Jenny Lee

Our introduction to the main character Jenny offers windows into some facets of her personality, while obscuring others. She is a person who is running away from the past while facing the present. She thinks she’s taking the easy road in life, but her experiences in East End prove otherwise. She is kind, competent, and does what she thinks is right even when she has to tell her heart no. Overall, she makes a compelling protagonist.

The assortment of side characters truly add to the drama and humor of the piece. A favorite of mine is Fred the handyman. His get-rich-quick schemes and antics are hilarious. He buys a pig so he can start selling bacon, but gets really attached to it and then finds out it’s pregnant. A bunch of overqualified midwives help it deliver its piglets. Trixie and Chummy, two of the midwives, are their own brand of fun and drama.

The best thing about this series is the way it deals with serious topics–with sympathy and without engaging in much didacticism. It handles prostitution, teen pregnancy, stillbirths, affairs, abuse, kidnapping, incest, workhouses, and cancer, among other topics. The midwives are compassionate, even if they do not always understand where their patients and fellow East Enders are coming from. Because this season does not shy away from serious topics, it doesn’t get old.

I think it handles the topic of workhouses and how they could be so traumatizing to people very well. There are people in this show who left the workhouse yet never really escaped its influence. It’s sad, but seems very realistic.

Finally, I found the music to be atmospheric and great at setting the mood. I embedded from examples from Spotify below:

There is a lot more music from the series; I just picked a few out for you to sample.

I would recommend this season of Call the Midwife to anyone who likes period pieces. However, I believe it would also be great for anyone looking for a change of pace, something a little different to add to their watchlist.

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