Throughout its first five years on the air, “Call the Midwife” has brought a tapestry of the times in Poplar. We’ve seen characters grow and change, new technologies aid the women of Nonnatus House, and also discoveries doom previous practices. Much of season 5 could be subtitled “Dr. Turner learns the error of his ways.”
The show has persevered for such a long time due to its steadfast storytelling and also its memorable characters, but we also have to wonder if there is a way that the show can do things even better. After all, even in spite of its strong numbers the show is not an international smash hit like some other British shows, and it also does not get a ton of buzz in the off-season. Is there a way to change that? Let’s dive in and figure out in the latest chapter of our March Makeovers series.
What’s wrong – Much of that really starts with what the show is doing from the vantage point of subtlety. There are some shows (think “How to Get Away with Murder”) that really get by based on the shock value; “Call the Midwife” avoids it as much as possible, and therefore rarely provides moments that are truly buzzworthy. While you could argue the death of Sister Evangelina was one of those, we’ve certainly seen ones that were far more dramatic over the course of the series’ run. It could’ve done even more to pack a punch if the producers had really wanted to.
Another issue here may just be not updating us too much on the characters who are gone. Yes, we know that Jessica Raine left the show and Miranda Hart is more or less gone, but can’t we at least hear something about what Jenny and Chummy are doing?
How to fix it – One of the biggest things that we would to improve the show at this point is to trim down some of the story-of-the-week plots, and give a couple more arcs that last the entire season. There are some such as what we saw this past season with Dr. Turner, but they would disappear for a few weeks during the season. We’d at least make a little more of an effort to be high-profile, and not be so afraid to venture beyond Poplar here and there. You can keep the heart of this series still intact five years in, while still working to expand more of the universe.
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