27 September 2011

James Nesbitt Is The Man To Watch

James Nesbitt is just plain gold. Put him in a show, and that show is instantly great.

A couple of years back I discovered his dramatic chops in Jekyll, the modern extension of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A six part BBC thing which brings the tale forward into the modern era, complete with some sci-fi style genetic mumbo jumbo thrown in to boot.
Nesbitt did a great job playing the titular characters, changing deftly between the everyday Doctor Tom Jackman and his maniacal counterpart Hyde.
Just check out that wicked grin!
Then a year back I watched the three part three part drama serial, again by the BBC, Occupation. Set during the beginning of the 2003 Iraq war, it deals with the lives of three soldiers during the wear, and then how they adapt to life afterwards. Again Nesbitt shines as he deals with his family obligations, amid his tours of Iraq, and the realisation that he has fallen in love with an Iraqi doctor.
If you haven't seen this show, it is well worth your time, and has one of the best, most emotional, and most devastating endings of any show i have seen. And i loved it!
And yes, that is Tommy from Snatch on the left.
So when I saw an add for another upcoming British drama with the Irish actor (ITV this time, not BBC), I was pretty excited. The show was Monroe.
Monroe deals with the neurosurgeon Gabriel Monroe, played by Nesbitt, his work life, and how he deals with the goings on in his family. Think of this as a British version of House, except with less focus on the solving of a medical mystery (these are generally straight forward procedures), and more focus on personal relationships. Now that I think about it, it isn't that much like House at all.... There are similarities; he has a sidekick a la Wilson, and a rocky relationship with a female doctor at work. There are the doting younger doctors, one of whom is a smarmy self assured jerk, and so forth. This might simply be a case of the way such professions work (with the old and wise mentoring the young and cocksure), but either way it works well and there is a dynamic in the show that allows more relationships, and an opportunity for students to explain things in simpler terms for us laypeople in the audience.
Plus he has an Irish accent, and that's just tops.
But one thing that Monroe has which House lacks is a heart. Monroe is the empathetic voice in the hospital, whereas his female counterpart, the heart surgeon Brennan, plays his cold and methodical foil.
The show switches nicely between his private and personal lives. However as is the case with most shows like this, there is still the amazing coincidence that each week a patient comes in with just the right problem to parallel something happening in his life. Dealing with a patients parents who have split up as he deals with his wife leaving him, and so forth.
Nevertheless, i highly recommend getting on to this show while the gettings good; go on to iView, and check it out for free(ish).

So that is my little rant on James Nesbitt. 

Oh, and while I am geeking out about Mr. Nesbitt, check out this production photo of him in his Hobbit gear as Bofur the dwarf. Awesome:

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