Now we’re reached the big-money phase of the streaming era.
Disney dollars are involved; so are Apple bucks. Both invade the Netflix empire.
But while they collide, let’s remember the smaller guys. In a moment, I’ll focus on the amiable Acorn.
First, the big picture: On Tuesday (Nov. 12), Disney+ debuts, stuffed with new shows and a mega-library of Marvel/Pixar/Disney hits. Twelve days earlier, Apple TV+ arrived, with no library, but some instant starpower; its “The Morning Show” has Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
And some of the other streamers are fighting back:
On Sunday (Nov. 17), Netflix has its crown jewel – the third season of “The Crown.” The first two seasons won eight Emmys and were nominated for 18 more (including, both years, best drama series).
On Friday (Nov. 15), Amazon Prime has the final season of “The Man in the High Castle” and Hulu debuts “Dollface,” a fresh and witty look at a young woman reluctantly rediscovering friendship.
But before that, it’s Acorn’s week. On Monday (Nov. 11), the streamer added the third season of “Good Karma Hospital”; on Thursday (Nov. 14), it wraps the ninth season of its best show, “Doc Martin.”
Both focus on doctors … Both are generally low-key and pleasant, occasionally jolting us … And both have the same set-up: City people move to smaller places, where we’re charmed by the local quirks.
Sometimes,it seems like all the Acorn shows use that: It’s also the set-up for “800 Words” … and “Pitching In” … and “The Heart Guy” – which, like “Good Karma” and “Doc Martin,” is about a doctor. Maybe everyone in TV grew up on “Northern Exposure.”
But “Doc Martin” does it best. It plunks a grumpy, glowering doctor (Martin Clunes) into a seaside village, filled with sunny souls. Since the show started, he’s added a wife (Caroline Catz, shown here with Clunes), a son, a dog and grateful patients; his disposition hasn’t improved a bit.
And now he has something worth worrying about. His medical license may be revoked; he must assist in a surgery, complicated by his phobia for blood.
Other stories Thursday involve a missing finger (you’d have to be there), a maybe-wedding and his wife’s efforts at another pregnancy. Not all of these work out the way we’d expect; we’ll learn more when – or if – there’s a 10th season.