Call The Midwife: The Greatest Show No One Will Watch With Me

midwife-2Photo: Courtesy of Neal Street Productions.
I'm not much of a party girl. I wish I was the type who liked to dance until 3 a.m. and then smush my way through a crowd to scream for another gin & tonic to the bartender. Call me crazy, but I think gin & tonics taste just as good in my apartment. Moreover, I like my friends, and it's nice to be able to talk to them instead of shout inaudibly into their faces.
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Full disclosure: I like my TV, too. Though it's not directly connected to any kind of television service, I get by just fine on Netflix, Hulu, and the myriad other streaming services rapidly taking over the home entertainment industry. Some shows are just better when binge-watched. Furthermore, the phenomenon of these streaming services has enabled audiences to discover a whole new world of quality television. Whether it's the latest BBC comedy, a PBS miniseries from the '70s, or just that cultish show prematurely scrubbed from a network — we're hooked on the stream. So, we're unrolling Staying In(stant), a new feature highlighting the best of streaming content. Each week, we bring you a show we're obsessed with and think you should be, too.
My pick? Call The Midwife — the most badass show about nuns and babies you'll ever see.
Where To Watch: Netflix, PBS.com
How I Got Hooked:
Having heard rumors that this was "the new Downton," I was highly skeptical. Then, while visiting my dad (who has a penchant for PBS, as most dads do), I caught the tail end of one episode and never looked back.
Best Episode:
While Call The Midwife has a great handle on humor, its fearlessness in going dark is the real standout quality. I was stunned by the Season Two premiere. It was so gutsy and gritty, and really exposed the dark corners of human nature. (No TV moment has stayed with me so intensely since that time Mulder and Scully almost kissed.)
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Why You'll Love It:
The premise is deceptively simple, so every twist and turn becomes riveting. You expect a BBC drama about 1950s midwives living in a convent to be sort of...the worst. It's a hard sell if you're just going on the summary alone: "They go to peoples houses and deliver babies, and then they come home and hang out with the nuns. It's AMAZING!" At this point, my friends give me that look like they're trying to remember why they like me. The thing is, there's a lot of drama in midwifery, and in the post-war, poverty-stricken east end of London — the drama is multiplied.
Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, this series takes you to the most intimate parts of life, death, and social strife in a rough, unsettled city. In this era, a midwife was far more involved in her patient's day-to-day life and family. Woven throughout the season's arc are deeply personal stories and some scary subjects: incest, abuse, forced prostitution, endemic racism, and the darkest days of the abortion issue, in a pre-birth-control society.
Yet, Call The Midwife is by no means a downer. The cast is supported by fantastic comedic performers, like Judy Parfitt and Miranda Hart. There's also an intense, aching love story that builds over the course of two seasons — and no, I will not spoil it for you. To say this show is engaging is an understatement. I have a Google Alert set up so I'll know the very second the next season will begin. Until then, I'll be re-watching online, in my PJs, gin & tonic in-hand. The haters can stay at the bar.
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