THE FLYING DOCTORS – Not to be confused with The Teleporting Accountants or The Swimming Chiropractors this was a terrific Australian television series about the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The show was based on the real-life Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, a brilliantly-conceived non-profit outfit that provided medical care – both emergency AND maintenance – for people who had no other access to doctors due to their locations in remote, lightly-populated portions of the Outback.
With its winning blend of doctors, nurses, life-or-death drama and beautiful Australian scenery this series should have been a NATURAL for crossover success here in the United States. Unfortunately that old t.v. executive excuse always applied to this and other Aussie programming: the belief that the accents would be too heavy for stateside audiences to make out the dialogue.
The fact that a serious effort was made to foist Australia’s Yahoo Serious on us but NOT a moving, funny and exciting item like The Flying Doctors really makes you wonder. Anyway, there’s a rotating cast of medical and flight personnel over the course of the series but the Majestic pub and the fictional town of Cooper’s Crossing are permanent fixtures on the show.
There are various romances and other assorted continuing stories in this series but for the most part the episodes are self-contained. Unlike the American series M*A*S*H the characters are not forced down our throats as “saints of the small screen” but merely as dedicated professionals and are therefore MUCH more likeable than Alan Alda and company. Andrew McFarlane, Robert Grubb and Lenore Smith are particularly outstanding.
The Flying Doctors began as a mini-series but the built-in appeal of the concept caught fire and the show ran for more than 220 episodes. Between DVD and bootleg opportunities on youtube the time has come for this incredible and exhilirating Australian product to take off with a whole new generation of fans.
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