After 24 years there is still a doctor in the family. But who is watching it?

It was 1998 when he made his debut on Rai A doctor in the family, fiction inspired by the Spanish series of the same name, which ran until 2016, quickly becoming one of the longest-running series on Italian television. Full of good feelings and situations that often resulted in the suspension of disbelief, A doctor in the family has now landed on Netflix. In the midst of the so-called “xenophilia” that pushes viewers to increasingly seek foreign titles, snubbing the Italian ones, the well-known streaming platform has chosen to offer its audience the first four seasons of the fiction, effectively playing on the effect nostalgia. Around the same time that the fourth season of Boriswhich parodies precisely that television universe of which A doctor in the family is perhaps one of the greatest exponents, the adventures of doctor Lele Martini and his family risk being anachronistic.

What is a family doctor talking about?

For the so-called generation of millennials – namely those who were teenagers in the early 2000s – A doctor in the family it was a sort of fixed appointment, a kind of rite of passage that everyone went through. On Sunday evening there were many young people who stopped in front of the television to follow the events of the Martini family, almost in a local response to American series such as Seventh heaven or Eight under one roof. The story of fiction kicks off when doctor Emanuele “Lele” Martini (Giulio Scarpati), recently widowed, decides to move with his family out of town, to Poggio Fiorito. Helped by his father Libero (Lino Banfi), Lele tries to reconcile the work as a doctor of the ASL and the growth of three children: Maria (Margot Sikabonyi), Ciccio (Michael Cadeddu) and Annuccia (Eleonora Cadeddu). As for the first seasons above all, Lele also takes care of his nephew Alberto (Manuele Labate), as he begins to feel something for his sister-in-law Alice (Claudia Pandolfi), daughter of the rich consuocera Enrica (Milena Vukotic). The au pair “girl” Cettina (Savino bezel). During the ten seasons that make up the whole series, many actors and comedians have alternated within the Martini house: from Enrico Brignano to Edoardo Leo, passing through Gabrielle Cirilli as far as Pietro Sermonti who, by a strange coincidence, will then play Stanis in Boris where, in the first seasons, he plays an actor “stuck” with a fiction set in a medical context.

Does it still make sense to see Rai fiction?

The first thing that catches the eye upon reviewing A doctor in the family twenty-four years after the first broadcast on Rai 1 is the fact that the fiction has not aged well. From the 4: 3 format – squarer than the 16: 9 format that audiences are used to by now – passing through the quality of the images to a certain type of acting a little over the top, A doctor in the family is a product that shows all its years. This means that the fiction appears decidedly anachronistic compared to the other products in the Netflix catalog. The spectators of the new generations, who are also the greatest users of the streaming platform, they will hardly be convinced to start and continue a series that appears out of time, especially if you take into account that the first season has more than fifty episodes. A truly disproportionate figure, considering that modern series rarely go beyond ten episodes. It also does not help the nature of the story, which often veers towards the soap opera, with exaggeratedly melodramatic tones, with which we try to tell the daily life of a family in which no one can really identify. Yet, precisely because of all these characteristics that show the signs of age, A doctor in the family it can work for another audience.

Certainly Netflix has not chosen to put such an outdated product in its schedule in the hope of calling upon it crowds of new subscribers, especially given the difficult waters in which the video on-demand giant is swimming. The hope, probably, is to play on the sense of nostalgia of the older spectators, of those who were thirteen or fourteen years old when grandfather Libero made its small screen debut. On the other hand, it is precisely that sense of nostalgia for a time that no longer exists that dictates the success of so many works. Series like Stranger Things or Dark they have also been successful thanks to the golden reconstruction of a decade that has become iconic. So focus on that melancholy by making a series like this available again agée is for Netflix a well thought out marketing strategy, which pushes viewers to review the fiction, driven by that sense of Belle époque which makes something magical and interesting that has been enjoyed in what, even today, are considered the best years of life.

From this point of view, then, review A doctor in the family it makes sense: those who loved him during their adolescence will have fun again hearing Grandpa Libero’s catchphrases or Cettina’s outbursts. Fortunately for others, the Netflix catalog is always full of titles to discover.

After 24 years there is still a doctor in the family. But who is watching it?