Doctor Ruby Walker is fed up with the impersonal and challenging demands of working in a London city hospital. When her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her, Ruby decides she needs a drastic life change.
So, she picks up and moves to India to begin working in a public hospital for the poor. On top of the challenges of working in an under staffed and under funded hospital Ruby also must adjust to some difficult co-workers.
Through her experiences in treating patients and her interactions with her co-workers, Ruby learns to appreciate her new life and to see her career in a new way.
The Good Karma Hospital is marketed as a cross between Call the Midwives and The Exotic Marigold Hotel. And what an apt description this is.
Ruby Walker is my favorite type of heroine; genuine and flawed. She is not yet jaded by her work in medicine and is a compassionate doctor even if at first she resists her new assignment to the Good Karma Hospital.
I also love the supporting cast of characters including Ruby’s brusque, but caring mentor Dr. Lydia Fonseca. There is also the sweet and patient hospital administrator Dr. Nair, and the abrupt and combative Dr. Gabriel Varma. Each one of them has their own backstory and reasons for working at the Good Karma. These are slowly revealed in the premier season’s seven episodes.
For fans of American medical dramas, this series runs along a similar lines with a focus on a specific patient or case per each episode. There is one case in particular which runs the entire length of the season. Fans of Downton Abbey will be thrilled to see a familiar face as this special patient. One can almost believe that our beloved Mrs. Hughes could have retired and moved to India.
Although Ruby is still dealing with the emotional ramifications of her breakup in this first season, it appears as though the show is setting up Dr. Varma as a long term love interest for her. At this point it is more of a love/hate relationship which I admit that I enjoy. Plus, Gabriel Varma makes for some great eye candy.
Although The Good Karma Hospital is set in India, it is actually filmed in Sri Lanka. But I don’t think this detracts too much overall from the beautiful landscapes. I have no problem believing that the events of this show happen in India.
From the opening credits to the character wardrobes to the physical setting, this show is full of gorgeous color. Despite dealing with some serious medical cases, Good Karma keeps things from veering into maudlin territory. With the overall light tone of the show and its’ celebration of color this is a series that I easily fell in love with.
While The Good Karma Hospital is not groundbreaking television, it does manage to be enjoyable entertainment. The character arcs are entertaining and the cinematography is beautiful. If you are in the search for a cozy new show, I can highly recommend this one.
The Good Karma Hospital was produced for Britain’s iTV and is currently available for streaming on Acorn TV.