Every season, the Drama After Dark team gathers ‘round the (currently virtual) conference room table to watch the latest and greatest in British dramas. This month we’re covering MASTERPIECE’s remake of the classic series All Creatures Great and Small. Featuring eccentric characters, adorable animals, and the vast, rolling hills of Yorkshire, this series does not disappoint. I’m here, dear reader, to recap the magic as it happens.

Year: 1937. Location: the teeming docks of Glasgow. As we slowly move into this bustling press of industry, we see a young man running along the dusty docks with an Irish setter. Is he in danger? Late for an appointment? Pursued by bear? No: his wardrobe suggests that he might actually be out for a run, despite the activity not gaining popularity until the 1960s. Obviously, this man is ahead of his time.

Or from the future. (gasp)

A man with crazy white hair says "I always dreamed of seeing the future"

As our wee lad winds down his exercising, we discover that this is our hero: James Herriot, beloved by animals and mankind alike, if his return to his neighborhood is anything to go by. But despite his friendly banter with the mailman, it seems that all this man wants to do is rain on Sweet Baby James’ parade, delivering him a rejection letter from his latest job application. How rude!

As Sweet Baby James emerges from washing up to join his parents in the kitchen, he overhears their conversation aka Mom’s rant about how he’s never going to find a job. And like any mother worth her salt, his entrance doesn’t even cause her to break her tirade. In fact, the only thing that does cause her to belt up is when Papá Herriot discovers that a second letter addressed to SBJ has been slipped under the door. In true British drama fashion, this is it! James' summons to interview for a job as a veterinary assistant.

...Take that Bossy Mom.

After a quick fade to black, we’re dropping SBJ off at the train to Yorkshire. Despite our previous assumption that a job lead would get Bossy Mom off SBJ’s back, she’s back at the grindstone.

Bossy Mom: But the DOCKS SBJ, why not just work at the docks?! This stinky job probably won’t even PAY YOU.

This woman is so dedicated to recruiting SBJ for the docks that I think she must be making a commission on it. Thankfully, our boy SBJ has another voice in his ear — his Dad. And instead of kowtowing to Bossy Mom’s hard sell, he tells his son just what he needs to hear:

A puppy flies through the sky and words that say Follow Your Dreams

Bossy Mom finally stops Glengarry Glenross-ing, hands her son a pickle and cheese sandwich (drool) and sends him off to meet his destiny — over hill, over dale, by train, bus and foot through some of the most GOREGEOUS scenery this side of Poldark.

Despite SBJ politely reading his book and minding his own business, an old crank on the bus yells at him that he won’t learn anything about animals from books — he needs to get out in the field. (And while this is clearly a harbinger of SBJ’s adventure to come, it’s also a nice reminder that the public transportation experience hasn’t changed since 1937.)

When poor SBJ gets off the bus at his stop, it becomes SWIFTLY apparent that despite the natural beauty of the rolling fields around him (and aforementioned bus stop being located there) there is nothing around for miles. A man drives by in a cart, kindly providing directions for SBJ. But not a ride? Curious. Anyway, as this helpfully unhelpful man fades into the distance, SBJ sets out on foot — just as the skies open up and our boy gets dronched.

But, in true movie-magic style, the rain stops just in time for the road to crest over a hill and reveal what has to be literally the cutest village I have ever seen in my life. You want quaint? They got it in spades, AND a bookstore and pub to match. This place is twee as heck, and luckily, this is where SBJ’s interview is, so we’re probably going to be seeing a lot more of it.

Unluckily? He’s pretty goddamn late.

A man rocks back and forth, shaking his head

The veterinary practice is housed in a house that looks pretty darn fancy from the outside (columns!) and rather cozy and posh on the inside. He’s welcomed in by a Most Amazingly Adept Maid (MA’AM), Mrs. Hall. In true twee British drama style, her calm and ability bely a scattered, high-strung boss: Sigfried Farnon, a genuine Horrible Boss. Naturally, SBJ’s invitation for an interview didn’t come from Horrible Boss, but Mrs. Ma’am instead. After a brief scuffle, the vet agrees to take him out on a trial run in the countryside. SBJ’s first test? To correctly select an emasculator from the tool closet. After seeing that his mom isn’t there, he selects the wrong tool; strike one for Sweet Baby James.

After a break-neck tour of the house, including a kennel where SBJ is to feed the animals, the Horrible Boss sweeps SBJ into the junkiest car known to man, a hooptie complete with trick breaks and a broken passenger seat. The ride includes a brief tour of the area, a sheep traffic jam, and an argument about bovine gentrification, before the vet inquires after SBJ’s interest in animals. Yeah, what gives, anyway? Well, growing up, SBJ's school had a small farm out back, and he quickly found himself enamored with the animals.

Horrible Boss: Animals are easy; it’s the people that are tricky.

Actress Dorothy Malone stands in a bookstore. She looks at someone off camera and leans back, making an impressed face.

Finally arriving at their destination — a muddy, verdant farm — SBJ is in for a real hazing. The farmer makes fun of his suit, he wades through the ankle deep mud to help an ungrateful horse that kicks him over not once but twice, and the doctor deliberately tries to trip him up by offering the wrong tool. But despite being a precious infant just out of college, our Sweet Baby James keeps his wits about him, scrapes the mud off, and heals the horse's hoof.

But, naturally, Horrible Boss has to get the final word in, adding iodine and turpentine to the injured hoof to ‘disinfect’ it, creating a puff of purple smoke in the process. While we’re all very impressed with this magic, it’s somewhat less impressive when he lets SBJ in on the secret: it’s just a show to make the farmers feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

A man says "Okay, well, that's fraud and you're a criminal" while making hand gestures.

Horrible Boss has SBJ drive them back to town; and it's naught but a shrug and side eye when SBJ discovers the trick breaks have decided this is the perfect time to be, well, tricky. As they careen down an otherwise idyllic hillside, the doctor chides SBJ for his (seemingly rational) fears as he frantically stomps on the breaks. We soon see why: the breakneck pace down the hill was necessary to get them up and over the next rise.

Strike Two, SBJ. Not that we’re keeping count (but you'd better believe that Horrible Boss is).

Finally back at the veterinary practice, it’s off to the pub for a pint. But it seems that Horrible Boss can’t go anywhere without being accosted for animal assistance, and he’s soon dragged off to tend to a cow, while tossing back over his shoulder an interesting little tidbit:

Horrible Boss: Hey, bruh! If you're still having trouble with you're pigs, you can ask my shiny new assistant!

A man says "mission accomplished."

Hearing the news that Horrible Boss has a new assistant, the boys in the pub cluster around. This is clearly dangerous for SBJ: they quickly imply that he’s weak and citified. Eager to prove himself, SBJ accepts the special homebrew on tap that night.

Cut to: SBJ stumbling back to the practice drunk as a proverbial skunk, a surprise to literally no one, least of all Mrs Ma’am when she catches him tipsily feeding the cats in the kennel. As she’s not the misanthropic wretch Horrible Boss is, she takes SBJ in hand, ordering him to put the cats away and get himself to bed.

The next morning, it takes two loud thumps on his floor and the glorious scent of a full English Breakfast to roll a still fully dressed (and fully hungover) SBJ from his bed. Sweet Baby is a straight mess, but manages to choke down a healthy dose of alka seltzer and bangers (hold the mash) down before it’s back into the field with Horrible Boss.

They arrive at a positively charming manse — literally, everything in the Yorkshire Dales is like, England+, just gorgeous groves and rolling hills as far as the eye can see. And it's here that Sweet Baby James discovers another benie to his new job: farmers' daughters. Just as a huge, angry bull corners a terrified SBJ, a very fanciable woman turns the corner, just in time to watch SBJ scramble up the pen wall. Talk about a meet-cute.

Luckily for SBJ, our girl Helen-the-Hottie is more than just a pretty face and great fashion. She takes the bull to task for being rude to guests, securing him to a pen wall before Sweet Baby James even has the chance to say, “I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number — call me, maybe?!”

Our boy’s survival instincts are strong, though, and he manages to scale the pen wall, just in time for another VERY fanciable dame to round the corner. She barely bats an eye as she hands SBJ a chicken and begins taking the bull to task for being rude to their guests.

A man in a suit says "Because that is just what heroes do."

After SBJ breaks out of his swoon, he and Helen the Hottie round up Horrible Boss and proceed to the barn, where a young calf is laid up with a fracture. After some efforts on the Horrible Boss' part to trip him up, Sweet Baby James bandages the little guy up and they’re on their way.

On the way out, SBJ tries to shoot his shot with Helen the Hottie, but he’s such a hot mess that she doesn’t even let him finish, instead cutting his bumbling off to offer a word of advice.

Helen the Hottie: Look, you need to stand up to your Horrible Boss. He’s a big ol’ jerk, and you’re gonna need to put him in his place if he’s ever going respect you.

Aretha Franklin says "I don't think so!"

Returning to the practice, it’s an afternoon of house pet pick-ups and day surgeries. An easy chance for Sweet Baby James to shine, right?

An animated robot laughs, says no, and shoots lasers out of its eyes

It’s the work of LITERAL seconds before we see that SBJ’s drunken shenanigans the night before have led to a feline foul-up. Jasper the cat, a boarder, got swapped with [NAME], who was set to be, well… emasculated. Talk about medical malpractice!

SBJ manages to stop Horrible Boss right in time to save Jasper from the knife; but not before Jasper’s owner discovers the mix-up. Incensed, she reveals that the gossip mill churns fast in small town England.

Jasper's Owner: You've killed my cat! I should have known, everyone says you're a wretched drunk!
SBJ: Oh. Oh no.
Horrible Boss:

A woman says "three strikes you out, girlfriend"

As Sweet Baby James packs his bags, Mrs. Ma’am and the Horrible Boss argue over scrabble — and it quickly becomes clear that:

A) SBJ is the sixth assistant they’ve had.
B) Mrs. Ma’am is sick of this nonsense.
C) Mrs. Ma’am likes SBJ.
D) Horrible Boss has bought fully into the patriarchy and has severe commitment-phobia.

That night, once everyone has retired to their beds, a knock comes at the door — a farmer’s cow is struggling to give birth. With Horrible Boss still abed, SBJ begs Mrs. Ma’am to not wake him… and takes off to (hopefully) save the day and prove his worth once and for all.

On the farm, SBJ finds out that the calf’s head is stuck in its mothers pelvis, and I have a strange, bovine flashback to Call the Midwife. And just like the lovely ladies on that show, after some serious work, SBJ helps Mama Cow birth the most adorable tiny calf I’ve ever seen — though if I’m perfectly honest, I’m not sure it’s worth going shoulder deep in the gal’s cloaca? But I’m not a vet, so.

We’re all very happy — or except, of course, Horrible Boss, who managed to roll up just in time to see the calfling take his first shaky steps. But, having seen many a calf in his time, Horrible Boss only has one thing to say:

Shania Twain, with a red bob and red lipstick, and wearing a leopard print head wrap, looks back over her shoulder and says "that don't impress me much."

Well, if birthing a calf isn’t remarkable enough for Horrible Boss, what comes next is. After he begins berating Sweet Baby James, our boy decides he has had enough, and essentially tells Horrible Boss where he can put his scolding.

Needless to say (and thankfully, for our hero) Horrible Boss is delighted.

A sweaty man in a suit fans himself with paperwork.

Re-hired thusly, a delighted SBJ drives himself home from the farm. On the way home, he once again encounters the physics problem with a long hill and his beater’s trick breaks.

...but this time, he makes it.

You can watch All Creatures Great and Small on Passport today.