Web Video / Frankenstein M.D.

"The point is, everything is impossible until someone figures out a way to do it. ...And when I say someone, I mean me."
—-Victoria Frankenstein, summing up her whole character.

The fourth series from Pemberley Digital after The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome To Sanditon, and Emma Approved, this time they've branched out from Jane Austen to give a modern day Setting Update to Mary Shelley's iconic science fiction novel Frankenstein. This is a co-production with PBS Digital Studios which also airs the show on their YouTube Channel. It's also seen on the over-the-air channel TBD.

Victoria Frankenstein, despite the title, is still working toward her degree, and in the meantime she starts an educational vlog series on medical science. Using her friends as (not always willing) test partners, she's going to take her audience through a journey on her groundbreaking research into how lives are saved, which might just extend to creating life itself. That is, if she can avoid the university board that's trying to get her expelled for ethical violations.

The first episode premiered on August 19th, 2014, and the season finale aired on appropriately enough on Halloween, 2014. The series can be found here.

Frankenstein MD provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The series hits all the beats of the original story, but takes cues from movie versions, too, and changes certain plot points entirely. It's a fairly good adaptation of the story, but it's definitely its own animal.
  • Ascended Extra: Robert Walton goes from a simple framing device to Victoria's friend and camera man...and, eventually, the monster itself.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Victoria and Iggy bicker constantly but they also have a great deal of affection and respect for one another.
    • It's also made clear multiple times that despite her gruff demeanor she does care deeply for her friends, making her determination to bring Robert back to life very true to her character.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three childhood friends of Rory (blonde), Eli (brunette), and Victoria (redhead).
  • Break the Haughty: Victoria. At the beginning she is proud and lacks emapthy. By the end, she's humbled, realizing the gravity of what she's done, and resigns from medicine, leaving her videos up as a cautionary tale so no one else repeats her mistakes.
  • Camera Abuse: The Creature takes out the camera at the end of his first episode.
  • Catch-Phrase: Episode 5 has Iggy trying to make his "so cash!" before finally admitting it sounds stupid.
  • Celebrity Paradox: At the end of episode 1, Iggy mockingly gives a stereotypical raspy "Yes, master." One wonders what exactly he's referencing in a world where the Frankenstein novel, and subsequently its adaptations that gave us the "Igor" stock character, don't exist.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The show is usually played for Black Comedy until cameraman Robert Walton dies offscreen, from a mountain climbing accident in Alaska..
  • Childhood Friends: Victoria and Eli.
  • Composite Character: The monster has characteristics from the novel and the Universal films. Robert's not exactly evil, it's just the brain damage he suffered from his accident causes him to have extreme aggression and lack of impulse control. And he walks and talks in the same way like Boris Karloff did. He does however pine for another like him, and acceptance from Victoria as his friend, which comes from the novel.
    • Also, in this series, the monster's identity is none other than her cameraman, Robert Walton. In the book, Robert is Victor's chronicler, but obviously not also the monster; the two in fact come face to face at the end, after Victor's death.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Victoria should've considered how much brain damage Robert had before bringing him back to life.
  • Downer Ending: Yes, Pemberly Digital had the guts to follow the book's conclusion. In the season one finale, Robert kills Eli in a jealous rage after Victoria refused to make him a friend, making them both alone.
  • Edutainment Show: With PBS Digital Studios as a coproducer on this series, the science is mostly well-founded and well-researched. (Besides the fact that a dead person is fully revived, although it's certainly more plausible now than in the 1800s, when the original novel came out.)
  • Embarrassing First Name: As revealed by the man himself, "Iggy" is short for Ludwig, a name he isn't very fond of.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Iggy accidentally stopping his own heart thanks to Victoria's unsafe experiment design, causing her to remark in an annoyed tone, "And now you're dead," is a good moment for establishing both their characters.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Dr. Waldman is somewhat dismissive of Victoria's experiments because he believes they are showy and won't produce any results.
  • Freudian Excuse: Victoria's mother wanted to be a research doctor but was told that women had no place in research and should start a family. The doctor who told her that, Dr. Krempe is now teaching Victoria as well. It's implied her unorthodox research is an attempt to show Krempe how wrong he is. Then in episode 9, we learn her mom is dead, explaining her obsession with preventing death.
  • Foreshadowing: Victoria's attempts to save her lab rat is an eerie foretelling of her plans for Robert Walton after he dies in mountain climbing accident in Alaska. Also counts for the brief moment where Iggy stops his own heart and is clinically dead for a time in the pilot episode.
  • Freak Out!: Victoria has one when it looks like she's going to fail at bringing Robert back. She starts screaming and pounding on his chest.
  • Gender Flip: Victor Frankenstein becomes Victoria, with love interest Elizabeth becoming Eli and good friend Henry becoming Rory.
  • The Ghost: Robert Walton, who as Victoria's camera operator remains unseen the entire first third of the series. The trope becomes semi-literal after Robert dies in a mountaineering accident before Victoria revives him.
  • The Igor: Iggy, as Victoria's assistant. He even says "yes, master" sarcastically at one point to express his annoyance at her ordering him around.
  • Insistent Terminology: Victoria huffily keeps reminding people that despite it being Robert's body, the creature is not Robert. However, this doesn't stop her herself from calling him Robert when he comes to life.
  • Insufferable Genius: Victoria's very confident in her own intelligence, often to the point of being cocky or condescending to others. The events of the series knock her down several pegs.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The school board's issues with Victoria are heavily implied to have a large degree of sexism involved so we can sympathize with her over them, but it's hard not to share their worries about the ethics of her experiments.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Victoria, when Robert dies. She does not take his death well at all, and begins thinking of crazy ideas of how he could've been saved that include cyrogenics, skin graft, intense surgery and replacement bones. She actually wants to use his body to experiment on, something Waldman firmly rejects. Surprisingly, both Iggy and Waldman succumb to this trope they relish the thought of studying the recently revived Robert, while Victoria wants him dead.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Worn by the cast, as they're students in a medical school and the show is about medical science.
  • Lack of Empathy: Victoria has a pretty cavalier treatment of her friends when using them in her experiments.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Apparently Dr. Waldman doesn't watch the show, which records all the illegal and ethically questionable activity that Victoria and the gang do, including the stuff that Dr. Waldman specifically tells them to make no record of, and the stuff he's in.
  • Left Hanging: The first season ends with Robert killing Eli, and leaving Victoria sobbing over his body, leaving fans burning what's gonna happen next.
  • Mad Scientist: Victoria Frankenstein, who believes she can solve a medical mystery (preventing rejection of synthetic organs, in this case) that more experienced scientists believe may be impossible, and who frequently performs quite dangerous experiments on her friends, often without them understanding the risks until the experiment is underway.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Averted, the experiment put Iggy into ventricular fibrillation (although the EKG played the classic flatline noise), which you can shock.
  • Minimalist Cast: A grand total of six characters show up on screen, out of whom only Victoria and Iggy can really be considered regulars (justified with Victoria, since it's her show after all).
  • Mood Whiplash: The Pemberley crew gives their usual light tone to source material which is decidedly darker than what they've worked with before. The result is jarring at times. Case in point; at one stage, thanks to an experiment with blood pressure and ice water, Iggy gets frostbite in his foot. The next episode reveals he's lost one of his toes.
    • The season 1 finale, so much. Victoria chooses to resign from medicine, destroy her findings, and warn the world not to try to repeat her experiments. Then she and Eli confess their love and decide to run away to Costa Rica together. Then Robert comes back... The final shot of the season is Victoria sobbing over Eli's dead body, and Robert affirming that now he and Victoria are simply alone together.
  • Mythology Gag: Victoria pointedly states that her creation will not be named Frankenstein, per the most famous misconception in literary history. In the same episode she briefly considers digging up corpses before the experiment turns out to have worked.
    • Dr. Waldman has a mysterious assistant named Fritz, which was actually the name of the assistant in the 1931 film ("Igor" comes from Bela Lugosi's character in the sequel Son of Frankenstein, and was transplanted to the assistant character by Young Frankenstein).
    • Victoria at one point complains about Iggy misspelling her name as "Fronkensteen".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Robert comes back to the lab after escaping and Iggy and Waldman give him the necessary blood transfusions to keep him alive, thus are indirectly responsible for his Reign of Terror as he makes his way to Geneva.
  • Never My Fault: Averted, Victoria is quick to assert that any deaths caused by Robert are her own fault.
  • Non-Indicative Title: Lampshaded. Victoria is not yet an MD, with the show's title simply demonstrating how confident she is that she'll get it. She does. And then she gives up medicine.
  • Playing with Syringes: Victoria is worryingly blithe about the safety of her test subjects, even as she constantly insists everything is perfectly safe.
  • Pet the Dog: Dr. Waldman stops the Board from expelling Victoria, but warns her he probably can't help her again.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Invoked by Victoria in the episode "Birth", when her attempt to resurrect Robert appears to fail at first:
    Iggy: We got really close. Closer than anyone's ever been!
    Victoria: History doesn't remember people who came close. Failure's failure.
  • Setting Update: Napoleonic Era Germany and Switzerland becomes 21st century America. Now Frankenstein hails from Geneva, Calif.
  • Something Completely Different: After three series adapted from the works of Jane Austen, this is instead adapted from Mary Shelley. Also applies to PBS Digital Studios as this is their first scripted program though it includes educational elements.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Dr. Krempe told Victoria's mom that women had no place in research medicine and that she should start a family. He's still teaching and on the University Board much to Victoria's chagrin, who calls him an "old fossil".
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: That is one darn prescient record in the final episode.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: When they were kids, Victoria tried to amputate Eli's finger off to prevent gangrene.
  • Vlog Series: Victoria records all her findings and experiments including the ethically ambiguous ones that involve bringing Robert back from the dead.
  • Weirdness Censor: It's surprising how easily Eli accepts that Victoria revived Robert's corpse.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: It's implied Victoria was a much more caring person before she went to med school.
  • Wham Line: "Make friend.....for Robert." And, of course, "It's alive!"