Yeah, that's Daniel Radcliffe and John Hamm. Known for other roles (Harry Potter and Don Draper, respectively), the two actors play the same character at different stages in A Young Doctor's Notebook. The show had a tiny budget, but the talent that went into its two seasons is phenomenal. Warning, it's not for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk.
It's so weird, but in the best way. The humor stems from awkwardness, misunderstanding, and morbidness. The script shifts from absurdly funny to painfully tragic with ease, and the chemistry between the performers is palpable. The story is based on the writing of Mikhail Bulgakov so it's no surprise that it's good, but a lively enthusiastic cast is really what brings it to life.
It features the funniest amputation you've ever seen. Granted, there's nothing especially funny about amputation. But the show makes the most absurd joke about the subject and pushes it as far as it can go. It's some of the most brilliant writing I've seen on television. It's definitely not what I was expecting- it's also about addiction and the Russian Revolution. But it's fresh and compelling and completely bizarre.
Speaking of addiction- is it common knowledge that Daniel Radcliffe struggled with alcoholism for much of his young life? Well either way, now you know. It makes the work he does here feel so much more poignant. The character he shares with Hamm struggles with the revulsion and shame that come with battling a serious addiction problem. Most comedies avoid heavy subjects like this, but A Young Doctor's Notebook embraces them.
Daniel Radcliffe is good at playing a jerk. Who would have guessed? In real life he does work for The Trevor Project and other philanthropic groups, so it's kind of impressive to see him playing a needy jerk. He's developed so much as an actor, it's great to see this kind of range from him. By contrast, John Hamm is at turns regretful, penitent, and jaded- very different from the character we're used to seeing him play.
I'm a little jealous that you still have the first time seeing this show ahead of you, but I'm really excited because I am desperate for someone to talk about it with.