I don't really watch soap operas, so I couldn't speak about the similarities. But there is definitely a different feel to the show in its new season, which I think is normal. With an older actor they've pushed the doctor in the direction of 'rude grandpa'. Which, personally, I'm okay with. We've already seen three variations on a young doctor (in the rebooted series) so it feels right to finally portray the doctor's age. It can seem a little disjointed by comparison, but from a character standpoint, he's still a madman with a box.