by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
There are many excellent programs to explore, now that time for viewing is extended, so expanding one’s palate in this area can be educational, too. I’ve discovered several entertaining Australian series that are available from the public library in boxed sets and on regular networks and streaming channels. We have just finished watching A Place to Call Home, a drama that takes place after WWII. It is the story of nurse, Sarah Adams that has returned to Australia to start a new life, after twenty years abroad. Having met a wealthy family on a cruise ship, as the ship’s medic, Sarah saves the family matriarch that became ill on the journey. Grateful for her invention, she is offered a job in a local hospital by the woman’s widowed son. Sarah accepts the position and life in New South Wales begins. The story line continues with love interests, family loss, class structure and changes that continue through the 1950’s. Each character is well played, riveting storylines and a deep look into what life was like during that time period. Side note to watching either Aussie or British films, a constant viewer will pick up some language differences that may be unfamiliar to American audiences. For instance, in the story, Sarah is referred to as Sister Sarah, a term the Brits also use for a nursing title. It is not a religious order, but just left over title that remained when decades earlier all nurses used to be nuns. The title may have been confusing for some viewers when there was a love interest in the series for “Sister” Sarah, so an explanation was due.
Lighter Series: On a lighter vein, for mystery series enthusiasts, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is about a beautiful, glamorous private detective named Phryne Fisher. Starring Essie Davis as the wealthy, flirtatious Miss Fisher, the series is based on novels by author Kerry Greenwood and lasted three seasons. Re-runs are now on several PBS channels. Taking place in Melbourne in the 1920’s, the series is fun, escapism and captivating due to the Ms. Davis and her work alongside the local police detective, actor, Nathan Page. Tinged with mystery, mayhem and humor, although carrying a pearl handled pistol, Miss Fisher remains a fashion icon throughout each episode, even while chasing villains.
Another of my particular favorites, with a female lead was Offspring, a comedy-drama. The story is about 30-something Nina Proudman, an obstetrician with a dysfunctional, but fun and entertaining, group of family and friends. A bit of reality, fantasy dream sequences, love interests, and tender moments into the life of this single doctor, looking for love, captures the essence of the storyline. A bit “quirky” reminding me of the Ally McBeal series that was on TV years ago, where the lead character “talks out loud in her head” and viewers know her feelings. Filmed in Melbourne it highlights modern life in both hospital and private sectors, with a host of unique and eccentric characters.
Macabre Entry: We’ve just started this series, recommended by a friend that finished watching it. At first the subject matter didn’t attract me, but I’d thought give it a try before judging. Glitch takes place in a fictional Australian town where seven people came back to life, rising from their graves. Each one passed at a different time, decades apart and one a hundred years earlier, so the connection, if any, is unclear. A local policeman discovers this phenomenon and becomes totally absorbed in it when he finds out his deceased wife that died two years earlier of an illness has come back to life, too. Is it science, supernatural causes or some other being that intervened? With the help of a female doctor who cares for the reincarnated persons, the policeman tries to figure out what caused the rebirth with these seven. Mystery abounds in this quite unusual series.