The Doctor Blake Mysteries (2013-17): The Good & The Ugly

This was written for Movie Rob’s November 2022 Genre Grandeur of Doctors!

I think I would be able to say that as an American, I’ve seen more Australian TV than the average citizen. Starting from the time H2O Just Add Water came to America in 2008, I kind of started down a rabbit hole of finding these really fun Aussie TV shows. I saw Dance Academy (which I wrote about), Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, A Place to Call Home (I also wrote about it) Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries. Then there is another Aussie show called Doctor Blake Mysteries, which aired from 2013-2017. I started watching in 2015, catching up with the first two seasons and then watching 3 on-wards as it was airing. I credit my good friend Marie who sent me links on YouTube so I watched before America got them.

Now, I admit, because I had this huge void left after watching Miss Fisher, I then got hooked on two shows: Dr. Blake and also the Canadian TV show Murdoch Mysteries (which in my personal opinion has gone on for far too long, and should have ended on a high note, rather than dragging it out for, as it currently stands, 16 years in counting).

Ever since Dr. Blake ended on an extremely sour and somewhat premature note, I’m not sure I can exactly say I love the show as much, (although the show is good), Craig McLachlan’s (the title character!) accusations are pretty serious. He somewhat ruins the show for me. Personally, I always want to find out as many details of situations before deciding for myself if I stop watching shows/ movies with certain people, but there are some pretty explicit pictures on the internet that back up the claims that were made. With all of that being said I will say this show introduced me to the fabulous Joel Tobeck (Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson) and Nadine Garner (Jean Beazley, Blake’s housekeeper/ receptionist).

Dr. Blake is a show that relies heavily on a backstory, which is as follows: Dr. Lucien Blake left his native Ballarat as a young man to study medicine in Scotland. When World War II broke out he served in the British Army medical core, and after being posted to the Pacific theater, met and fell in love with a Chinese woman. They eventually married and had a daughter, but when Singapore fell, he lost all contact of them. Blake himself was then a POW in Thailand, and after 33 years abroad, in 1958 decides to return home to Australia to take over his father’s medical practice.

Season 1 deals with Blake coming home and re-adjusting to Australia, all while clashing with Lawson on different approaches to solving murder. Blake and Lawson work together very frequently, as Blake also takes on the role of police surgeon. Police constable Danny Parks (Rick Donald), who is Jean’s nephew) works closer with Blake than he does with his own boss on the cases, and rounding out the cast is Dr. Blake’s lodger Mattie (Cate Wolfe), who is a nurse and taking classes to further her medical education. Overall, its a solid season and it naturally leaves the door open for season 2. What no one on production expected was the revolving door cast that would effect the rest of the show.

Season 2, Danny is posted to Melbourne, and Charlie Davis (Charles Cousins) steps in as the constable (for the rest of the show), and towards the end of the season, Lawson must face up to his superiors and leaves his position in Ballarat. Season 3 sees a new police superintendent William Munro (Craig Hall- love him as an actor!) who has it out for Dr Blake. Season 4 is probably the weakest season of the show as Mattie departs for a new position abroad in London and yet another superintendent comes in Frank Carlyle (Rodger Corser), whom of which Blake gets along with. Lawson makes occasional appearances in seasons 3 and 4, but for the main part is not in the show, as Joel Tobeck took on other projects, but within the show, in season 4, his niece Rose (Anna McGahan) comes in as a new journalist in town.

All throughout the show, one of the driving elements of the narrative is the romantic relationship (or lack of romantic relationship?) between Blake and Jean. Craig and Nadine have amazing chemistry as they met when they were 15 and 20 when doing Aussie soap operas. The fact they know each other as actors and friends really translates through and you believe in their chemistry and budding romance throughout the show. (Note: some may not see it this way anymore after knowing of McLachlan’s accusations)

The terrible element of the show that is now apparent throughout, is the undertones of the accusations of Craig McLachlan. He was accused of some pretty nasty and inappropriate acts while on Dr. Blake and a 2014 Aussie production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and due to some pictures of some past productions that surfaced on line, its easy to believe they all are true. McLachlan left a 2018 production of Rocky Horror, and really hasn’t worked since as Dr. Blake was cancelled and the short lived one off spin off that centered around Jean carried on without him. For me, its a creepy when his character is consoling various young women, when you know that behind the scenes different events played out.

The REAL star of the show for me: Joel Tobeck, as Matthew Lawson

Overall, If you’re willing to look past Craig McLachlan’s accusations and personal debacles, Doctor Blake Mysteries is a show that has great acting, interesting plot lines, and a great cast of supporting characters, all set against the late 1950s. But, if you cannot get past Craig McLachlan- then the show is certainly something you shouldn’t watch. I watched it through once completely through before the accusations, but now have struggled a bit to re-watch the show, often fast forwarding the Dr.’s solo scenes. To each their own.

Dance Academy (2010-2013)

This post is written for Taking Up Room’s 2022 Fake Teenager Festivus Blogathon. Be sure to check it out here!

If you were (or knew) a tween girl in the mid 2000s, like me, then you probably are aware of my favorite Australian kid’s show called H2O: Just Add Water. However, if you kept digging around for more Aussie TV shows, then naturally you would stumble upon a show called Dance Academy, which ran from 2010-2013, and even turned into a movie in 2017. The two TV shows are somewhat related, as Samantha Strauss was a writer on a few episodes of season 1 of H2O, and then she created Dance Academy. H2O star Cariba Heine had a recurring role on DA season 1 and 3 as Isabel, and her H2O on screen boyfriend Burgess Abernethy appeared in season 1 of DA.

Dance Academy follows the life of 15-year-old Tara Webster, a naive country girl, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime when she is accepted to the prestigious (fictional)  National Academy of Dance in Sydney. Entering what Tara refers to be the, “minefield“, once she’s arrived, Tara and her new friends navigate rigorous dance training on top of your typical teenage problems (crushes, friendships, academics, family dynamics, peer pressure, self pressure, body image, mental and physical health, sexuality, etc). For me personally, this was a teen show that came out when I was a teen (I was 14, just the right age to watch it).

Upon arriving at Dance Academy, it isn’t long until Tara (and the viewers) meet the classmates: Christian Reed: a street boy who has a troubled past, but a heart of gold. Tara and Christian meet in the boy’s changing rooms (anyone who’s seen the show’s first episode knows this iconic moment). Kat  Karamakov: a free spirited ballet girl who hates being a ballet girl, but is naturally talented as her Mum is a professional ballerina. Abigail Armstrong: The not so typical mean girl. Abigail sacrifices a great deal in order to be a strong dancer. She’s not a natural dancer (in her own view she doesn’t have the body), but makes up for it with her determination and love for dance. She and Kat knew each other since they were little. Sammy Lieberman: the guy everyone wants to be friends with, and at the start, the weakest dancer on a technical level. He, Kat, and Tara all become close within their first weeks at the academy. Sammy also struggles with the fact his Dad does not support his dancing dreams, wants him to follow in the family footsteps and become a doctor. Lastly, there is Ethan Karamakov- Kat’s older half brother who is a senior at the academy with ambitions on becoming a choreographer like his Father. Ethan is a bit cocky, but looks out for his little sister. Tara develops an instant crush on him, which causes friction between her and her new best friend, Kat. Finally, there is the dancing teacher Miss Raine (Tara Maurice). Miss Raine is extremely tough, but underneath very caring for her students. All she wants for any of them is to succeed, but she’s not afraid to straight out embarrass them if they step out of line.

What makes this show work, is a combo of great elements: you have the cast, who genuinely care for each other, the dancing routines, the gorgeous on location scenery (filmed in Sydney), and most of all, flawed characters who are written like teens, and not like 20 year olds. The characters all make wrong decisions, they embarrass themselves, they don’t have extravagant clothing (compared to US teen tv shows) and there is a restriction on what they can do and where they can go because they are, well, teens! Star Xenia Goodwin (Tara) was actually 15 playing 15, but her co-stars were not. All of the following were also playing 15 year olds: Alicia Banit (Kat) was 19, Jordan Rodrigues (Christian): 17, Tom Green (Sammy) 18, Dena Kaplan (Abigail) 20. Tim Pocock (Ethan) was 25 playing 18.

My favorite episode of season 1 (my favorite season) is probably episode 11: One Perfect Day, because for the first time Tara gains confidence in her dancing and even has a mini romantic moment with her first ever crush, Ethan. Its sweet and embarrassing at the same time. Plus it has this insanely amazing dance in it:

The scene hasn’t left my mind since I first saw it (around 2012)

With that being said, I really also enjoy the final arc of season 1 which focuses on a Nutcracker Christmas pageant.

Season 2 was not afraid to up the stakes, as it killed off one of the main characters (I literally can’t spoil who 😦 ). Teen death isn’t a typical element on a teen show, as usually it’s an adult who dies on such shows. Three new students were also added: Ben Tickle (Thomas Lacey, 19 playing 16) : a childhood cancer survivor who got double promoted to second year from first year. Grace Whitney (Isabel Durant, 21 playing 17) : Miss Raine’s goddaughter from London. And Ollie Lloyd (Keiynan Lonsdale, 21 playing 18): a student who did not pass last year and must repeat the grade. Ollie is also openly gay (which for the time, in 2012, was major for teen TV).

Season 2’s main plot revolves around a prestigious dance competition “The Prix de Fonteyn” being held in Australia for the first time in 25 years. The characters all go through a process to see which dancers from the Academy will represent Australia all while completing their second year at the academy. (Note: I think looking back this season bugged me the most, there’s a lot of filler, and is a bit disjointed at first)

The third and final season deals with the characters still picking up the pieces of their friend’s death all while contemplating their futures, as its graduation year. Who will or will not get a contract with the company is never far from any of their minds and the possibility of not getting a contract (only 1 male and 1 female will) drives them to seek out alternative opportunities in dance. It’s a shorter season but very impactful and has a satisfying ending.

Overall, Dance Academy does have its flaws, the acting may bug some people, the story-lines in season 2 become a bit too drawn out, and lastly: the friend group continuously dates the friend group (this one bothers me the most as an adult), but it has a ton of heart. The dancing does take center stage and when there is a number, it tends to stay with you for a long long time. Certain dances from this show have been imprinted on my mind- as they are all so unique and in my opinion have more effort and emotion than anything any High School Musical ever did.


All in all, Dance Academy has a special place in my heart as one of 2 teen TV shows that will remain with me, as the other is H2O. Australian teen TV did something really magical, and it’s really cool I was the right age at when Dance Academy came out. I now leave you with some of my favorite dances from the show!

Once Upon a Time (2011-2018)

Warning: Minor plot point spoilers from the show are contained in this review. This entry is for the July 2022 Fantasy Genre Grandeur hosted by Movie Rob.

Once Upon a Time is what ABC initially called fairy tales for the modern age (modern being 2011-2018, the time of which the show aired). They took the idea of a, “happily ever after“, and turned it upside down, asking deeper questions such as, What does the Evil Queen’s happiness look like?  Did Snow White and her Prince have kids? Do the heroes in the story ever do anything wrong or immoral?? Do the villains of the story ever feel guilt, or were they always just evil? It was an ingenious formula that for a few years worked insanely well. They were able to bring the viewer all of their favorite characters, offering new spins on their backstories, while crafting their futures, all while maintaining those standard elements of why we love them in the first place. 

OUAT Cast

The main story line centered around Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the daughter of Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). When Emma was born The Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parillia) enacted her revenge against Snow and Charming by casting a curse, given to her by Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle OBE) that would transport them to the real world and live a life without magic or happy endings. Emma, who was born and sent away from the Enchanted Forest realm before the curse affected her, was then the only hope of breaking the curse, and restoring peace to the Kingdom. However, the catch comes when the curse can only be broken after her 28th birthday, and until that time, everyone, except for Regina, will live out a life in which they have no idea who they are or who they love in the town of Storybrooke. 

Although Emma is unaffected by the curse, she lives with the fact she doesn’t know her true background and grows up believing she was orphaned/ abandoned by her parents. She eventually has a son, Henry (Jared Gilmore) at the age of 18, and places him up for adoption, not ready to be a mother. Henry is then adopted by… you guessed it Regina, The Evil Queen.  It is then on Emma’s 28th birthday Henry shows up at her door, wanting to A: reunite with his birth mother and B: convince her to believe in magic and break the curse. Thus begins the OUAT saga! 

The show used a parallel narrative structure that showed the characters in the real world, and their life back in the Enchanted Forest before the curse took place. Often of times their two story lines would be paralleled featuring the same lesson, or a different perspective of a similar problem showing how their life has changed. 

Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Killian “Hook” Jones: Leather. Irish Brogue. Piercing Eyes. Guyliner: Who can resist? Certainly not me!

For me personally, Once is not a show that I watched when it first aired in 2011. I got on board with the show in 2014 just before the 4th season premiere, binge watching all of 1-3. I was drawn to the show because honestly the Frozen story line was coming up, and I thought it would be so cool to see a live action interpretation of those characters.  I then stuck with the show because the Emma-Captain Hook romance was also heating up and when I was 18, I thought the most appealing aspect of the show was one man: Colin O’Donoguhue, who played Captain Killian “Hook” Jones (the character was based on Disney’s version of Captain Hook from Peter Pan 1953). In fact, I believed this so much I initially called the first season, “the most boring“, because Hook wasn’t a character until season 2.

One of my favorite Captain Hook Scenes: S2 E9 Queen of Hearts
Captain Swan in my favorite episode: There’s No Place like Home S3 E22

My favorite plotline on the show came in the first 2 seasons: Emma putting the pieces together, getting the backstories of all these characters and then in season 2 seeing how they would figure out the after math of the curse and what they would do next.  My favorite episodes were, however, in season 3 with the 2-part finale when Emma and Hook have their mini Back to the Future story when they accidentally time travel though an open portal and interrupt Snow and Charming’s first meeting. With a little help from Rumpelstiltskin, they have to get the meeting back on track or risk erasing Emma from the timeline. It’s super cute as Emma realizes how much she loves her parents, and also starts to loosen up around Hook- being more flirty around him and learning they do make a super great team! 

Now being 25, I look back at this show a little differently. Some of the plot lines were pathetic, pointless, and downright unacceptable even for the time span of 2011-2018. For instance, the season 5 Zelena- Robin Hood baby plot point was always disgusting. I hated the plot then and hate it now. Who in their sane mind thought that was an acceptable plot fans would be OK with? Also I thought The Dark Swan/ Dark One Emma plot line was done terribly. Making Hook also The Dark One was pathetic, and defeated the purpose of Hook trying to stay, “good“, while Emma was newly, “evil“. 

I also look back with the viewpoint of while Hook was a fun character in seasons 2-4, by season 5 there was a shift; either A: Colin stopped trying or B: the writing had deteriorated so badly, he wasn’t given anything to work with; therefore, he was going to give a phoned in performance no matter what. 

MY Favorite BTS picture of Mr Robert Carlyle OBE as Mr. Gold.

I’ve also seen the light on who carried the show: Mr. Robert Carlyle OBE. Mr. Carlyle was always the most interesting part of OUAT, and even though I considered Hook to be my favorite character, Mr. Gold/ Rumpelstiltskin always had my attention on what he would do next. My only complaint was Carlyle had to neuter his voice down to something an American audience can understand (anyone here know Hamish Macbeth (1995-1997)- Now there’s a great show where he got to speak in his real voice!). It was strikingly obvious he was having a blast in seasons 1-3, and you can tell his enthusiasm for the part came out in the performance. However after Rumple’s arc of redemption was considered to be complete by many fans by season 3, by season 4 something changed. What what I gather, Carlyle was trying to work with the writers/ co creators to craft a better story line plot-wise and because of that attempted collaboration, unacceptable on the writers behalf, they punished his character, giving Rumple bizarre, recycled, and often pointless story lines. Still, he carried the show when the plot went down the toilet, and for that, he has my total respect.

One of the rare times Carlyle’s natural Scottish-Glaswegian accent slipped though- I LOVE THAT. S2 E11 The Outsider

While I would not wanna sit through this whole show again, I would re-watch certain episodes, and there are specific badass character moments I love (most of them involving Rumple and Hook). I do dismiss all of season 7, I did not watch it, but would read weekly recaps. I thought the new ‘wish realm” plot basis to be pointless, yet I will admit the finale episode ever was a payoff especially if you watched the whole show. 

Overall, my most important takeaway was the show put Robert Carlyle into my life. As an actor (and as a person) I’ll never move on from him, never be “over him“. I also believe this show had one of the best casts on TV, you can really tell they all adored each other. It’s a show that I am glad to have seen, for in the end, Once Upon a Time to me summed up is: a fun fantasy show with the characters you know and actors you come to love.

5 Royal Biopics I can’t stand: Pick my Movie Tag 2


I was tagged by Reelweeggie Reviews with the “Pick My Movie Tag” to write about 5 Royal Biopics I can’t stand. The rules for this tag are as follows:

  • Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
  • Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
  • Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog.
  • Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Maybe both.
  • All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
  • All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
  • Have fun!

Before I name and pan the 5 biopics, I’d like to link some fun Oscar nominated shorts offered by Filmzie and their service. Filmzie is a free streaming service and it has recently launched in the US on Roku. It is available across the globe on a range of connected TVs, via its app, and though your web browser. They are currently offering the following Oscar nominated shorts for free with the links below:

Very Very Nice (1960) , Paddle to the Sea (1965), Pas de deux (1967), and Copy (1967)

Personally, embracing my inner Anglophile, I also see they are offering a range of Gordon Ramsay’s (my favorite chef!!) cooking shows including the UK versions of The F word, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape!

Changing the guard, I now present 5 royal biopics I can’t stand:

1- LifeTime TV’s William and Kate 2011. Starring Camilla Luddington (she’s from Berkshire like Kate!) and  Nico Evers-Swindell. LifeTime TV is always below par, but this is just plain embarrassing. Sure they shot on location, but they shot at Oxford University, not St. Andrews. Cheesy made up scenes like Kate and Will going out for a run with Will’s bodyguards having to keep up or Kate looking at cribs through a shop window leading to a rift and their breakup. The funny stand out scene is when Will jumps in the lake so he can swim out to Kate to, ‘win her back’, as she’s training for the 2007 charity Dragon Rowing Race. The proposal scene set in Africa was clearly green screen, making the backdrop super fake!


2: Hallmark’s William and Catherine: A Royal Romance 2011: (Starring Alice St. Clair, and Dan Amboyer as William and Catherine, Victor Garber as Prince Charles and Jane Alexander as Queen Elizabeth II). This aired on my 15th birthday (Aug 27)! I was really interested to watch at the time and while this one is better than LifeTime’s its still BAD. Kate meets William outside her dorm and drops her laundry- and gets embarrassed when he picks up her bra by accident – cringe! Also some blatant inaccuracies: Prince Harry at the Don’t Walk Fashion Show is a major one that comes to mind. Plus, a running theme of them calling each other Will and Kate at college, then when getting serious calling themselves William and Catherine. The other cringe-y running gag is the pair playing, “never have I ever“, a bit irritating after the first couple times they played it. One thing I will say that may date this production in an awful way, is there is a framing story arc of Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview being the, “advice“, for William as he’s preparing to propose to Kate.

3: Mary Queen of Scots 2018: Starring Margot Robie as Elizabeth I and Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots . (I think I accidentally put 2013 on Twitter, but meant to put 2018). This movie was pretty lack luster, (and no, it didn’t bother me they had a fictional face to face meeting, as the 1971 film also had this occur), it didn’t have soul. While the costumes were great, the narrative was just plain boring. I saw it in theaters and I kept waiting for tension to come up between the two historical legends, and it never happened. While I don’t think we need to choose a, “side“, or a team, what does need to be recognized is there was legit ill-will between these two women. They were not trying to be friends or even family (as they are cousins: Mary Queen of Scots is a great granddaughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth is Henry VII’s granddaughter). I know it’s not common to have women be screen enemies these days, but when telling a historical story, the truth needs to be apparent. Thankfully for that reason, there are plenty of other options when it comes to these Queens!


4: Diana 2013: Starring Naomi Watts as Diana and Naveen Andrews as Hasnat Khan. I was a skeptic about this one to begin with, but it again had no feeling, no soul. The positive element were the costumes with Naomi looking physically spectacular, yet the script was garbage. If felt as if Naomi was doing an impression of Diana rather than an interpretation (Helen Mirren took the interpretation approach for her title role in The Queen). The romance with Khan was the center of this narrative, and we really don’t feel any other element that is Diana. We see her going to a charity ball, or going to the landmines, but she’s just there, present with no emotion attached.  Add on the bizarre pacing, editing, and bad music choices, this one was tough to sit through. It could be used as docu-drama with the visuals, but as a biopic, it was plain awful.


5: Spencer (2021): I admit I haven’t seen this one, but clips and trailers I have seen turn me off immediately, I wouldn’t mind catching it on tv or streaming (where I could fast forward), but instinctively know I would cringe. Kirsten Stewart as Diana is the first mistake. Of all the young women out there, she gets chosen to portray The Princess of Wales? I’ve never been a fan of Twilight (seriously, ask my Mom or Sister and they would tell you, “Emily wasn’t into it at all, even if her friends were, she never was“). The one alluring element is the fact Stella Gonet of House of Eliott fame is in this movie and she’s a very seasoned actress; it would be cool to see her play Queen Elizabeth II. Still, it just feels like it would be a terrible movie. (P.S. Does anyone else notice Diana’s hair is more bob like, rather than pixie like? IT BOTHERS ME!)

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, 5 royal biopics that I personally think are the worst of them out there. I think the key part to any biopic is respect to the real person/ people you are centering the narrative around and when you drop the ball on that, then the whole project falls apart.
Good or bad in execution, I will say royal biopics are always something to look forward to because it allows you to geek out over who- and what- looks right and what doesn’t, and that’s the super fun part!

Many thanks to ReelweegieMidget Reviews for nominating me! And also Thanks so much to Filmzie for providing the Oscar nom. shorts!!! Be sure to check them out!

Lastly, I’d like to pass the tag by nominating Phyllis Loves Classic Movies to write about 5 of her least favorite Hitchcock movies!

A Place to Call Home (2013-18)

The Australian tv show, A Place to Call Home, has one of the most fascinating stories of how I personally came to watch it. I came across it in 2015, when looking for more info on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries season 3. A Place to Call Home pictures kept popping up and I saw an image of a cast with 1950s clothing, so I was curious about it. Upon Googling the show I had learned it ran in Australia for 2 years, got cancelled, but miraculously was uncancelled. I searched around for a trailer and watched the American one made by Acorn TV. It was in that very moment after watching the 1 minute and 50 second trailer, I knew the show was going to be a real winner. I just had an instinctive feeling about it, and bought season 1 DVD as basically a blind buy, taking a nearly $35 gamble on it.

This SOLD ME!

As I waited for the DVD to arrive, I didn’t have any doubts, which is unlike me, rather I was just so excited. I also had the benefit of knowing there wasn’t going to be an unresolved cliffhanger, as the show was locked in until at least season 4. I binged 1 and 2, watching 3 and beyond as it was airing.

The cast of A Place To Call Home prepare to say farewell | OverSixty
This kept popping up!

Created by the man behind Packed to the Rafters, Bevan Lee, the premise of A Place to Call Home starts as follows: In 1953, Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp) returns home to Australia after spending 20 years in Europe. On her journey back to Oz, working as a nurse for ocean liner passage, she meets the wealthy Bligh family, by taking care of the family matriarch, Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst) and it’s that encounter that changes everyone’s lives.

The series goes on to explore not only Sarah finding her home in the town of Inverness, but healing from her traumatic past. Other themes throughout the show’s run include Anti- Semitism and religious intolerance, public vs personal image, family disfunction, class divide, 1950s homosexuality, second chances, and above all, love and the meaning of home.

While A Place to Call Home is impacted by 1950s events, the show really is a character driven narrative. I’ve said it on Twitter and I will say it here, Marta’s character Sarah is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever seen on screen (Marta even retweeted me, I was so excited). Sarah Adams is Jewish by faith, (converting to marry her now deceased husband, Dr Rene Nordmann), defended the left in the Spanish Civil War, was a Nazi resistance worker, and is a Holocaust survivor. (Author’s note: I learned more about the Jewish faith and practices from this show than any class ever could offer.)

As for the Bligh family: Widower George Bligh (Brett Climo) is the owner of the estate Ash Park, although his Mother, Elizabeth is the real head of the family. George’s wife, Elaine, was a civilian war victim, passing away while their children, James (David Berry) and Anna (Abby Earl) were very young. In the first episode, James is newly married to his English bride, Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood). Anna on the other hand is 20 at the show’s beginning with a long time crush on her childhood friend, Gino (Aldo Mignone), son of Italian immigrants.

Rounding out the cast is essential town busybody Doris Collins (Deborah Kennedy), family friend Dr. Jack Duncan (Craig Hall), family black sheep, sister/ daughter Carolyn Bligh (Sara Wiseman), rugged farmer Roy Briggs (Frankie J Holden), George’s sister-in law Reginia Standish (Jenni Baird) and starting in season 3, Dr. Henry Fox (Tim Draxl).

Overall, if Douglas Sirk created a TV show, and was allowed to outwardly explore the darkness within the glossy 1950s facade, this is the TV show you’d end up; only this show is even better. A Place to Call Home has been compared to Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and even Dynasty, but I think it’s got a style all its own, with a tremendous 6 year run covering the time span of 1953- to New Year’s Day 1960.

Some fans claim the time jump to 1958 in season 5 weakened the show’s narrative, but I personally declare it gives the show more intrigue, of filling in the missing 4 years. Another critcism I have heard was David Berry’s limited availability in seasons 5 and 6, but compared to other shows I’ve seen, the writers handled it tremendously well. I have the upmost respect for David Berry as James still had an impact on the plot, and the fact he appeared on screen proved he didn’t cut and run the minute a fame offering role in Outlander was offered.

The bottom line is if you’ve never seen the show I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best family saga tv shows you’ve never seen, and it reminds us all just who and what the real meaning of home is.

This is an entry for the Home Sweet Home Blogathon hosted by Reelweegiemidget and Taking up Room ! Be sure to check out other entries! !

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