Of all the absolutely wonderful things about Australia, including but not limited to Tim Tams, Golden Gaytimes, quokkas, the Melbourne Cup, Patrick White, Hugh Jackman before he got all veiny, Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment, Dog on the Tucker Box, the expression “she’ll be right, mate”—of all those really fantastic, fantastic things, the absolute best thing about Australia is the surprisingly feminist prime-time soap McLeod’s Daughters. I was a regular viewer when it was on Netflix, but for some inexplicable reason they removed it last year and I have been muddling along for months without gratuitous pan shots of South Australia and life-or-death action usually involving shearing season and/or grain silos. Or a really, really fat gelding (see above) that one of the main characters is always galloping across the bush to rescue wayward children/sheep/organic plants.
But the drought is over! Actually, it turns out it never started, because it turns out McLeod’s Daughters has been on Hulu Plus all along!
In case you are not aware of the existence of this really amazing early-2000s show, it is the story of two estranged half sisters—the eponymous McLeod’s daughters—who come together to run their late father’s cattle station with an all-female staff of jillaroos. Obviously there is a pair of smokeshow brothers that live next door and often ride around in/crash helicopters/horses, but they turn out to be the kind of steamy male support roles that provide just the right level of lingering sexual tension to keep my interest without interfering with a female-centric narrative. Also, the best thing about this show is it is absolutely about real life. During my brief stint in the Hunter Valley, I did observe a particularly intense bout of flooding that was very Lord of the Flies AND date a bronc rider while wearing a wife-beater, which is pretty much what happens in most of McLeod’s Daughters. Of course, nobody was faking their death in a booby-trapped car explosion, giving birth in a cow-shed whilst having weird telepathic phantom pains related to a sister who is simultaneously sinking in a silo full of wheat, or toppling off a cliff in the most unsatisfactory and traumatizing character departure of all time...but it was still basically the same.
You can check it out on Hulu here: http://www.hulu.com/mcleods-daughter