A hidden gem amongst the flurry of international titles that recently arrived in the US is the Aussie drama series The Alice, which is now available in the UK, too. Read on for details.
The 2005-2006 TV series The Alice is a spin-off the 2004 TV movie of the same name, which, unfortunately, isn’t available in any form in the US or the UK.
It’s all good, though, because the show opens with a recap of what happened in the film, including who the main characters are and how they came to be in the outback town of Alice Springs, aka The Alice, the third-largest town in Australia’s Northern Territory. The 22-episode series then goes on to follow the lives of the locals.
Jack Jaffers (Erik Thomson, 800 Words, Back to the Rafters, Packed to the Rafters) is a former rock-and-roller who was “on the run” when he arrived in Alice Springs. Now he owns a bar and a roofless one-room “motel” (aka trailer) here, and takes his dog, Rusty, for runs in the red sand of the Outback — buck naked, I might add.
Jess (Jessica Napier, Rescue Special Ops, McLeod’s Daughters), who works at the local hospital, is Jack’s daughter, although she doesn’t know this cos he hasn’t told her. Helen (Caitlin McDougall, Stateless, Always Greener), just back in Alice Springs for an inquest related to her late husband’s death, is the woman Jack’s in love with; the feeling is mutual, but neither of them had made it known to the other. And Helen has another secret: she can see, talk with, and touch Patrick (Simon Burke, Dead Lucky, Deep Water), a close friend who died and lives on as a ghost now.
Unlike Jack, local constable Hugh (Andrew McFarlane, Secret City, Newton’s Law) is quite vocal about his feelings, namely his desire to get back together with Ellie (Roxane Wilson, Stingers, Water Rats), his artist wife, who left him after he cheated on her. Ellie, though, has already moved on, albeit secretly; she’s in a relationship with Matt (Patrick Brammall, Glitch, No Activity), Jess’s hospital colleague and a much younger guy who happens to be Ellen’s son Toby’s (Brett Stiller, All Saints, Packed to the Rafters) flatmate.
Similar to Jack, Toby has eyes for Jess but won’t tell her. So, too, does Toby’s best mate, Michael (Luke Carroll, Upright, The Gods of Wheat Street), who’s equally as reticent to reveal his feelings to her. Aside from fancying Jess, what these two guys share is a tourism business that they run from a space in Jack’s bar.
The lives of this lot are filled with rivalries and challenges, misadventures and scares — from a “friendly” footy match and a AU$400 bar tab that needs to be paid now, to the trashing of a new Mercedes and an injury that might mean death within minutes.
What is constant throughout, though, is love and friendship, which transcend whatever mess any one of the townies might find themselves in.
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