The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Television Collision: Catching Up On McLeod’s Daughters

Written by: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageIt’s summer time again and while this year there are an astonishing amount of Summer Shows that keep me entertained (Persons Unknown, Haven, Hung, True Blood, Royal Pains, Mad Men, Boston Med, So You Think You Can Dance…), I still maintained my summer tradition of picking one show of the past to catch up with. The choice for 2010: Australian hit drama McLeod’s Daughters (2001-2008).

I had previously watched a few episodes on German afternoon television, but as is the plight with so many good shows, the German dubbing leaves a lot to be desired. Especially since Australians have that cool accent. Without this accent, the show might as well have been set somewhere on a ranch in America. But it’s not: it’s the Australian outback, complete with cattle, sheep, horses and Utes (pronounced “yoots” as in “utility vehicles” or pickup trucks).

I have to say that the worst thing about McLeod’s Daughters is definitely the music design and composition, because with its use of overly cheesy songs by whining female singers, it drags the whole show way further into the land of “female drama show” than it needs to go.
The second worst thing is the editing. Cuts are sloppy and come in the middle of a verse of the music and in the first season there was an overload of completely unnecessary slow-mos that added nothing to the point a scene was trying to make and just came across as clumsy.


Nick and Alex Ryan

However, by the end of the first season at least the unnecessary slow-mos have disappeared and McLeod’s Daughters is actually a fairly entertaining show to watch. It plays a lot with the ultimate female fantasy of the strong, but morally good cowboy. This stereotype is personified in the two brothers Alex and Nick Ryan. The former, played by Aaron Jeffrey, the older, more cocky, most-beloved son, who’s a man’s man and gets all the ladies. The latter, played by Myles Pollard, the sensitive younger brother, handicapped by a rodeo accident, very polite, very determined and a one woman’s man. Have your choice, women of the world: do you want to tame the bad boy and reign him in or do you want the sensitive prince who has had to overcome so much pain and suffering (also from the emotional torture he’s had to endure from their father)?

What I really like about the show, and it’s kinda there in the title, is the fact there are a lot of women around and at the center of the show. The farm the old McLeod left his two daughters Claire and Tess is called Drovers Run and its managed and maintained entirely by women, after Claire fires all of the male workers because they have been stealing fuel. So there they are, a motley crew: Claire, the oldest daughter of Jack McLeod, who grew up on the farm and knows all there is to know about it. Tess, her younger half-sister, who moved away to the city and now, after the death of their parents, is only beginning to adjust to life in the country. Meg, the housekeeper and cook, who has had an affair with the Old McLeod, but now serves as the Mother Hen to all the women on Drovers. Meg’s daughter Jodi, who dreams of traveling the world and meeting the perfect boy, as any 18-year-old should. And Becky, a battered young woman from the small town of Gungellan, who has seen too much and been in lots of trouble and is just glad to get some peace and quiet and works harder than anyone.


The original crew.

It’s fairly impossible not to like these women, though all of them can get on your nerves. But they make each other (and the viewer) laugh and they stick together, especially through all the crap the men can give them sometimes. They are strong, independent women and this is never compromised in its basic concept, which is a great relief.

Now, I am only in Season 2 of 8 and I remember quite a lot of silly things about the show from the aforementioned episodes I caught on German TV. For example, Claire isn’t here to stay because the actress playing her (Lisa Chappell) felt it was “time to move on” after three years. Over the course of the show, every character threatens to leave or actually leaves but then comes back just to leave again and so on and so forth. It gets to be a bit silly and very “soap-opera-y”. The whole thing becomes especially excruciating when a third, previously lost sister is introduced to “replace” Claire. And even more McLeod’s begin to pop up all over the place. It’s really ludicrous at times.

But let’s focus on the positive: the first three seasons are a great watch and a lot of things are done right. I especially like the slow-burning romance between Tess and Nick, which takes forever to come to fruition and is therefore all the more rewarding.
Other than that, I can’t really ask for much more than McLeod’s Daughters is delivering: horses, strapping cowboys who are sensitive, a strong sisterly bond between women and plenty of great Australian accents. That’s enough to keep me happy this summer.




Recommended Collisions with your Television

(combine at will, all times EST, only new programming listed)


Tuesday, July 27th
 8 p.m.  Pretty Little Liars (ABCFam)
 9 p.m.  
 10 p.m.  Law & Order: Criminal Intent (USA)
Wednesday, July28th  
 8 p.m.  So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
 9 p.m.  
 10 p.m.  Hot In Cleveland (TVLand)
   In Plain Sight (USA)
Thursday, July 29th  
 8 p.m.
 9 p.m.  So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
   Rookie Blue (ABC)
   Burn Notice (USA)
 10 p.m.  Royal Pains (USA)
   Boston Med (ABC)
Friday, July 30th  
 8 p.m.  Friday Night Lights (NBC)
 9 p.m.  
 10 p.m.  Party Down (Starz)
   Miami Medical (CBS)
   Merlin (SyFy)
Saturday, July 31st
 8 p.m.
 Persons Unknown (NBC)
Sunday, August 1st
 9 p.m.  True Blood (HBO)
   Scoundrels (ABC)
   The Tudors (SHowtime)
 10 p.m.  Army Wives (Lifetime)
   The Gates (ABC)
   Hung (HBO)
   Leverage (TNT)
 10:30 p.m.  Entourage (HBO)
Monday, August 2nd
 8 p.m.  Lie to Me (Fox)
 9 p.m.  The Good Guys (Fox)
   Huge (ABCFam)
 10 p.m.