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Faraway Downs (2023) Mini Series: A Down Under Drama that Doesn't Downplay the Drama

An English aristocrat, Lady Sarah Ashley who travels halfway across the world to confront her wayward husband and sell an unusual asset: a million-acre cattle station in the Australian Outback called 'Faraway Downs'. Following the death of her husband, a ruthless Australian cattle baron, King Carney, plots to take her land and she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover to protect her station. The sweeping adventure romance is explored through the eyes of young Nullah, a bi-racial Indigenous Australian child caught up in the government's draconian racial policy now referred to as the "Stolen Generations." Together the trio experiences four life-altering years, a love affair between Lady Ashley and the Drover, and the unavoidable impact of World War II on Northern Australia.

Hey there, film aficionados! Today, I'm donning my metaphorical bush hat and taking a trek into the Australian Outback with Hulu's latest mini-series, Faraway Downs. Starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and introducing Shea Adams, this saga promises a tale as expansive as the million-acre cattle station it's named after. Grab your kangaroo snacks and join me on this wild ride through the ups and downs of Faraway, where drama is as vast as the landscape.

Series Over Cinema: Who needs a 3-hour movie when you can have a binge-worthy series? Finally, someone at Hulu had the brilliant idea to turn Baz Luhrman's 2008 film Australia into an episodic adventure. The extended runtime allows for a deeper dive into character development, making you care more about these folks than your own neglected houseplants.

Chemistry Class with Hugh and Nicole: If chemistry were a subject in school, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman would undoubtedly be straight-A students. The sparks between Lady Sarah Ashley and the rugged cattle drover practically sizzle off the screen. It's almost enough to make you forget they're in the middle of nowhere, fighting for a cattle station. Almost.

Scenery That Rivals Your Screensaver: Forget about the daily grind, because Faraway Downs serves up some of the most breathtaking scenery I've seen on the small screen. The Australian Outback is more than just red dirt and kangaroos; it's an Instagrammer's dream come true. I half expected Chris Hemsworth to show up and start giving guided tours.

Slow Start, Teary Eyed Finish: The series starts off at a slower pace than a tortoise with a hip replacement, but fear not! Patience is rewarded with a finale that ties up loose ends with a neat bow. Sure, it's a bit sappy, but sometimes we all need a little sweetness in our TV diet.

Out-of-Time Title Track: The title song of Faraway Downs is like a time-traveling DJ dropped a track from the 2020s into the 1940s. It's a jarring juxtaposition that yanks you out of the dusty, cattle-rustling world and into the present. Not ideal to keep you in the mood.

CGI, or Did Someone Forget the Budget?: While the series nails the vast, awe-inspiring landscapes, some of the CGI in the travel scenes left me questioning whether they spent the budget on kangaroo snacks instead. It's a bit cheaply made, like they raided the "Bargain Bin: Special Effects" aisle.

*Baz Luhrman is back, giving his 2008 film a facelift and expanding it into a miniseries on Hulu. With an extra hour of footage, deeper Aboriginal representation, and a focus on Nullah's perspective, Faraway Downs is a reimagined tale that cuts deep into the scars left by the Stolen Generations. Luhrman throws in a curveball with a completely different ending, because why not keep us on our toes?

Ranking: 7.9/10

Faraway Downs may not be perfect, but it's a journey worth taking. The stunning landscapes, the chemistry between the leads, and the fresh perspective on an existing story make it a solid choice for your next binge-watch session. Just don't forget to bring your tissues and a forgiving attitude for the occasional CGI hiccup.

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