Five Mile Creek: Season One (review)

This charming Disney Channel series, about an American woman abroad in Australia during that nation’s gold rush, is a delight for family viewing, reliably inoffensive without avoiding tough issues from racism and sexism to the awkwardness of creating an ad hoc family out of new friends. Maggie Scott (Louise Caire Clark) and her daughter, young Hannah (Priscilla Weems), arrive in the Australian outback from San Francisco to join her husband, but when he doesn’t show, they throw in their lot with Kate Wallace (Liz Burch), who runs The Haven, a travelers’ stop along the new stagecoach line. Stolen gold, dangerous outlaws, aristocratic visitors, and deadly fevers are but a few of the excitements they face and triumph over together. Based on Louis L’Amour’s novel The Cherokee Trail and dating from 1983-4, these 13 episodes look great on DVD — the audio and video transfers are fine, and show off the series’ stunning authenticity to great effect.

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