The Alice: articles

The Alice - Review

The Alice, Nine, 8.30pm Sunday

There's something about wide open spaces, though most of us prefer to let the telly do the walking.

Lazy, but nice in a way, for Nine now returns The Alice in series form after last year's successful lunge into the Red Centre and a handsome one-night drama that pulled in a swag of viewers. Don't fret if you missed it; an excellent catch-up sequence offers introductions all round.

Of course it's romantic. You can't call a place the Alice unless it's very special and Alice Springs is big enough to accommodate a drama without kicking up too much dust. There's some establishment stuff - a tourist guide takes a group of new arrivals to the ANZAC Memorial overlooking the town. There's a good deal of charm as well, with Jack Jaffers (Erik Thomson), a bit of a lad in his time, now falling on his feet, having built the Baa Bar somewhere near the Gap, where one cannot imagine anybody being allowed to build anything. No matter, it's opening day tomorrow and returning to town is Helen Gregory (Caitlin McDougall), who needs a place to sleep as she prepares to face a coroner's inquest. Her husband Connor fell to his death at Rainbow Valley on the night of the eclipse. Helen tells her lawyer, Sonia (Deborah Mailman), that she feels responsible for his death.

Several strands of easygoing storytelling get the viewer in. The rescued baby camel is a nice touch - if only the wretched thing could be house-trained. Lots to anticipate: Nine and executive producer John Edwards (Love My Way, The Secret Life of Us) have clearly hit the spot. We may think we know how the inquest is going to conclude, but it's a fair bet most viewers will want to make sure. Just as the town itself, The Alice has more than its share of interesting characters. Series drama is a tough call, but Nine hasn't offered anything as promising as this for yonks. A double serve tonight, then taking up its regular spot tomorrow.

By Robin Oliver
July 30, 2005
The Sydney Moring Herald