Dr Kate McDonald is married to the small farming community of Paringa, where she's been the vet for 15 years. For most of that time she's been hiding a secret, and as a result, refuses to allow anyone to get close to her.
Rain Shadow was shot in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia and is set in the fictional district of Paringa, a dry land farming area in a rain shadow. It tells the story of two characters who become the means of each other's future. It stars Rachel Ward as district vet Kate McDonald and Victoria Thaine as new veterinary assistant Jill Blake.Written by
'Paringa' means 'home by the water' in one of the South Australian aboriginal languages. The 'para' part of word is on the beginning or end of countless other place names derived from aboriginal languages in many parts of that dry state. The 'Paringa' in this mini-series has been a town on its last legs since about 1960, and ten years of drought have all but finished it off. See more »
'McLeod's Daughters' meets Wandin Valley
I may be jumping in here, having only seen the first episode, but even at this early stage, my most overwhelming response is one of disappointment. I really, really wanted to like this series, having grown up in a remote and perpetually dry farming area, but no matter how much I try, I can't.
Firstly, the concept of a young and eager vet from the city moving to a rural region in the grip of a long dry to assist the resident (female, middle-aged, complex, crusty) vet - played by Rachel Ward - is a worthy one, but somehow it just isn't enough. It feels clichéd and corny, and as I watched, I couldn't help but think that the vet from 'A Country Practice' was almost more believable!!! Having said that, I feel that Rachel Ward holds this whole thing together. She's a trooper of many years, and the camera loves her.
My real problem with this is the way the locals are portrayed, with names like Fred and Harry (although Shane Withington as Harry looks the real deal!)and most of the men wearing Akubras or a cheaper version of it. For the 1997-ish film 'Road To Nhill' the writer spent a number of months living in the area about which she later wrote, so her perspective was an informed one. In 'Rain Shadow' the locals - so far at least - are treated as one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. Strange as this may seem to city dwellers, country folk are quite complex, and their lives and choices can provide great stories for astute and observant writers.
I hope my pessimism about this series will prove to be unfounded.
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