A bit of pop culture

I don’t watch a lot of television, especially the type of television programs that are most popular. But every once in a while I get really caught up in a show, usually one that no one else I know has any interest in whatsoever. One of my ultimate favorites is an Australian show called McLeod’s Daughters.

Lisa Chappell as Claire McLeod

The daughters of the title are Claire and Tess McLeod, half-sisters who were separated for 20 years after Tess’s mother left their father, taking young Tess with her. Claire remained on the family farm, the fabled Drover’s Run, with their father.

Bridie Carter as Tess McLeod

Upon their father’s death, Tess, now an orphan, learns that she has inherited half the property and she returns to claim her inheritance. Claire, an orphan as well, must reconcile her father’s wishes and open her closed world to her sister, the ultimate city girl in Claire’s eyes.

The story focuses on the sisters finding ways to keep the family farm going, through financial troubles, drought, stock thieves, and mining interests. They are helped by the wonderful ladies that work the farm with them, the oh-so-yummy Ryan brothers from next door, and a whole cast of good ole locals.

Drover’s Run homestead

So much about this show was appealing to me. It was a mainstream (in Australia, at least) depiction of the rural, farming life that is so often ignored by popular culture. It represented women on the land as fixtures and powerhouses rather than just supporting characters. It proved that you can step outside of the typical Hollywood obsession with glitz and fast living, highlighting more typical lives, and still draw the attention of a nation. And it didn’t pigeonhole its characters.

Main Cast of McLeod’s Daughters (Seasons 1-3)

Yes, the show did have moments of ridiculousness. And I found myself wondering how terrible the parasites in Australia were since they were drenching (worming) their sheep every other episode. Naturally, there is a limit to how many times you really want to watch them almost lose the farm but save it at the last minute with pluck and creativity. And, of course, when you watch a show called McLeod’s DAUGHTERS and a character leaves the show, you just KNOW, deep down in your being, that some long-lost relative is going to pop up to save the day.

But I don’t care. Even in the last few seasons, when things got particularly hairy, I still loved the show. I loved what it still represented to me. I’ve watched the first 4 seasons at least 3 times and the final 4 seasons twice. I will probably continue to periodically return to Drover’s Run for a long, long time. I want to be a McLeod (well, I’d happily settle for being a Ryan by marriage) and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The women of Drover’s Run

As is pretty usual when you find yourself truly invested in a show, I find it hard sometimes to separate the actors from the characters they play. To me, they will always be the jillaroos and jackaroos from Gungellan. Yet, I always follow what they are working on at the moment, hoping that they find continued success.

Aaron Jeffery as Alex Ryan

I was thrilled to hear that Aaron Jeffery, who played the oh-so-hunky neighbor, man’s man with a heart of gold Alex Ryan, would be in the (then) upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What an amazing jump to Hollywood! Turns out, he plays Thomas Logan, young James Howlett (aka Logan, aka Wolverine) and Victor Creed’s father, whom Logan kills in the first few minutes of the movie. (To be fair, he didn’t know it was his father at the time.) So that was a bit disappointing, since one of the major reasons I saw the movie was because Aaron was in it.

Myles Pollard as Nick Ryan

After watching Wolverine, I stumbled across the fact that Myles Pollard, who played Alex’s sensitive and smart brother Nick, was also in the movie. Obviously, I missed the part he played, Phelan. Which is sad. I do think it’s pretty interesting that they were both in that one film, which starred a much more famous Aussie actor, Huge Jackman.

Rachael Carpani as Jodi  McLeod

Rachael Carpani was one of the gems of McLeod’s Daughters, driving the story lines in much of the later seasons as Jodi Fountain McLeod. She seemed to have a very promising Hollywood career ahead of her when she landed a starring role in the CBS pilot for a show called Law Dogs, which wasn’t picked up. She did appear in several episodes of the CBS shows Cane and NCIS: Los Angeles.

But it’s her boyfriend and former McLeod’s Daughters co-star, Matt Passmore, who seems to have hit the Hollywood jackpot. And, I have to admit, he’s the reason behind this somewhat disjointed, rambling post.

Matt Passmore as Marcus Turner

I didn’t love Passmore’s character, Marcus Turner, when he showed up in the show. He was a cheap fill-in for Alex’s brother Nick, who had moved to Argentina to run a ranch. He just wasn’t who I wanted to be watching- he wasn’t Nick and he certainly wasn’t a Ryan (he’s Alex’s surprise half-brother). But, as happens, I stopped being a whinny little girl and accepted that I didn’t write, direct, or produce the show, so I needed to suck it up. And, of course, I learned to appreciate Marcus. As new cast members in the later seasons of the show go, he was a gem. But he was never one of the people I would have called a “breakout McLeod’s star.”

Imagine my surprise, then, when I sat down to watch tv with my father the other day. I generally hate all the shows he likes, so I wasn’t paying that much attention until this handsome guy came on screen. He seemed so familiar. Had I seen him on Grey’s Anatomy? No, that wasn’t it. Had he been in some bad movie I’d watched lately? I didn’t think so.

And then it hit me. Marcus Turner Matt Passmore has his own show on A&E! He’s the lead actor in a new show called The Glades, a cop drama set in Florida. I just couldn’t believe it. Him? Of all those great actors on McLeod’s, he’s the one with his own show in the states?

And then I couldn’t watch. I mean, I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked the show since I don’t particularly like cop dramas, but all I could see was Marcus Turner. And once I made the connection, I couldn’t help but hear his accent peeking through his dialogue- he does a pretty good job hiding it, but he can’t fool me. And it’s just too weird.

While trying not to watch that exact show I saw a commercial for Lipton’s Green Tea with Citrus. And, lo and behold, the girl in the ad is Michelle Langstone, who played Fiona Webb, Alex’s terrible wife. (Apparently, this isn’t the only exposure Michelle has gotten stateside: she was a lead character in Power Rangers: S.P.D. before being in McLeod’s and had a cameo in Power Rangers: Jungle Fury in 2008. Go figure.)

Luke Jacobz as Patrick Brewer

Did I forget to mention that former McLeod’s Daughters actors won back-to-back Dancing With the Stars (Australia)? Bridie Carter won in 2007 and Luck Jacobz won in 2008. What a multi-talented bunch.

I want McLeod’s back. Maybe I’ll go start the series over again… it has been at least 2 months since I watched it last. 😉

Here’s a bit of eye candy to enjoy. I’ll just be over here drooling. (Best advertising sequence EVER.)

The rest of the clips:
Simmone Jade Mackinnon
Dustin Claire
Rachel Carpani
Luke Jacobz
Zoe Naylor
Michelle Langstone


5 thoughts on “A bit of pop culture

  1. I love Mcleod Daughters, especially Nick and Tess. Being from Canada, it has been a challenge keeping up with my favorite MD actors but I have friends in Australia so that helps. Was able to watch The strip with Aaron and now I am watching Rescue special ops which has a lot of Mcleod guest stars (Myles plays the boyfriend of one of the lead characters and has been on four episodes so far, Simone played the younger girlfriend of the dad of the two lead characters for 5 episodes and Becky was one of the ex of one of those guys). We also got the entire 13 episodes of the Double trouble miniseries where Myles plays the dad to three pre-teens. He was pretty good in it. Next on my list is the 2009 series Underbelly which co-starred both Matt Passmore and Myles Pollard, as well as Dustin Clare and Johny Pavloski.

    As for Matt, Marcus might have been not Nick (who was?) but he was one of the only bright spot of the dreary two last seasons and he is even better in The Glades. Jim is a pretty amazing character, Australian accent and all. The show makes me laugh all the time and is pretty smart. I find myself counting the days between each episode as I did with Mcleod the five first years. It’s a great show. My favorite new show.
    As for Rachael, she not only guest-starred in two episodes of The Glades (the second this week), but she just scored herself the lead role in a Lifetime pilot playing a cop. I hope it gets picked up.
    I also missed Myles in Wolverine (my friend said he was 5 seconds on) but I do know he had the lead role in a short movie called Four which won many prizes at various international festivals and is set to produce and write the screenplay for a movie called Drift starring Sam Worthington of Avatar fame, so not too shabby.
    And Aaaron is producing and starring in a one-person play.

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