Rosehaven season 5 (ABC) – streaming review

The ABC’s brilliant little gem Rosehaven is now no more. We’ve reviewed it in the (web)pages of The Blurb previously. But with the show now wrapped forever, it seems a fitting time to look back at this memorable work of local production.

What began as “the little show that could” in 2016 has vaulted into the Australian consciousness and made stars of its leads. Creators and stars Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor have achieved something remarkable. Over five seasons, they’ve made a show about a real estate agency in rural Tasmania relevant to millions during some of the most tumultuous years in recent memory. That the show didn’t even mention – let alone highlight – the toxic political climate of those years was both refreshing and (if you think about it) a revolutionary act in itself.

Of course, the show was never really “about” real estate – it was always about connection. The kind of connections we make – and break – with friends, family and community. At that intensely personal level, the show has few equals.  It also managed to blend a European style deadpan humour with a uniquely Australian sensibility in a way that perhaps shouldn’t have worked but always did. I like to think of it as an Australian companion piece to the wonderful Schitt’s Creek, with which it shares some DNA. It’s also part of the ABC’s proud tradition (along with series like Mystery Road) of showcasing parts of Australia sometimes overlooked in TV production.

But none of it would ever have worked without great characters – and the show had plenty of them. The easy-going central dynamic between best friends Emma (Pacquloa) and Daniel (McGregor) drives the show, but they’re in some ways the least colourful of the characters. Luke’s spiky mother and boss Barbara (Kris McQuade) provides plenty of wry humour. The town’s non-confrontational policeman Greg (Kim Knuckey), and very confrontational layabout Phil (Anthony Morgan), make for a yin-yang pairing. Among the other familiar faces gracing the series are Susie Youssef, Sam Cotton, Genevieve Picot and Dustin Clare.

As someone who’s been watching since day 1, I confess I haven’t watched all of season 5 as yet. It’s really a case of just not wanting it to be over, so I’ve been doling it out slowly. Still, with only three episodes to go, I doubt anything is going to happen to change my views on Rosehaven. This is a quiet but monumental achievement in Australian television.

If you haven’t caught Rosehaven, you can stream seasons 1 and 5 on ABC iView; and seasons 1 – 4 on Amazon Prime. So there’s no excuse for not having this almost magical show in your life.

David Edwards

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