Banished is a British television series, which aired on BBC Two. The final episode of season one aired on April 16, 2015. The series of events take place during the eighteenth century and revolves around the establishment of a penal colony in Australia. Suffice to say, British prisoners are shipped to Australia, where they’re forced to live under the rule of the British soldiers and the first governor of New South Wells, Captain Arthur Phillip (David Wenham).
Anyone, who is familiar with British television, will quickly recognize many of the show’s stars including MyAnna Buring, Ewen Bremner, David Dawson, Russell Tovey and Joanna Vanderham. The cast is beyond brilliant and helps to create a sense of realism for the grim setting and story. With this said, yes, the story is very grim and bleak.
The show received some negative criticism, due to its grim nature, which is nonsense. What did people really expect? Survivor, or some silly take on the subject matter. Jimmy McGovern, who is responsible for BBC’s drama, Accused, attempted to deliver a realistic and startling take on the establishment of the Australian penal colony.
Another negative of the show seems to be the lack of Indigenous Australian character, which again, is nonsense. The show repeatedly sets out the reason for the absence of these individuals. If it is carried on to further seasons, it is likely that these characters will have the opportunity to make an impact. Otherwise, watch the show and accept the explanation, which is more than satisfying.
Overall, the show does an excellent job setting the mood and atmosphere. The prisoners are forced to struggle and scheme against the soldiers, as well as their fellow condemned. Each character brings their own dilemma and each is surprisingly easy to sympathize with, even the cruel soldiers, Private Buckley (Adam Nagitis) and Major Robert Ross (Joseph Millson).
The show is filled with mystery, action and romance. In fact, there is a little something for everyone, if you don’t mind the bleakness of the show. Myself, I enjoyed it tremendously. The acting was more than outstanding, with Adam Nagaitis, Ewen Bremner and Russell Tovey leading the way. Of course, I truly adore Joanna Vanderham and David Dawson, who played their roles tremendously well.
BBC is brilliant, when it comes to period dramas and Banished definitely delivers in this category. The struggles and conflicts feel authentic and help to carry the show from one episode to the next. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it tremendously and hope that Banished receives a second season. There is enormous room for growth and so many different possibilities that it would be a shame to end after just one season.
If you enjoy period dramas, you’ll definitely want to check out Banished. The first season of Banished deserves an 8.5 out of 10!