Episode 1: Body and Soul
Premieres Tuesday, September 5 at 9 pm (ET) on PBS (check
While Americans may think of surfing and beach parties as quintessentially Californian, the series' first episode, "Body and Soul," explains just how central the seaside is to Australian life. In fact, sport, fitness, physicality, and physical pleasure have become a metaphor for modern life "down under." But it wasn't always so. Daylight beach bathing was banned in Australia until the turn of the 20th century, and it has only been in the past 50 years that Australians have rebelled against their British Puritan legacy. The struggle continues as contemporary mores bring out the hedonism in some, and a devotion to conservatism and censorship in others.
Episode 2: The Dead Heart
Premieres Tuesday, September 5 at 10 pm (ET) on PBS (check
In "The Dead Heart," the hard memory of European Australia's grim beginnings as a penal colony is revealed as still very close to the surface of national consciousness. Hughes explains the virtually agoraphobic 18th-century Australian experience of wide-open spaces -- and even now, 99% of all Australians live in the country's cities and suburbs. Whereas in America, great space set people free and promised new opportunities, in Australia, space itself functioned as a prison; any attempt to escape into the outback's forbidding terrain was an invitation to hardship, starvation, and death. Over the past 200 years, the urge to conquer the landscape laid the foundation for Australia's nation-building -- and set in motion an inevitable clash with the continent's Aborigines, who were spiritually bonded to its vast lands.
About the Series | Episodes 1 &
2 | Episodes 3 & 4 | Episodes
5 & 6