Faraway Downs: 8 Must See Shows Like the Australian Drama

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Faraway Downs’ unfolds as an extended miniseries adaptation of his 2008 epic film ‘Australia,’ incorporating unused footage and reworked scenes to enrich the narrative. Set in 1939, the plot follows Lady Sarah Ashley, an English aristocrat who travels to Australia to inform her husband of her decision to sell his cattle ranch. Upon arrival, she discovers her husband’s demise and assumes the responsibility of managing the cattle farm.

The storyline takes an unexpected turn as Lady Sarah Ashley develops a romantic connection with the drover and forms a profound bond with Nullah, a half-aboriginal boy residing on the property. Together, they embark on a journey, weaving a tale of love, resilience, and the unorthodox creation of a new home at the brink of an upcoming world war. If this sounds interesting to you, here are more movies similar to Faraway Downs you must see. 

8. Harlots (2017-2019)

‘Harlots’ is a period drama set in 18th-century London that explores the lives of women in the sex trade, highlighting their individual stories, challenges, and relationships. The show focuses on the conflict between two rival brothel owners Margaret Wells and Lydia Quigley. With strong performances and intricate character development, ‘Harlots’ received acclaim for its portrayal of historically marginalized women in the 18th-century sex industry.

The series stars Samantha Morton, Leslie Manville, and Jessica Brown Findlay in key roles. Much like ‘Faraway Downs’, the show centers around strong-willed female figures, who, when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, are unwilling to relinquish their agency and decide to stand firm against the tide instead.

7. Frontier (2016-2018)

‘Frontier,’ a Netflix series starring Jason Momoa and Zoe Boyle, unfolds a gritty saga of the 18th-century fur trade in the vast Canadian wilderness. Momoa’s Declan Harp, a brooding outlaw with a thirst for vengeance, clashes with Boyle’s strategic brilliance, sparking a volatile narrative of power struggles and survival. In this untamed frontier, where alliances shift like shadows, they navigate a treacherous world, creating an epic tale painted with the hues of ambition, betrayal, and the rugged beauty of a landscape as unpredictable as the hearts that roam it.

Created by Peter Blackie and Rob Blackie, who are widely known for their work on the crime drama series ‘Republic of Doyle’. Although ‘Frontier’ is set a few decades before ‘Faraway Downs’, it manages to capture and highlight the nuances of the British aristocracy in the 1700s, giving fans of the former much to enjoy.

6. The Spanish Princess (2019-2020)

‘The Spanish Princess’ is a historical drama television series that premiered in 2019. Adapted from novels by Philippa Gregory, it tells the story of Catherine of Aragon, the Spanish princess who became Queen of England. The series explores her early life, her marriage to Prince Arthur, and her subsequent union with his brother, Henry VIII. Charlotte Hope portrays Catherine, while Angus Imrie plays Prince Arthur.

Created by Emma Frost and Matthew Graham, the show delves into political intrigue, romance, and the challenges faced by Catherine as she navigates the complex Tudor court. Key cast members include Laura Carmichael, Ruairi O’Connor, and Harriet Walter. Both shows, ‘Faraway Downs and ‘The Spanish Princess’, are period dramas that revolve around strong female characters who defy expectations to overcome adversity and feature common themes of power, politics, love, and betrayal.

5. Call the Midwife (2012-)

‘Call the Midwife’ is a BBC drama series based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. Set in the late 1950s and 1960s, it follows a group of nurse midwives as they work in London’s East End, dealing with the challenges of poverty and healthcare. The main cast includes Jenny Agutter, Linda Bassett, Judy Parfitt, Helen George, and others. Created by Heidi Thomas, the show weaves poignant stories of childbirth, community, and social issues, capturing the evolving landscape of midwifery and women’s health during a transformative period in British history.

‘Call the Midwife’ has been praised for its historical accuracy and emotional depth. The show, in a similar vein to ‘Faraway Downs’, deals with themes such as community and family while managing to highlight heart-warming stories that emanate a sense of hope, optimism, and resilience, despite the hardships faced by the characters.

4. The Forsyte Saga (2002-2003)

‘The Forsyte Saga’ is a British television series based on John Galsworthy’s novels. Airing in 2002, it explores the lives of the wealthy Forsyte family over three generations. The main cast includes Damian Lewis as Soames Forsyte, Gina McKee as Irene Forsyte, and Rupert Graves as Young Jolyon Forsyte. The saga explores love, societal expectations, and the consequences of passion within the conservative Forsyte world in early 20th-century England.

Directed by Christopher Menaul and David Moore and received critical acclaim for its engaging storytelling and strong performances. ‘The Forsyte Saga’ brings to the fore the complexities in relationships within a family, particularly those that are wealthy, as they try to maintain their status and power in a changing world. Similar to ‘Faraway Downs’, the show also explores the nature of social hierarchies of its time through the Forsytes as they persevere to rise above their working-class origins.

3. Upstairs Downstairs (2010-2012)

‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ is a British television drama that originally aired from 1971 to 1975. The show depicts the lives of the wealthy Bellamy family living “upstairs” and their servants “downstairs” in a London townhouse during the early 20th century. The show was created by Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins and stars Gordon Jackson, Jean Marsh, David Langton, and Rachel Gurney as its main cast.

The series explores the complexities of the class system, societal changes, and historical events impacting both the upper and lower classes in Edwardian England. Both ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and ‘Faraway Downs’ offer captivating portrayals of life in a bygone era, examining the relationships, challenges, and triumphs of the privileged and the underprivileged and of those who cross class lines for the sake of love.

2. Foyle’s War (2002-2015)

‘Foyle’s War’ is a masterfully crafted British detective drama created by Anthony Horowitz. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the series follows the sagacious and unflappable Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen), as he navigates the complexities of crime on the home front. With quiet resolve, Foyle, assisted by Samantha Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks), and Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), tackles cases revealing the shadows lurking in wartime England.

The show’s beauty lies not only in its riveting mysteries but also in its poignant portrayal of morality, justice, and the indomitable spirit that endured amidst the tumult of war. ‘Foyle’s War’ and ‘Faraway Downs’ both feature strong central characters, Christopher Foyle and Lady Sarah Ashley, while exploring complex themes such as family, morality, and resilience.

1. Home Fires (2015-2016)

‘Home Fires’ is a poignant British drama, a testament to resilience amid wartime trials. The show was created by Simon Block and unfolds in a rural English village during World War II, exploring the lives of women facing an upheaval as their men go to battle. Francesca Annis leads the cast as Joyce Cameron, joined by Samantha Bond as Frances Barden. Together, they navigate friendship, sacrifice, and solidarity in a community tested by both the perils of war and societal shifts.

Amidst the shadows of conflict, ‘Home Fires’ paints a luminous portrait of strength and unity, echoing the untold stories of those who held the home front together. This is quite similar to ‘Faraway Downs’ in which we see Lady Sarah Ashley recognize the importance of bringing people together, fostering cooperation, and harnessing the collective strength of the community.

Read More: Faraway Downs: Was the TV Show Filmed in Australia?