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Five Mile Creek - The Complete First Season

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // November 8, 2005
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted November 20, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Series

"Stagecoach meets Little House on the Prairie" is how I've read Five Mile Creek described, although up until about a week ago, I'd never even heard of the program. Research indicates that the series ran on The Disney Channel from 1983 to 1985, built up a small yet passionate fanbase, and then fluttered off to obscurity.

But now with DVD becoming so addictively entertaining (not to mention profitable), Five Mile Creek (among with hundreds of other forgotten shows) gets a chance to find some new fans while offering a big dose of nostalgia to those who still remember it. And as far as squeaky-clean family-friendly adventure shows go ... Five Mile Creek is pretty darn cool.

The setting is the unforgiving Australian back country, circa 1860. Our heroes are a group of settlers who aim to run a coach service, despite the proliferation of scumbags, troublemakers, dangerous critters, and natural dangers. Up at the rest stop we have Maggie and Kate, two hard-working ladies struggling to build a business. There's a stern-yet-sweet lawyer guy, a sad-eyed rascal of an orphan, and two of the ruggedest ol' heroic cowpokes ever to ride a stagecoach.

So yeah, Five Mile Creek is a whole lot like "Stagecoach meets Little House on the Prairie," which means it offers a lot of wholesome family goodness that's set in an exotic place and time, and brought home with fine production value and exciting locales. If the characters seem a mite generic and simple, and if most of the episodes feel entirely, predictably familiar, that's not quite enough to spoil the fun. Fans of G-rated western fare should find more than enough in these 13 episodes to keep themselves happy for about 620 minutes.

Disc 1

Making Tracks (11/04/83)
Horses for Courses (11/04/83)
Love Before a Fall (12/07/83)

Disc 2

A Few Surprises (12/21/83)
The Scrub Bulls (01/04/84)
Bang the Big Drum (01/18/84)
Gold Fever (02/01/84)

Disc 3

Annie (02/15/84)
Home and Away (03/07/84)
The Awakening (03/21/84)
The Prize (04/04/84)

Disc 4

Tricks of the Trade (04/18/84)
Thanksgiving (05/02/84)

The DVD

Video: The episodes are presented, rather sloppily, flatly & fuzzily, in their original full screen format. I don't expect any sort of digital restoration on an obscurity like Five Mile Creek, but the show simply doesn't look so hot.

Audio: Dolby Digital Mono, which is suitably tinny and flat.

Extras: Just a bunch of trailers for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Old Yeller, Sky High, Toy Story 2, and "Classic Family"

Final Thoughts

Unlikely that Five Mile Creek will warrant a stampede at the DVD shops, but those who remember the show from its three-season run will be happy to snag this 4-disc set and relive those sweet Aussie memories.

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