Banished (Blu-ray) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Adventure
Distributor: Just Entertainment
Episodes: 7
Duration: 50 min (per episode)

Banished (Blu-ray) – Series Review

Site Score
Good: Interesting, Story, Cast
Bad: No second season, Many unanswered questions
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Australia, once a prison colony of England, now a prospering land with many dangerous creatures, who are food for many nightmares, was once a lush wilderness waiting to be discovered, by the English that is. The natives were not that pleased with the new invaders on their coast, but we all know how the English pretty much took over whatever they wanted to make this hostile environment their own. Once people were banished to this remote ‘island’, now they call it home.


The prison camp on the coast side of Australia is getting ready for more inmates and English force to come, but things aren’t going as smooth as one would expect. Food rations are extremely low, which has everyone on edge, and of course, the soldiers have no effort in showing who’s superior. Add the fact that the soldiers may lay claim on the female prisoners, and you have yourself a very odd, inhumane situations. Nonetheless, Tommy Barrett (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and Elizabeth Quinn (MyAnna Buring), both inmates, are secretly seeing each other, deeply in love. When Elizabeth wakes up screaming, in one of the male prisoner buildings, the soldiers hear the screams causing Elizabeth to flee, hoping to get away from the soldiers. When private Buckley (Adam Nagaitis) is able to capture her, he offers a deal that if he’s allowed to have sex with her, she can go freely. Elizabeth refuses, which not only causes her to get twenty-five lashes, but also if the man who loves her would interfere with the punishment, he would be hanged. Elizabeth is able to ‘convince’ Buckley to bring her and Tommy’s close friend James Freeman (Russel Tovey), who she begs for help to stop him from speaking up at the public punishment.

In the meantime James has his own set of problems when he confronts a bully, the blacksmith Marston (Rory McCann), who tends to steal food from other inmates. After James aids Anne Meredith (Orla Brady), by speaking up to Marston, James becomes his new target, driving him to desperate actions, as he can’t keep going on without any food.


The armed forces on the island tend to ignore the problems of the inmates, but Governor Arthur Phillip (David Wenham) will have his hands full with the set of problems Elizabeth, Tommy, James and Marston present him with, while also having to cut the rations as there will probably not be any extra help soon. All this will have to be done, while keeping the reverend Johnson (Ewen Bremner) and the rather cruel Major Ross (Joseph Millson) satisfied, which proves to be a nearly impossible task.

Overall the series has a rather slow flow, as there is not that much action to be found in the series, but enough drama value, with a lot of suspense tied to it. You’ll see how everyone acts in the most dire conditions, sometimes simply to survive, standing up for their principles or just to show their might. This will result in many conflict situations, many grievous situations and above all, much sadness and pain. Certainly a heavy series, but well worth the dramatic situations.

Acting performances are simply outstanding, which was to be expected with a cast of such proportions. Many will immediately spot actors such as David Wenham, who also played Faramir in The Lord of the Rings, or Ewen Bremner, who starred in many movies, which might not always have been the biggest blockbusters but he always played his roles quite well. MyAnna Buring does a fantastic job in playing the rather boorish Elizabeth Quinn, who you’ll simply have loads of sympathy for. Many Game of Thrones fans will certainly be happy to see Rory McCann play out another ‘bully’ role that suits him quite well.


One honorable mention goes to the fact that Tommy Barrett and James Freeman are both not the common heroes one would expect to see in a show and truth be told, they are often not very likeable. That being said, they do have a certain charisma which will draw you closer to them, making you wonder what will happen to them as this first season of only seven episodes progresses.

There are only two things that made us quite sad, and first of all it’s the fact that there are no extras to be found on this Blu-ray edition. It would have been quite fun to see the environments in which they filmed, or perhaps a bit more background of the series itself. The second saddening issue is the fact that the second season has been cancelled, leaving the series with a rather open ending, which might still be enough for some, but will also raise many questions for other viewers.


Banished’s first and regrettably its last season proves to be a great drama, ‘adventure’ series which offers a lot for only seven episodes. While the ending might be rather open, you’ll be quite intrigued in how this colony came to fruition, in very harsh conditions. The great cast to back everything up proves to be the icing on this very foreign and sandy cake. Worth it if you can handle a lot of hardships.


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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Banished (Blu-ray) - Series Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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