Something you might not realize about Hulu is that, in addition to their growing slate of original series and films, they’ve also found a niche importing a diverse range of programming from other countries. The latest in the latter vein is the mini-series (or “limited series,” as they call them these days) Safe Harbour, which comes to us from the Land Down Under. Having screened all four episodes of the drama, I can see why Hulu found it fit to bring to an American audience.
Safe Harbour revolves around a group of five friends who find themselves in a dilemma. While on a sailing holiday, they encounter a boat of refugees who are stranded on the open water and are desperate to make it to Australia. After a vote, the group agrees to attempt to tow the boat to safety, but things don’t go as planned. Years later, one of the refugee families and the five Australians cross paths once again, setting off a series escalating events as years-old mysteries are solved and vengeance is served.
I wasn’t exactly expecting to like Safe Harbour when I first sat down to stream it but, within a few minutes of watching the premiere episode, the show really grabbed me. The way it flashes back between that fateful day and the present worked extremely well for heightening the tension and increasing the mystery. Furthermore, the show was rife with twists and reveals, some of which you may predict and others you likely won’t. Watching the program, what it most reminded me of was Secrets and Lies — the ABC anthology series which, incidentally, was based on an Australian mini-series.
At a tight four episodes, Safe Harbour is a pretty easy binge. That said, I will note that the show does drag a bit in the third episode after two gripping initial installments. Luckily the show rebounds in its finale, although I’d be remiss if I didn’t say there are some elements of the show that feel redundant or aspects that are harped on to the point of being eye-roll-worthy — the opposite effect the show is going for, to be sure. Still, I think the overall package comes together nicely.
Part psychological thriller, part mystery, and part family drama, Safe Harbour balances a lot and does so fairly successfully. Beyond the answers you’ll seek as a viewer that are answered within the four-episode arc, the program also raises a few moral questions that you’ll have to settle yourself. This is perhaps the greatest strength of the program and makes it worth a watch in my book.
I give Safe Harbour 3.75 towing ropes out of 5. The show makes its stateside debut on Hulu August 24th.
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV