In the country town of Yoorana, Victoria, police sergeant James Hayes investigates a disturbance in the town cemetery and finds several people naked and covered in dirt. Soon, James along with Dr. MacKeller realise that they have mysteriously come Back from the Dead and can't remember their lives. Meanwhile, a teenager named Beau meets up with Paddy, another of the resurrected who didn't go with James.
The resurrected people date from various decades, from James's late wife Kate who has been dead for a mere two years, to Paddy who was the first Mayor of Yoorana and died over 150 years ago. And there's the mysterious and violent John Doe who isn't inclined to say much...
Over the course of the series the resurrected regain their memories while James and Dr MacKeller try to keep the resurrected under wraps, which isn't so easy once James' colleague Sergeant Vic Eastly starts poking around.
The ABC had the entire 6-episode first series available on its iView service from day 1, though it expired on the 27th of August 2015. It became available on Netflix in October 2016, and a second season began filming late that year as well, with global release scheduled for 2017. Netflix globally released series 3 on September 25, 2019.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
- Back from the Dead: Kate, Maria, Kirstie, John, Charlie, Paddy, Carlo and Vic.
- Also Sarah and Phil.
- And, in Season 3, Chi, Belle, and James.
- Driven to Suicide: Charlie Thompson came back to Yoorana with advanced tuberculosis and shot himself rather than suffer through the last stages of the disease.
- First-Episode Resurrection: The point which starts the whole series.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Downplayed. Charlie, Paddy and John are puzzled or fascinated by aspects of the modern world but they quickly figure them out and such incidents only last a few seconds on-screen.
- Foreshadowing: The fact that MacKeller is herself involved in the reanimations is foreshadowed in the first few seconds of the first episode, when one realises that the car Beau sees speeding away from the graveyard is her Volvo.
- Gayngst: Charlie, due to the homophobic time he grew up in.
- Last Dance: Charlie Thompson came back to Yoorana with advanced tuberculosis and he spent his remaining time to honour his friends who died in World War I. Once he accomplished task, he shot himself.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Paddy turns out to be Beau's ancestor.
- Memento MacGuffin: The tattered dress that Paddy kept in a lockbox hidden away in his mansion on Corona Hill.
- Morality Pet: Beau is this to Paddy, who softens as the series progresses.
- No Ontological Inertia: Zig-zagged. When Carlo dies after crossing the boundary surrounding Yoorana, he reverts to a decayed corpse which collapses into dust. On the other hand, when Vic kills Maria, her body remains intact.
- Noble Bigot: Paddy expresses disbelief that an "Abo" would ever go to college; at the same time he's not completely dismissive of Beau, and later on we learn his true love was an Aboriginal woman.
- Chi comments that Phil speaks English surprisingly well for a Native. Phil replies that he speaks English better than Chi (a Chinese immigrant).
- My Grandson, Myself:
- While visiting his old haunts at the Royal Hotel, Charlie pretends to be his own great-great-grandnephew.
- Paddy pretends to be one of his own descendants to justify his knowledge of family secrets and his possession of the will. He never specifies the exact relation.
- Resurrection Sickness: The resurrected characters all have some degree of amnesia which takes them a while to get over.
- Sanity Slippage: Eastly begins behaving increasingly erratic following his car crash, starting with ignoring his open head wound, then refusing to sleep, until he ultimately turns homicidal. Only at the end is it revealed that he actually didn't survive the crash and Came Back Wrong.
- Likewise, Sarah and Phil also begin acting strangly. Sarah didn't survive childbirth, and Phil didn't survive the oil rig explosion.
- Sole Survivor:
- Charlie was the only one of the Yoorana volunteers to return alive from World War I.
- The owner of the Royal Hotel is a gay man who lost all his friends in the AIDS epidemic.
- Time Lapse: Several sequences of wilting flowers played backwards are used in the opening title sequence.
- The Wall Around the World: If a resurrected person goes too far from Yoorana, they begin to get sick and start to bleed from their eyes. If they don't get back to town soon, they die (in a rather permanent manner).