TV The next great aussie drama?

Glebehawk

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Thread starter #1
If you could write/produce/suggest the topic for the next great aussie drama what would it be??

I work in the TV industry and am constantly appalled by the lack of imagination and willingness from the commercial networks to try something new.

So without giving away storylines or fleshing out full outlines (my purpose is not to steal your ideas)
what kinds of things to people want to see??

More comedy?
More HBO like quality drama on an Aussie scale? (pipe dream i know)

It seems to me that our usual downfall is in the writing...yet when it comes to authors/novelists we produce some great talent.
Markus Zusak, Peter Carey, Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, to name a few.

Why does this rarely translate on the small screen?

Anyway just a few thoughts and frustrations I thought I'd share.
Believe me there are plenty of talented people in Aus TV industry...they just barely get a look in.
 

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Dont be a lemon

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#2
HBO-like is a pipe dream sadly but more stuff that takes itself seriously (like East West 101) would be nice.

Seven, Nine and Ten's 'dramas' are all light/mildy comedic stuff based around a family and/or country town or they're just generic and bland as **** crime shows.
 

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#3
More HBO like quality drama on an Aussie scale? (pipe dream i know)

Why does this rarely translate on the small screen?
We've got 3 commercial channels (plus the other Foxtel competitors that they've created) who are incredibly ruthless when it comes to ratings (ie. dollars).

Todays Australian audiences are addicted to procedural TV shows, like CSI and the like. We seemingly need not to want to have to watch a TV series week in week out anymore. CSI has evolving story arcs that are so slow as to make the Bold and the Beautiful writers blush.

Of the HBO shows, if the Wire and Deadwood can't make it here, then how can ours? Even the Sopranos was a 10.30 / 11 scenario, and Oz had to go on SBS.

The days of Prisoner are long behind us, and the only way the networks can make ratings winners that people tune in weekly for, is to have Underbelly type shit that is a known story and has ample T&A and violence to cover for the painfully slow pace.

In a nutshell, it's the chase for the almighty dollar and the public's penchant for popcorn TV that makes them unfeasible. There's no physical reason we can't make a modern day (read: uncheesy) Prisoner type show, it's just it needs to rate its tits off week one or two, or it'll be canned. And it'd no doubt be a huge start up cost. So it's canned before it can even start.
 

djrossie

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#4
Tangle is the only Aussie show I have watched over the last couple of years. It is exclusive to Foxtel channel Showcase. I really like it.

They have been advertising the adaptation of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet a lot lately on Foxtel so it seems we'll be seeing that soon on Showcase as well.
 
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Recentley treated myself to the boxset of ABC's Wildside...hopefully many on here will remember it, otherwise its kind of a forerunner to stuff like East/West 101.

At times an absolutely amazing show.

They cranked out 60 episdes in two years, so its proof that we have it in us. When I watch stuff like Wildside, and Blue Murder....it infuriates me to see garbage like Underbelly being critically acclaimed and lapped up by the outer suburban new age bogan masses.
 

Glebehawk

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Thread starter #7
Hey Figjam,

you make some good points...the 3 channels are more ruthless than even when it comes to ratings... more channels out there now, so less share...not to mention downloads and other non TV related activities.

Ratings go down every year across the board - been happening for the last 6 or 7 years for sure.

CSI you might be surprised...does pretty poor numbers these days.
In fact most crime procedurals are on their way out. Bones and to a lesser extent NCIS are the only real winners of this genre.

Top Shows at the moment are Packed to the Rafters... by a country mile.
Masterchef - when it comes back.
MKR - killing it at the moment.
and News.
 

Glebehawk

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Cloudstreet should be an interesting one. It's definitely being made by Screentime...pretty sure it will have some of the writers of Underbelly on it.
Just without the pressures of Nine breathing on them.
 

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#9
Few years ago now, but im still surprised Always Greener was axed. Have been watching reruns of it on Foxtel and I think its a pretty well written, quirky comedic drama. The second series was left on a cliffhanger as well, would love to know what was going to happen next. Much prefer it to PttR.
 
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Few years ago now, but im still surprised Always Greener was axed. Have been watching reruns of it on Foxtel and I think its a pretty well written, quirky comedic drama. The second series was left on a cliffhanger as well, would love to know what was going to happen next. Much prefer it to PttR.
Compare either of those two to Love My Way, and they may as well be Home and Away.

The first and second seasons of that show are about the greatest Australian television drama to have ever been produced for mind. Much like comparing Wildside to Underbelly, its infuriating to think how many more people have seen the vastly inferior product.

It would be interesting to see how much HBO budgeted The Wire per episode. Im willing to bet it would be less than an episode of Underbelly.
 

Coledinho

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#11
Love my Way and Spirited have been the best Aussie shows ever produced. Unfortunately people are just too ignorant to find these shows and watch them.

Spirited is currently running. Season 1 was last year and it was the most brilliant acting you will see on TV.
 

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#12
Recentley treated myself to the boxset of ABC's Wildside...hopefully many on here will remember it, otherwise its kind of a forerunner to stuff like East/West 101.

At times an absolutely amazing show.

They cranked out 60 episdes in two years, so its proof that we have it in us. When I watch stuff like Wildside, and Blue Murder....it infuriates me to see garbage like Underbelly being critically acclaimed and lapped up by the outer suburban new age bogan masses.
I worked on Wildside and Underbelly ( was meant to work on Blue Murder but timing was wrong). Wildside was ok, although Dimitriades is a rude, talentless pig and Tony Martin has tickets on himself. The competition between these actors often let the scenes and the show run out of control. I only took the job on Underbelly because i needed the money, it is unadalterated garbage and it makes me feel unclean having worked on it. Blue murder was a fantastic show, easily the best of this lot.
Australian T.V. has been taken over by the rationalists, the blanders and the marketers. it is in a terrible state and it is hard to see anything changing. I mean 'Packed to the Rafters', how f****** embarrassing is that shit.
 

tonk

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#13
Compare either of those two to Love My Way, and they may as well be Home and Away.

The first and second seasons of that show are about the greatest Australian television drama to have ever been produced for mind. Much like comparing Wildside to Underbelly, its infuriating to think how many more people have seen the vastly inferior product.

It would be interesting to see how much HBO budgeted The Wire per episode. Im willing to bet it would be less than an episode of Underbelly.
I can't find any figures for budget on 'The Wire', it is hard to compare the two shows as there was 60 episodes of the Wire and a mish mash of short form series and telemovies for underbelly. however the Wire was shot on 35mm which is infinitely more expensive than high def video. Also the Wire would have been fully unionised, thats actors, writers, directors everybody. It seems they had a large team of writers, over ten producers etc. etc. etc. It is frankly hard to believe that Underbelly would cost anything like the Wire.
 
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#14
The nature of television has changed as seen by the amount of quality tv coming out of the US the last few years. With tv on dvd and the internet, people are watching episodes in bulk and are rewarded by good shows unfolding chapter by chapter, novel style (hence why the next wave of TV shows seem to be novel adaptations) and being invested in characters. I wish a show would have an overall arc plotted out and work towards that (such as Breaking Bad perhaps) rather than change for ratings. I would rather a quality show be cut early for good ratings than compromise, and often these shows take on a cult following later on.

No cop or medical episodal dramas. And if its going to be a drama, make it real - not fluff like Rafters or just getting ratings with drugs and sex ala Underbelly.

Me personally, I would love to see an unflinching look at Australia in the 1800s - the frontier outback and resentment against the English leading towards the Eureka Stockade. Think John Adams meets The Proposition.

Also, the stations need to accept there is an online television community and release the episodes simultaneously online and leave them for stream/download on the site. Such as ABC has done.
 

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#15
I've seen a grand total of maybe 2 hours between all of the underbellies. Absolute garbage, can't watch any of them for more than 5 or 10 minutes.

Australia will never have anything even remotely as good as the shittest show on HBO or the other quality US cable channels. If you brought together all of our best talent for every aspect of a show and offered them unlimited money to make just one hour of TV as good as the wire/sopranos/breaking bad or even sons of anarchy, they wouldn't be able to do it. It's a culture thing.
 

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#16
As sad as it sounds, but given the rise of the crime genre and making old shows new I would speculate the next big Australian drama would probably be emulating Prisoner. It was before my time admittingly however it was still successful. One of the best televisions series I have seen was Oz, a nice little diamond on SBS.

Now is it what I want to see? Well I can see it appealing to audiences instead of another army, crime force or court series and can bring in characters people can relate to. Mind you this was just a quick brainstorm in my head on what was successful and could work again.

It might not be the new thing you are looking for, but it has commercial value and can be original.
 
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I've seen a grand total of maybe 2 hours between all of the underbellies. Absolute garbage, can't watch any of them for more than 5 or 10 minutes.

Australia will never have anything even remotely as good as the shittest show on HBO or the other quality US cable channels. If you brought together all of our best talent for every aspect of a show and offered them unlimited money to make just one hour of TV as good as the wire/sopranos/breaking bad or even sons of anarchy, they wouldn't be able to do it. It's a culture thing.
Performance wise, script wise, direction wise...Love My Way was on a par with stuff on HBO IMO.
 
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#19
Me personally, I would love to see an unflinching look at Australia in the 1800s - the frontier outback and resentment against the English leading towards the Eureka Stockade.
We will never see something like that on commercial television in this country. Might of in the 70s and 80s in the era of Kennedy-Miller etc etc, but in this era of wholesome, bland, 'aspirational' tripe like Rafters...no way.

Commercial TV in this country circa 2011, is 100% aimed at your WASPY, Ma and Pa Outer suburban middle class 'battler, sitting in there McMansion in front of there Harvey Norman 1000 inch Plasma, watching cooking shows, tabloid exposes on hormones in beef and dole bludgers, waiting for the next cop show that features two or more cast members from Underbelly.

http://www.mediaspy.org/report/2011/02/07/rebecca-gibney-developing-drama-for-seven/

See above for proof.

It makes me sick.

Im sure we still have it in us, unfortunately the men in suits and bean counters have taken control....cant see a time where that changes unfortunately.
 

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#22
I would like to ban the ratings system. As for ideas I would like to see a tv series about colonial life in tasmania. The Wire set in the 1800's type of thing.
 

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#23
The best thing we have had made in Australia is We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High.

Brilliant mixture of comedy and some quite poignant moments.

TV is now much MUCH better than movies, 10 years ago it was different. This is mostly due to HBO.
 

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#24
Cloudstreet should be an interesting one. It's definitely being made by Screentime...pretty sure it will have some of the writers of Underbelly on it.
Just without the pressures of Nine breathing on them.
DO NOT WANT!

I can imagine the focus will be on the sex and profanity minus the subtleties that made Cloudstreet an Australian classic
 

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