Considering that Shaun Micallef is basically a one-man comedy factory, it’s at least slightly strange to realise that The Ex-PM – his new sitcom, in which he plays the titular Ex-PM – is only his second ever sitcom. Seriously, the only name that even comes close to Micallef’s output is Working Dog, and there’s five of them.
The big problem in television comedy for a long, long time now has been finding new people. While there’s plenty of places where stand-up comedians can find their way onto our screens, usually in the form of panel shows, if you’re looking for the breeding ground for the next generation of scripted comedy, well, good luck.
Here’s a strange question to be asking: what happened to local sitcoms on the ABC? It’s a strange question because Utopia is currently chugging away at 9pm Wednesdays, and season three of Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me (all 10 episodes worth) is about to start up and will no doubt get the ABC through to the end of the year.
One of the more useful developments in pop culture over the last decade or so – especially if you’re the kind of fan that likes to see how the sausages are made, so to speak – has been the rise of the kinds of social media that you don’t have to be friends with someone to eavesdrop on
In one of the more extreme cases of “better late than never” seen on Australian television, Channel Seven has decided to start showing season two of Hannibal from Monday August 13 (at 10.30pm). Anyone left hanging on after the cliffhanger ending of season one probably got caught up when season two was released on DVD towards the end of last year; hardcore fans are already well into season three – which is currently screening in the US.
When you think back over the best sitcoms of all time, what tends to come to mind: wacky comedy situations or wacky comedy characters? Sadly my mind reading powers aren’t what they used to be, but it’s a fairly safe guess that characters came first.
One of the bigger shifts in Australian television over the last decade or so has been the rise of local drama. History time: it wasn’t all that long ago when “Australian drama” was such a low-rating joke that Channel Nine – the biggest network in the country – was only meeting its required quota of Australian drama [part of the requirement for holding a television licence is a certain number of hours of locally produced drama each year] by running 20 hours or so a year of late night sketch comedy show Comedy Inc.
January isn’t exactly prime time when it comes to new shows on television. The non-ratings period fillers all turned up a month ago: if you’re after something new, you’re either out looking for downloads of UK Christmas specials (pro tip: this year’s Black Mirror special is well worth a look) or trying to tell yourself that sport is something you watch rather than something you do.
It’s a bit early for the networks to start axing shows for 2015, but we already know of one that won’t be coming back: long-running ABC2 daily satire show The Roast has been given the chop, wrapping up at the end of last week. It’s been a good run for The Roast, which first started as a two-minute fake news snippet in 2011, being expanded to a full ten minutes at the start of this year.