It often feels like the programmers at the ABC aren’t all that good at keeping track of what shows they’ve got coming up over the course of a year. How else to explain the seemingly-traditional last minute comedy glut, where after months and months of one or two local comedies per week at most, suddenly there’s a flood of them just as the year comes to an end? Are they trying to trick us into thinking “oh yeah, the ABC really does make a lot of local comedies” by making sure their lead-up to Christmas features almost half their entire run for the whole year?
Anyway, the point is that after months of putting scripted comedy to air in dribs and drabs, suddenly next week they’re giving us three new series all at once. First up is Rosehaven season two, starting Wednesday 25 October at 9:05pm. According to the blurb, “Daniel (Luke McGregor) and Emma (Celia Pacquola) are back in a second season of their hit, award-winning Rosehaven. They’re housemates and workmates again and finally both feel like they belong. The question now is whether Rosehaven agrees. Also stars Kris McQuade, Katie Robertson, David Quirk and Sam Cotton. Sundance TV (USA) now co-presents the show with ABC TV, bringing this quintessentially Aussie comedy to the rest of the world.”
That’s followed by The Letdown, which starts Wednesday 25 October at 9.35pm: “The Letdown is the story of Audrey (Alison Bell), a struggling new mum, and the parents group she thinks she doesn’t need. The series proves that being a parent can be both extreme and hilarious. Directed by Trent O’Donnell the show also stars Noni Hazlehurst, Duncan Fellows, Sacha Horler, Leon Ford, Lucy Durack, Celeste Barber, Leah Vandenberg, Xana Tang and Sarah Peirse. Netflix will stream the series globally outside Australia and it will be available on Netflix in Australia after its run on the ABC.”
And just to show how over-stuffed the ABC’s last-minute comedy line-up is, they’re having to put comedies on during the usually comedy-unfriendly night of Thursdays, with The Ex-PM season two starting Thursday 26 October at 8.30pm: “Comedy is back on Thursday nights with the return of the hit series The Ex-PM. Retired, third longest serving caretaker Australian Prime Minister, Andrew Dugdale (Shaun Micallef) is called back into the political fold to run in a sudden, ‘must win’ by-election. Also stars Nicki Wendt, Kate Jenkinson, Francis Greenslade, Nicholas Bell, Lucy Honigman, Ming-Zhu Hii, Jackson Tozer and the late, great John Clarke in his final television appearance.”
Careful readers might have spotted a clue as to why at least two out of the three series are being aired now: they’re co-productions with US networks, and roughly around now is one of the periods when US networks debut new series. Presumably the air dates here are timed to work with the overseas releases, which is either perfectly reasonable or another way that our television industry increasingly danced to the tune of overseas interests. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when CBS officially takes over Channel Ten and whether that’ll result in us getting shows at different times – or, considering Fox has now pulled their series from Ten (including the Simpsons) entirely – not getting some shows at all.
By Anthony Morris
Image sourced via Screen Australia