Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Let's launch a TV panel show for dramas and their issues

Panel shows are enjoying an unprecedented moment on contemporary free-to-air TV in Australia, when we have such great offerings as The Project from Channel Ten as well as the ABC's The Drum, Q & A, and Gruen. In fact, Q & A has become so dominant in its late-night timeslot that there's invariably a Fairfax write-up the next day. It used to be only if something particularly striking had been said the night before but it's now every Tuesday without fail on the SMH home page.

What I'm thinking of here in this blogpost is to suggest a panel show featuring experts and arty types gathered together to deconstruct the major issues raised by Australian TV drama, be it on commercial TV or on the ABC or SBS. Just imagine a show like Gruen - the panel show dedicated to discussing all things to do with advertising - except all the panel talks about is issues raised in Australian TV dramas.

Take for example, The Beautiful Lie, the ABC vehicle starring the fabulous Sarah Snook that just finished on Sunday night. The show was written with its basis in Tolstoy's great realist novel of the mid-19th century, Anna Karenina. But rather than showing how the Russian gentry lived it showed us a slice of real middle class Australian life. At the end of the final episode Anna suicides. So there's the handle, the main issue of the series. Or, rather, that is one of the issues that the show deals with, because there's also why Anna Ivens decided to take her own life on a train track. In fact there are a lot of issues to talk about.

I think this kind of format show would be very popular. Especially nowadays when you have so many people participating in public discussions of TV dramas through social media. A show like this would give people another opportunity to interrogate the reasons why they liked or hated a particular character, or to talk about how one character did something in a certain way and not in another. There would be so many characters, so many situations and so many angles to discuss I don't know how you'd have enough time to deal with everything.

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