On Monday TV Tonight ran stories on new funding approvals from Film Victoria and an upcoming sketch comedy series from Sam Simmons, giving us a preview of the ABC comedy line-up for the next year or so.
The funding approvals story tells us that new series of the children’s comedy Dead Gorgeous and the sitcoms Twentysomething and Laid may be in the pipeline, and that shows called It’s A Date, The Athletes and Small Boy may be coming to the ABC in the future (all will need to secure funding from other sources in order to be made).
In the case of both Twentysomething and Laid, it’s difficult to imagine what return series of these shows would be like – especially with Laid as, well, where can it go from here? At least with Twentysomething you can kind of imagine them getting a series out of either Jess and Josh’s time in London or Jess and Josh’s attempts to adjust to life in Melbourne following their return from London. Laid has wrung its’ premise bone-dry, and it wasn’t all that comedically rich to begin with. Coupled with ratings figured best described as “dismal”, and you’d have to think there’d be some kind of outcry if it were to return. And not just from us.
As for the other shows, we couldn’t find anything online about It’s A Date, but the creative team behind The Athletes were all involved in the recent hit film The Sapphires, and Small Boy is produced by experienced producers Jason Stephens and Stephen Corvini and written by Khoa Do (brother of Anh). We’ll wait to hear more on those before we comment further.
Sam Simmons’ sketch show, a four-part series called Problems, sounds pretty interesting – and we say that as a blog which has been pretty critical of Simmons in the past. According to the press release quoted in the TV Tonight article:
Each episode looks to solve a problem ‐ not a crisis but a problem. A minor annoyance that spirals into a comedic adventure. When viewers get to know Sam they’ll realise that Sam’s world is just like yours and mine with that familiar routine of talking cats, taco‐induced psychosis, lawn chair philosophers.
Further details about the show can be found on Mumbrella:
Kevin Whyte, EP for Problems and MD for Token Group, told Encore: “Each episode will have a story arc from Sam and built around that will be characters and sketches, some in Sam’s ‘world’ and others in a world of their own. It will be set in the suburbs but is not a riff on suburban life, Australia is the suburbs and their cream brick endlessness provide a great backdrop for our odd little world.”
Trent O’Donnell, a key member of production company Jungleboys, who directed Review with Myles Barlow as well as episodes of Laid, is directing the series with the Jungleboys supporting in production.
While Simmons has written much of his own material, Declan Fay is head writer with a team of comedians; Kate McCartney, Nick Maxwell, Rob Hunter, Ray Matsen and Chris Kennett.
Joining Simmons in the cast are comedians Lawrence Mooney, Anthony Morgan, Ronny Chieng, Laura Hughes, Kate McCartney and Nick Maxwell.
All of which makes Problems sounds even better. It’s got a good writing team, a good director, a good cast and, well, even if it doesn’t quite come off it’s just nice to see someone bothering to make a “pure” sketch comedy show. Somewhat surprisingly considering the ever-growing gap between the ABC announcing a show and it going to air (that Josh Thomas sitcom is due when exactly?) apparently it’ll air before this year is out. For once we can honestly say we’re looking forward to it.