Once were comedy Warriors

If there’s one thing we admire about the new ABC series The Warriors it’s the makers’ honesty. While various shows market themselves as comedies or comedy-dramas, when they’ve barely two gags in them to rub together, once it started shooting and realised it wasn’t funny, The Warriors quickly re-branded itself as a drama.

ABC Media Release Tuesday, October 11, 2016:

ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria announced today that filming has commenced in Melbourne on The Warriors, a provocative new 8 x 30’ Indigenous comedy drama series.

Created by Tony Briggs (The Sapphires) and Robert Connolly (Paper Planes, Barracuda), The Warriors is set in the world of Australian Rules Football. It explores the elite world of professional sport through the eyes of two new recruits – plucked from obscurity to fame and fortune – and two established players as they are thrown together in a share house in Melbourne.

With temptation at every turn and a lot of football, there’s no guarantee these young men will run through the banner for the first game of the season.

ABC Media Release – Wednesday, November 2, 2016:

New dramas for 2017 include Newton’s Law, The Warriors and Seven Types of Ambiguity, as well as new seasons of the strikingly original Cleverman and Glitch, and the much loved home grown favourites Janet King and The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

The first episode of The Warriors aired last night, and it’s sort of possible to see how they maybe could have kinda thought they were a comedy drama. This isn’t a show featuring complex characters who, for example, engage in psychological warfare with each. There are also no murders, rapes, or even terribly much intrigue.

The characters, such as they are, are exactly what you’d expect to find in a sitcom set at a footy club: the shouty club President, the harassed-but-hardened PR lady, the reckless, fun-loving players, including the one who takes drugs and roots around. And, key to this program, the innocent new recruit, fresh out of an Aboriginal community in Queensland, who’s experiencing life in the big city for the first time. These are characters that with a funny script could be funny. Except the script’s not funny.

So, instead, we have eight episodes of light drama, where the one who takes drugs and roots around will probably get into trouble for taking drugs and rooting around, which will give the harassed-but-hardened PR lady some work to do. And the innocent new recruit will probably learn a few life lessons but mainly just be quite a sweet character.

It’s something for the footy fans, we guess. That scene where they all got lost in the sports museum and started reflecting on how much they loved the game of footy? Aawww.

As for those of us who like comedy, it’s hard not feel diddled out of a new comedy show. Especially in a week where the news in the world of Australian comedy couldn’t have been bleaker.

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