Cutting and pasting press releases? It’s like we’re actual television journalists!
Don’t miss two new devilishly funny comedy series UPPER MIDDLE BOGAN and IT’S A DATE starting on Thursday, August 15 on ABC1, starring a raft of Australia’s most talented stars.UPPER MIDDLE BOGAN, 8.30PMFrom the makers of The Librarians and Very Small Business comes this new eight-part comedy series.When an upper middle class woman discovers she is adopted she is shocked to find out she comes from a drag racing family in the outer suburbs.When Bess Denyar (Annie Maynard), a doctor with a posh mother (Robyn Nevin), an architect husband (Patrick Brammall) and twin 13-year-olds, Oscar (Harrison Feldman) and Edwina (Lara Robinson), at a private school, finds out that she is adopted, she is stunned. But even more so when she meets her birth parents – Wayne (Glenn Robbins) and Julie Wheeler (Robyn Malcolm).If that’s not enough to digest, Bess also discovers that she has siblings – Amber (Michala Banas), Kayne (Rhys Mitchell) and Brianna (Madeleine Jevic).The Wheelers head up a drag racing team in the outer suburbs, and are thrilled to discover the daughter they thought they had lost.A Gristmill Production for ABC TV. Executive Producers: Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope and Geoff Porz. ABC TV Executive Producer: Debbie Lee.SNEAK PEEK http://youtu.be/7o5Crp6_0kU** Please do no post vision until 7:30pm AEST (July 16).IT’S A DATE, 9pmIt’s A Dateis a comedy series exploring the trials and tribulations of the world of dating.The eight-part narrative comedy series features an extraordinary mix of Australia’s most respected performers including Gold Logie award-winners Asher Keddie, Kate Ritchie, John Wood and Lisa McCune alongside stars of the stage and screen Stephen Curry, Sibylla Budd, Shane Jacobson, Sophie Lowe, Nadine Garner, Pia Miranda, Peter Helliar, Poh Ling Yeow, Dave Lawson, Lawrence Mooney, Ryan Shelton, Ian Smith, Dan Wyllie, Denise Scott and from the UK, comedy superstar Ross Noble in a rare TV acting role. Alongside these seasoned performers are some of Australia’s best emerging comedy talents including Jess Harris, Ronny Chieng, Kate McLennan, Luke McGregor, Louis Corbett, Eva Lazzaro and Nazeem Hussain.It’s A Date explores the tension, expectation and complication of finding true love. Each episode thematically links two self-contained dates as they bravely head toward desire or disaster.Each new episode features a different cast tackling a different set of situations and addressing a new question each week. Should you have sex on a first date? Does age matter? How accurate are first impressions? How important is honesty on a first date?Series creator and lead writer, Peter Helliar, has assembled some of Australia’s leading comedy writers – Phil Lloyd, Jess Harris, Ryan Shelton, Justin Hamilton, Tony Moclair, Lawrence Mooney, Steven Gates and Kate Langbroek – to share the journey.Produced by Laura Waters and Andrea Denholm. Co-Producer Peter Helliar. Series Producer Paul Walton. Directed by Jonathan Brough and Peter Helliar. ABC TV Executive Producers: Debbie Lee and Brett Sleigh. A Princess Pictures Production in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria.SNEAK PEEK http://youtu.be/pH29H9_ILGs** Please do no post vision until 7:30pm AEST (July 16).
What to make of all that then? Well, the shows themselves currently look a notch above the usual ABC comedy product, in that money seems to have been spent and thought seems to have been applied. Sure, they could fall apart five minutes in and anything containing the words “Peter Helliar” should be approached with extreme caution, but at least they don’t look like the automatic failures we’ve been getting for the last few months… or years…
Putting them on a Thursday night also suggests the ABC is prizing them a little bit higher than the usual panel slop and tossed-off sketches they’ve been pumping out then throwing away on a Wednesday for most of 2013. They seem to have finally figured out that they’ve killed off the once rock-solid Wednesday night comedy audience – well, that or they don’t think these shows can stand up to Offspring over on Ten, which is basically the same thing. And a smart idea too, as both these shows look like they’re going for the same audience that Ten’s been trying to cultivate on Wednesday evenings: the lightweight rom-com / drama crowd.
Of course, when the ABC was running their local dramas on Thursday night various commentators complained that they were throwing away good shows on a bad ratings night: it shall be interesting to see whether anyone gives comedy the same consideration, or whether it’s more that these days we’re expected to just be grateful comedy makes it on air in the first place.
There’s really no reason whatsoever why a polished quality comedy show – no, we’re not talking panel shows, though Dirty Laundry on then would be fun – shouldn’t get the flagship Sunday Night timeslot. But considering the ABC’s long tradition of happily dragging the idea of trying to make people laugh though a puddle we can only hope is full of mud, don’t hold your breath.