If You’re Gonna Binge, You Better Purge

Press release time!

ABC is thrilled to announce, that from September 1st, the entire six-part comedy series, Sammy J and Randy in Ricketts Lane, will be available to binge watch on ABC iview first, before airing on ABC TV later in the year.

With their unique brand of comedy, music and puppetry, Sammy J and Randy have played to sell-out audiences across Australia and overseas.

ABC Head of TV Strategy and Digital Products Rebecca Heap says “ABC is the home of Australian stories, home of Australian comedy and home of Australia’s favourite internet TV service – iview. Sammy J & Randy on iview in September delivers all three and showcases what the ABC does best: connecting all Australian audiences with unique Australian content.”

The award-winning comedy duo says “This is an appalling, undergraduate series that should never have been made. We salute the ABC for giving viewers the opportunity to watch it swiftly and then move on with their lives.”

ABC Head of Comedy Rick Kalowski says “As usual, Sammy J & Randy have no idea what they’re talking about. Sammy J & Randy In Ricketts Lane is a brilliantly original piece of musical comedy joy you’ll want to smash through in one go, then watch all over again. We love it.”

As this is basically the usual pointless hype – “ABC is the home of Australian stories, home of Australian comedy and home of Australia’s favourite internet TV service” wow really you don’t say – we’re only mentioning it for one reason: the “we’re releasing the whole series first on iview!” news.

Those of you with memories not completely scrambled by having watched every episode of Tractor Monkeys will recall that the ABC have previously tried this approach with comedy – and yet oddly, not drama – with Jonah from Tonga. You know – the show that ended Chris Lilley’s career? The show that ended up being one of the ABC’s biggest flops in recent years and that’s pretty big for a network that aired oh wait did we mention Tractor Monkeys already? Sorry, we meant Randling.

With that in mind, you’ll forgive us if we read this less as “oh look, the ABC are moving forcefully into the digital arena to counter Netflix, Stan and the rest” and more as “oh look, the ABC are trying to game the ratings for what they clearly think is going to be a massive dud by releasing it on digital first so they can then claim that of course it rated badly, everyone watched it on digital first.”

So the bit to keep in mind around September is this:

“This is an appalling, undergraduate series that should never have been made. We salute the ABC for giving viewers the opportunity to watch it swiftly and then move on with their lives.”

Especially if viewers take the opportunity to simply not watch it at all.

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5 Comments

  • simbo says:

    Well, the ABC has also recently marathoned “Glitch”, so, no, it isn’t JUST comedy that they’re doing this way.

    But hey, never let a fundamental factual error get in the way of bashing another Australian show before it airs. Honestly, some days you’re Jim Schembri all over again…

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Hey, Simbo – if you can’t tell the difference between putting a whole series on iView while it’s airing on ABC1, and putting a whole series on iView with an ABC1 air date yet to be determined, perhaps you might want to dial back on the S-word.

  • Billy C says:

    It’s a strange strategy if they think it’s a good show but I wouldn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that they’re burning it off.

    The show received screen australia funding under television and multi platform. Along with Glitch. Putting it on iview satisfies the funding criteria. This is why Glitch was put online as well.

    Also the initial broadcaster was supposed to be ABC2. However ABC2 no longer screens original content. The ABC has not announced it, but that’s just the way it is. So we have an ABC2 show that won’t air first on ABC2. So it’s without a home. The ABC1 programmer probably doesn’t want it and may air it at a crappy time. So they need put it out and satisfy their funding. That’s probably this is happening. Is it any good? No idea.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Thanks for the info on the funding requirements – that makes a lot of sense.

    We’d be interested to know where you heard that Ricketts Lane was originally meant for ABC2, as everything we’ve been handed right back to the announcement of production just says “ABC” (which would make sense if ABC2 is no longer commissioning shows).

    Then again, everything announced for 2015 just says ABC on the press release unless it’s for kids. And there’s that Tom Tilley-hosted drugs forum on ABC2 this week so they’re still showing at least some (one-off) original programming.

  • Billy C says:

    From the Screen Australia release: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/news_and_events/2014/mr_140530_approvals.aspx

    The drugs show is an exception yes. Since Tattoo Tales aired in May I’m pretty sure nothing original has aired. Yet the ABC has still not made an announcement about the channel or its future.