It’s that most wonderful time of the year – a time where the TV networks look to the future and say “more of the same, thanks”. So big props to SBS for actually making a change that makes sense for 2018: they’re filing The Family Law under drama:
The drama slate includes the previously announced Safe Harbour and the third and final season of The Family Law, both from Matchbox Pictures; Dead Lucky from Subtext Pictures; and Grace Beside Me, NITV’s first scripted drama from Magpie Pictures.
But don’t worry, they’re not giving up on comedy just yet:
Homecoming Queens the first scripted commission for SBS On Demand, is a semi-autobiographical ‘sad-com’ from Michelle Law and Chloë Reeson. Law and Liv Hewson play best friends who have to reinvent their lives after suffering chronic illnesses. The online series from Generator Pictures will screen as a 60 minute special and as 7 x 8 minute episodes.
Maybe we spoke too soon.
But you won’t have to wait until 2018 for the real news in Australian comedy, because take a look at this:
New Australian comedy series
Premieres on The Comedy Channel this December
The Slot, a brand new Australian skit series from the makers of cutting-edge comedies We Can Be heroes, John Safran’s Race Relations, Open Slather and Summer Heights High, will premiere exclusively on The Comedy Channel on Thursday December 14 at 8.30pm.
Each week, The Slot will unearth established and emerging creators from the online world and showcase their original and classic viral sketches, which have made them famous around the globe.
The stars of the new ground breaking series, who between them have amassed billions of online views with their captivating, weird and at times absurd style of comedy, include the infamous Bondi Hipsters, the super popular Superwog, the online sensations favoured by talk show host Ellen – Sketchshe, and fan favourites Aunty Donna, Racka Racka, Troy Kinne, Natalie Tran, Skit box and many more.
Series host Christiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters) said: “As someone who had their life turned upside down by the ability to post content online and find an audience, it’s super exciting to see similar avenues opening up in the world of TV. The Slot is an awesome step forward in terms of legitimising the careers of creators, and providing an avenue for our community to reach an audience they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”
Co-host Adele Vuko (Skit box) said: “A lot of the creators on this show have millions of fans around the world and people who queue up to see them live. Yet many of us make little to no money and can barely make rent. This show is a great opportunity for us because now we can eat something better than Maggi noodles which are delicious, but kind of get boring after the 400th night.”
After its primetime Thursday premiere on The Comedy Channel, the Slot will encore on FOX8 on Saturdays at 10.30pm, and will be available to watch from Foxtel’s on demand library, or streamed on demand on Foxtel Now.
The Slot, a 10×30 minute original Foxtel series, is produced by Princess Pictures.
So… it’s like one of those “specials” where a commercial network grabs a bunch of cat videos off YouTube, only here the videos being grabbed are “classic” viral comedy sketches? It’s not exactly a good sign when your press release is made up entirely of promotional quotes from comedians saying “great, we’re finally getting paid for this stuff”.
Look, far be it for us to suggest that a clip show on an Australian pay TV network isn’t as legit as YouTube, but it’s “providing an avenue for our community to reach an audience they otherwise wouldn’t be able to”? So instead of millions of people worldwide, they can now reach thousands of Foxtel subscribers?
That’s not to say that a guide to the funniest stuff on YouTube is a bad idea: there’s so much of it that an expert’s steady hand on the track listing could only be a good thing. But this looks exactly like a collection of stuff that anyone who’s even slightly interested has already seen (finally Superwog makes it to Foxtel after half a decade or more) that’s been slapped together to create some cheap “original” content.
C’mon, four of the acts being “unearthed” have already had their own shows (or at least pilots) on the ABC or Seven; when you’re “favoured by talk show host Ellen”, it’s safe to say Foxtel isn’t a step up.