Something About Blood and Sucking

Press release time!

Fresh Blood’s newest talent comes to ABC COMEDY + iview

The ABC is pleased to announce four exciting new pilots produced as part of series two of Fresh Blood will go to air on ABC COMEDY from November 20.

In addition,all four pilots will be available on ABC iview and ABC COMEDY YouTube from Tuesday 20 November.

Fresh Blood is a ground-breaking ABC and Screen Australia initiative that seeks to uncover the next generation of Australian comedy talent. First launched in 2013, there were hundreds of entries of from all over the country that culminated in the Wham Bam Thankyou Ma’am and Fancy Boy sketch series (both co-produced with NBCU’s Seeso streaming platform (U.S.). Once again in 2017, 20 up-and-coming comedy teams were given $15,000 each to produce a 3×5 minute comedy project. This year, four of those were chosen to produce a half hour comedy pilot, with one or possibly two projects to be commissioned to make a 6-part series.  Those pilots are:

KOALA MAN – ABC COMEDY Tues November 20 at 9.30pm (on iview the same day)     ABC’s first adult animated comedy pilot. By day, Kevin is a divorced dad, stuck in a dull IT job at the local council. By night, clad in a koala mask, he’s a superhero clearing the streets of petty crime. He won’t stop until he’s rid the town of every last loiterer, litterer, and local kid who looks dodgy at the park. Voice Cast/ Creator/ Writer/ Director – Michael Cusack, Producer Mike Cowap. Executive Producers: Paul Walton, Emma Fitzsimons (Princess Pictures);

WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS – ABC COMEDY Tues November 27 at 9.30pm (iview from Nov 20) Best friends Penny and Mia are navigating their 20s in Melbourne. Guided by their own, often deeply misguided modern day moral code they confront complex social issues in an outrage-driven world, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Creators Naomi Higgins, Humyara Mahbub, Mark Samual Bonanno, Producer Sarah Freeman, Directors Jessie Oldfield & Adam Murfet.

THE ANGUS PROJECT – ABC COMEDY Tues December 4 at 9.30pm (on iview from Nov 20) Angus, an aspiring sports journalist with cerebral palsy, employs his hopeless best friend Nina, a failing university student, to be his carer. Together they go on wild adventures and get up to no good in the regional NSW town of Bathurst. Director/Producer/Writer/Cast Nina Oyama, Cast ‘Angus’ Angus Thompson, Producer Bronte Rose Jovevski. Guest cast includes Rob Sitch (Utopia) and Veronica Milsom (Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell), and Sammy J.

BE YOUR OWN BOSS – ABC COMEDY Tues December 11 at 9.30pm (on iview from Nov 20) When the Pearl Regional Council established the “Be Your Own Boss” initiative, they offered small business owners mentorship and free rent within the Pearl Arcade. The various recipients are: husband and wife gym instructor duo Chelle and Jase; mother and son ‘uncaged’ pet shop owners Paula and Angelo; and theatre entrepreneurs Ashleigh and Ashley. Creator/Writers/Performers Cameron James and Becky Lucas, Producer Nikita Agzarian, Director Henry Stone. Guest cast includes Mel Buttle, Greta Lee Jackson.

 ABC Head of Comedy Rick Kalowski said “These four outstanding pilots – as different in style as could be imagined – point to the incredible depth of new comedy talent in Australia. All four creative teams will surely enjoy great comedy careers, and ABC is thrilled to be there at their start”.

Lee Naimo, Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia said: “It’s exciting to see these teams take the next step and deliver four very strong pilot episodes that showcase the breadth of comedic talent in Australia. These projects display diversity, creativity and ambition and I hope this exposure acts as a launching pad to future opportunities in the industry for these talented teams.”

Executive Producer Nick Hayden said “The ABC has a storied history of producing risky, boundary pushing entertainment and comedy content that supports new talent.  These four incredible Fresh Blood pilots continue that excellent tradition.  Added bonus, they’re damn funny too!”

So, do these four pilots “point to the incredible depth of new comedy talent in Australia”? Well, yes – in that they point to the fact that the only thing incredible about the depth of comedy talent in Australia is that no-one’s broken their neck diving into it.

But don’t take our word for it… oh wait, you have to take our word for it, as nobody else watched the original pilots. So here’s our verdict on each:

Koala Man: “It’s easy to see this working as a 30-minute sitcom, so we’re okay with it getting $75,000 to make one”. Thumbs up from us there.

The Angus Project: “This isn’t bad either… it could work”. Sounds pretty positive coming from us.

Why Are You Like This: “None of this is funny”. Oh dear.

Be Your Own Boss: Okay, we don’t seem to have reviewed this one… because it wasn’t actually an entrant in last year’s Fresh Blood program. Hmmm.

We did review True Murder, which was from the same guys and which did screen in the 2017 Fresh Blood program – we said “stick with it, it’s a pretty funny show” – but does it seem a little odd to anyone else that one team seems to have made it through to the next level with a completely different show to the one that previously aired?

Maybe Be Your Own Boss is a brilliantly funny idea – we haven’t seen it, so we don’t know – but we’re pretty sure a lot of the Fresh Blood losing contestants would have said they had another even more brilliantly funny idea they’d like to try if they were given a second chance. Which they weren’t.

And it does undercut the idea of having a pilot season if you can get through with a (hilarious) one-off idea and then say “we think we’d like to make this other show instead”. If it’s just a plain old talent quest – which it clearly is, considering it’s a “Screen Australia initiative that seeks to uncover the next generation of Australian comedy talent” – why bother with all the talk of pilots?

Put plainly, isn’t the point of having a pilot season that people are making pilots of shows that can go to series? If you had a brilliantly funny idea that could only work once, that’s not a pilot – that’s a special.

And special isn’t really a word anyone’s used to describe Fresh Blood.

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