Upcoming Events: Series Mania at ACMI

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Sophie Cadieux, who bears some resemblance to Elisabeth Moss in other stills

Thanks to the Emerging Writers Festival newsletter, I learned that ACMI is hosting Series Mania Melbourne | A Free Festival of New TV this weekend. It started today (Thursday), and ACMI is hosting a series of free screenings for upcoming shows, as well as a keynote talk with Vince Gilligan, which had sold out by the time I’d learned that the festival was even on.

A note about the screenings: You can make some educated guesses (and I have a bunch of press releases and a giant spreadsheet), but it’s not clear. Also before you get too excited, Get Krack!n by Kates McLennan and McCarthy of The Katering Show is also sold out. It will be on ABC later this year.

I’d never heard of Series Mania, but it’s a French festival that aims to be television’s answer to Cannes. It began in Paris, and is moving to Lille next year. Series Mania has been brought to Melbourne by Forum des Images, and is sponsored by ACMI and film Victoria, as reported by Variety. It’s the first time Series Mania has been to another country, and I hope it continues to both expand and return to Melbourne.

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iView Exclusives: When I Get A Minute

One of the best things about the ABC is its embrace of digital platforms, which has led to some great experimentation on how television series are delivered. Last year the whole first season of Glitch was released on iView while a new episode aired on Thursday nights, and they’re doing the same this year with Luke Warm Sex. All of Sammy J and Randy was released on iView a month before it was broadcast on the main channel. In 2016, we’ve already had two iView exclusives DAFUQ and When I Get A Minute, and the second season of The Katering Show is premiering on iView on April 15. I’ve spent my Sunday afternoon watching webseries on iView. I had the brilliant idea of watching them after I locked myself out of the house I’m staying at this morning (it’s a good thing we gained an hour with the end of daylight savings, so I had one I could lose). It’s free data day, so I could download the app and stream as much Media Content as I liked. Except my phone didn’t want to download the app, so the whole idea was bust. So, once I’d finally gotten inside and been to the shops to get milk, I sat down to catch up on When I Get A Minute.

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ABC’s Wednesday Nights are off to a great start for 2016

The tennis is over, and it’s the first week of Australia’s 2016 ratings period. I have at least four reviews that are in draft stage, so this is going to be a short one. Ever since Spicks and Specks (my favourite non-scripted Australian show) first graced our screens in 2005, ABC Wednesday nights have been appointment viewing at my house. Even during the non-ratings period there’s good programming with Would I Lie to You?, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and The Musketeers on in the summer. Now that it’s ratings season, ABC Wednesdays are a highlight.

At 8pm there’s Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery. This isn’t something I watch on a regular basis, but Julia’s trip to Queensland with Kerry O’Brien was the best episode I’ve seen of this show to date. They visited Kerry’s home and his school, where they talked about his childhood and his relationship with Catholicism. Kerry’s family was strongly Catholic; he went to a Christian Brothers’ school, and his brother left home to be a Brother when he was fourteen. I’m not going to tell you any more than that, you should just go and watch it on iView.

At 8:30 is The Weekly with Charlie Pickering. This show is a lot tighter than it was in its first season, and has figured out the best way to use Kitty and Tom. Unfortunately there was no Hard Chat last night, but we did get an extension of his talk with Karl Stefanovic from The Yearly, as well as this:

the weekly

Kitty tried to find out what the deal with vaping is, but it turns out that no one knows, but as long as there are these zingers in True Detective, does it really matter?

Finally at 9pm there’s Black Comedy, which is one of Australia’s best sketch shows about race (the other is Legally Brown on SBS). This is one of my favourite sketches from the first season, which is now available for streaming on Stan.

What’s more, all three shows rated in the Top 20 Free to Air programmes last night.

You can catch up with all of these shows on iView. I’m not going to write about them on a weekly basis, but most likely when I see something I really like.

Note: I haven’t included The Last Leg Down Under for a few reasons. It’s not an ABC production which is a bit of a quibble, but I also haven’t seen it yet because I went to bed early last night. I might write something about it a bit later.

ABC Lineup for 2016

It’s upfronts season on Australian television, and this week we heard from both the ABC and Channel Nine. Of the various upfronts (ABC, SBS, Foxtel, Nine, Seven and Ten), the most exciting are from ABC and SBS. They invest in new talent, a diversity of voices, and they also let their creators take a year off if they want to work on something else. Rake is only filmed when everyone involved is available, and it’s coming back in 2016 along with Upper Middle Bogan, which also took a break this year. Meanwhile, there wasn’t anything in the presentation about Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries or Utopia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything with the ABC. Just as we didn’t have Rake or Upper Middle Bogan last year, these shows might just be taking a year off. And that’s okay! I’d prefer to have quality programming than something that feels rushed and suffers for it. I also didn’t see anything about Please Like Mewhich has been wonderful this year, but that’s a co-production with Pivot in the United States.

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The Ex-PM, Episode 5

Andrew Dugdale: I don’t know about being played by a comedian

The big mystery on this week’s episode of The Ex-PM is of course who the man on the ABC with the grey hair and glasses is. It’s not Tony Jones, it’s some funny guy, who may or may not be Shaun Micallef himself, but then Andrew wants Tony Jones after the Lachy Hulme fiasco. Other options discussed for the two part miniseries based on ‘Drew Dug’ (as Lachy liked to call him) included George Clooney, as well as the one who plays Thor – or his brother.

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Mental As on the ABC

I’ve written a few things about mental illness for this blog (my very poorly articulated review of Inside Out, and my post on great depictions of mental illness in pop culture). I don’t like to go into too much detail about my experiences, but I’ve been dealing with depression and performance anxiety for the past seven years. I’ve never had a particularly serious case of either, but even when you have mild depression it’s still depression, it’s not like it’s the happy version of being depressed or anything. I didn’t enjoy crying myself to sleep every night for a month or making myself sick over my year 12 exams. I have strategies to deal with it now, and that’s great. It’s something that’s really difficult for me to talk about with complete strangers, because that’s not something they really need to know about me, and there’s the stigma attached to it. Despite the prevalence of mental illness in our society, it’s something we don’t talk about very often. For the second year running, the Australian Broadcast Corporation has held a mental health week, complete with documentary programming and interviews, which culminated in the Saturday Night Crack-Up, a variety show hosted by Eddie Perfect.

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Glitch, Series 1 Episode 1

The ABC’s Glitch is the most recent instalment of the “dead people come back but they’re not zombies” show, following on from Les Revenants, its American adaptation, and Resurrection. What seemed like a fantastic idea with Les Revenants could start to seem tired if people keep making their own version of it. I wanted to make sure I saw all of Les Revenants before I watched Glitch, and I only just checked out the first episode today, because I’m busy on Thursday nights. I don’t want to compare these kinds of shows, but it’s impossible not to, because they all have a similar basic premise, even if it’s executed differently. The science fiction element seems to be more important here as well, as something strange has happened to one of the not-zombies already.

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