Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Why The Hell Was Secret City Just A Mini-Series?

Well I have taken my sweet time in writing this, other TV shows to natter about and many, many articles about Person of Interest, which I am sure the non-fans are sick of. Don't forget, any reader is free to write here whenever they want about whatever TV show they like. So don't be shy, get in touch via the contact box, or Facebook if you'd like to write here.

In any case, let's get to Secret City.

I loved this mini-series. Thank you Foxtel. It is about time we got a gritty, nail-biting drama, that was conceived from an original idea.

Jackie Weaver completely owned her role in this show and I would love to see more of her. This mini-series was well written, had a fabulous cast, and was really entertaining right the way through. This is the kind of entertainment many Aussie viewers want to see more of.  I have to admit to a little bias in the fact that this series was set in the Canberra, where I live. It was terrific watching the location scenes and picking out exactly where they were shooting.

Now I am well aware that political drama has been tried on the networks and I don't see why it shouldn't be looked at as an idea again. Is it not conceivable that we could have an Aussie version of Scandal or House of Cards? These shows have succeeded for years in the US, and the UK, so why not here?

What I am wondering is why shouldn’t this show be picked up as a ten to thirteen episodic political thriller? I am not aware of the free to air networks trying out this kind of show, and the US has done it many times with Scandal, The West Wing, and House of Cards (which was a success in the UK). I really don’t see why this kind of show could not be a success in Australia? As a writer, I have many thoughts rolling around in my brain on how this show could have continued into a second season. Do the TV writers in Australia simply have no imagination or is it the networks who are the issue?

While I do my best to support Australian drama, much of it is not what I want to see. Now I cannot speak for every viewer, but I have to ask why in five years have the ratings of a popular show like “Winners and Losers” dropped by more than half? Why are we barely getting a million viewers watching “Love Child”, when five years ago, “Packed to the Rafters” would get over two million?

Sure, TV is changing, with streaming services and the like. What I wonder is, how will Free to Air TV networks turn a profit in the future? Not everyone wants to watch the Football, Rugby League, the Cricket, the Tennis or the Olympics. And lately, the Friday night football ratings are not even reaching one million.

I would love to see more original, scripted TV shows in Australia on Free to Air TV and Pay TV. And a thriller like Secret City could do very well for Foxtel, or one of the commercial networks. Come on Seven network, get some balls and steal it. If Foxtel don't want it, then it's fair game. Besides it would be your chance to pay them back for stealing that other show you dumped, I don't remember the name, but it was a period drama set in Australia.

In a few years time, when Netflix are able to offer all of their available content globally, how are the Pay TV services and Free to Air networks going to compete? Are they simply waiting until Foxtel lose even more money and then grab all the sporting rights Foxtel now have the rights to and can't really afford. I seriously doubt when this happens that Telstra and Murdoch can bail them out again. Foxtel need to reinvent their brand and offer what Netflix does at a much more reasonable price with better terms and condition.

I don’t have the answer here, but it's clearly obvious to me and many other people who only watch Free to Air TV that things certainly have to change. It's my opinion that original and entertaining home-grown content is what will keep eyes on the TV screen and that Australia really does not have enough of this quality content.

And before I go, just so you know Foxtel, I loved Secret City. It could have been a lot more than a six episode mini-series. I know it's based on a true story, so is the leading role of Olivia Pope in Scandal. Secret City could have become a very popular political thriller.

Finally; for the record, I did not subscribe to Foxtel to see it and I never will. Until you guys over there get a clue and start offering value like Netflix, Stan and Presto do, I and many others will choose these services over Foxtel. It would cost me around $50 just to sign up to watch this series and I would have had to agree to sign up for at least a year, screw that for a joke. I chose to watch it by other means. Anyway, that is a whole other argument.

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Copyright, 2016 Janelle Coulton

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