So, we all know there’s been a small but ever-expanding chorus of people calling for Ten’s new, controversial program Can of Worms to be broadcast live.
I happen to be one of them, and think that not only would this make for a more edge-of-your seat viewing experience, but would also alleviate the need to make such jarring edits (in order to adjust the show to run the appropriate time).
And today, I got a mini-taste of what this would look like when Ten released this segmentyoutu.be/ffdB6hDIOQk featuring the Wrong-O-Meter which didn’t make the cut.
Take a look at it, and tell me that the show wouldn’t be made instantly better if it was all more like this. You might notice a couple of things; you actually see guests thinking about their responses (making it seem less constrictive and more organic), Dicko actually gets out of his seat and- gasp- speaks without the aid of an autocue. And yes, though pauses and stumbles over his words a bit, it seems instantly more natural and engaging.
So Ten, just bite the bullet and make it live! But what do I know…
It’s easy to see why Offspring isn’t pulling huge numbers.
Not bad numbers, by any stretch, as anything which can consistently pull figures around the 1m mark is valuable to any network.
And this dramatic shift has only been validated by its recent third season renewal after its first five episodes have scored 927,000, 760,000 (in a later timeslot), 905,000 and 953,000 and 954,000, 982,000 and 995,000 respectively.
However, while these seem to be decent numbers, they pale in comparison to the ratings juggernaut that is Packed to the Rafters (its last six episodes rated 1.943, 1.815, 1.796, 1.748, 1.806, 1.709 million repsectively)- a show waiting to burst back on to the scene in the second half of the year.
Offspring in many ways deserves to be up there with Packed to the Rafters, however many still regard it as a “chick show”, possibly because of its female lead, as well as its flowery title font, as well as the underlying motifs of pregancy, relationships and commitment… who knows. But the fact is, it’s anything but a Sex and the City clone, for want of a better example, and it deserves much more praise than it gets.
But possibly the reason for that is, is that it has suffered from a particularly average first season. Let me refresh your memory;
The first episode of the first season opened to Asher Keddie swimming in a pool, an actress that would have been known for her work on acclaimed Australian drama Love My Way, but possibly better known for her more recent work on the second series of Underbelly, given its run on Free to Air rather than Pay TV.
However, many remarked on the striking similarities between the pool shot and The Secret Life of Us’ frequent activity around similar places.
Then came the inner monologue voice over while Keddie was swimming.
Then came the clumsy bump into the wall at the end of the pool lane.
So that presumably was to tell viewers everything they needed to know about Nina’s personality; words like “awkward”, “clumsy”, “obsessive” and “frazzled” were meant to spring to mind.
And that was just her personality- from then on it wasn’t that hard to guess how the rest of her life was structured.
Hectic yet rewarding job? Check – she’s an obstetrician.
Sibling who is the polar opposite? Check – her sister Billie is seen tearing the clothes off a gardner (this was also used in the promo) soon after we meet her.
Other siblings to add some spice? Check – meet unemployed brother Jimmy.
Separated parents symbolising her fractured personality? Check.
And then there was the work situation, which has also been fused with her love-life and friendships.
There were the somewhat flirty somewhat bitchy somewhat playful nurses.
And then there was the love interest, played by Don Hany, a character which seemed would haunt every one of Nina’s dreams for the entire series.
And it did to some extent, with the “will-they won’t-they” dynamic being well established from the first episode.
There was also a parallel relationship established with her sister Billie and Mick, with a similar dynamic.
Yes, it was one of “those” shows- leaving gender out of it, it was one of those “Oh, isn’t life hard in this day and age? You know, trying to balance our jobs with our personal life, etc. etc.”
But this is not to say that it was a bad show. It was a perfectly fine, even a good Australian drama.
And it burst on to the scene as a fresh new Australian drama with a focus that wasn’t directly on a family, nor was it on a bunch of cops, nor a bunch of crooks, or people “rescuing” other people.
But it just couldn’t match the ease with which Packed to the Rafters churned out breezy, yet addictive storytelling. However, it was still head and shoulders above the likes of Rescue: Special Ops, Sea Patrol and even Rush.
So what did Packed to the Rafters have that Offspring didn’t?