Saturday, 11 October 2014

THE COMPLETE SERIES - Frontline (1994 - 1997)

Exploring my DVD collection and my addiction to owning complete sets.  Why I own, and why I recommend the complete series of...

Frontline.  The (Australian) ABC series Frontline (aka Behind the Frontline or Breaking News in the US) was a satirical series about the grubby inner workings of a current affairs show, the tactics used to grab rating and the clash of egos behind the scenes.

The following may contain very mild spoilers, although it tries to avoid doing so.  The "The Ending" section will mention if a show had a resolution or a cliffhanger (but no description of what happens).


1994, 1995 & 1997.

Length:  3 series of 13 episodes each (39 episodes)
Ending:  Soft ending.  No cliffhangers, but open to ongoing series.
Think:  The Newsroom meets Yes Minister.
Creator:  Jane Kennedy, Santo Cilauro, Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner.
Cast:  Rob Sitch, Jane Kennedy, Santo Cilauro, Tiriel Mora & Alison Whyte.

Mike Moore (Rob Sitch) hosts a nightly current affairs show on an unnamed Australian commercial network with reporters Brooke Vandenberg (Jane Kennedy) and Martin Di Stasio (Tiriel Mora) providing news.  Long suffering Line Producer Emma Ward (Alison Whyte) is provides the moral centre for the show, even though no one pays any attention to her, especially not the Executive Producers (each series had a different one).  Moore's only real friend at the station is weatherman Geoffrey Salter (Santo Cilauro).

The Run:  The series was strong throughout, with Series 3 possibly starting to shake things up for no real reason, especially towards the end, but the new EP for Series 3 was a character that stole the show.

Aging:  The series was very relevant when it first showed, with specific events  the media covered (or fictionised versions of them) shown.  This made the show very real and very current.  While some of the events and personality referenced may have faded into history, the core of the stories - the way the media manipulates stories and the audience to get ratings remains true and relevant today.  Foreign viewers - who would not have known many of the references many of the references - anyway would still be able to appreciate the series.

The Ending:  The final episode starts with Mike is think about his legacy and sets out to create one for himself as the show (within a show) goes on.  There is semi-closure, but the fact that the show remains relevant makes one wish they had returned to the show to do irregular specials or a new series every 2 or 3 years.

Watch It If...
  • You feel that the news media today is so horrifying that you just have to laugh at it.
  • You like satire.

All the episodes are available on Youtube, so you don't have to buy it.  But I would, it's worth it.
~ DUG.
Series 1 episode 1 - The Souffle Rises.

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