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Series 1, 2 & 3

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Review by Sean Lynch 

There are very few Australians that have been able to inject a memorable catch phrase into our society. Generally we are stuck with American trash and little else. Call me crazy, but when history comes back to haunt us - I hardly want Australia's greatest achievement to be "A Couple-a' Days". 

Thankfully, the most successful team in recent Australian TV history - Working Dog (The Castle, Thank God You're Here) - left us their legacy with one of the smartest television shows in history, and the unforgettable catch cry "Hello, I'm Mike Moore. Welcome To Frontline".


Based at an (unspecified) commercial network, Frontline goes behind the scenes of the ratings-obsessed world of commercial current affairs. Covering everything from the use of hidden cameras, foot-in-the-door bullying interview techniques and cheque-book journalism, the egos of on air personalities, the dubious practices, and the occasional hypocrisy of a medium that purports to objectively present public affairs. It was relevant in the early 90's, and with the recent spate of "Beaconsfield Miners", "Steve Irwin Dead" and "The Atkins Diet" - Frontline is just as on the ball today than it's ever been.

While strongly satirical, Frontline was never a 'comedy' in the traditional sense, filmed in a style that lent itself towards a documentary realism. That may mean little to a modern day audience who are inundated with "New Comedies" such as Arressted Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office and Kath & Kim - but bear in mind, Frontline was produced over 10 years ago now. Not only did it possess the awkward human comedy which made The Office a worldwide sensation - it also involved some of the most intellectual biting satire ever seen on the small screen. It's a rare case in which the phrase 'ahead of their time' is actually appropriate.

In fairness, many parallels could be made between Frontline and the American classic The Larry Sanders Show - essentially Frontline set with the backdrop of a Tonight Show - but comedy has always been about advancing on other comedians ideas. Something the Working Dog team have done superbly throughout their career.

Each episode stands alone as self contained dramas - but watching them all back to back on DVD - you notice how supremely good the D-Gen were at subtlety unravellings the larger story at hand. Characters evolve, relationships evolve and stories evolve in a brilliant blend of comedy, drama and information.

The cast works well together, becoming more comfortable as on-screen actors with each episode. The pairing of Sitchs' Mike Moore and his hapless friend - Weatherman Geoffrey Salter (Santo Cilaro) - is superb. In fact, the scenes between the two are the only of the show which could be described as out and out funny. It's strange the way satire works - much like watching CNNNN - your brain is so busy concentrating on working out what the joke means, you don't realise at the time of how funny it actually is.

It's a superb show that just gets better with each viewing and amazingly holds up after all these years - and likely to hold up for many years to come (besides the odd reference to "Digital Mobile Phones" and "The Bob Morrison Show"). It's one of those rare programs that you aren't sure why you like it, but after watching it - you just have a sense that you enjoyed yourself. A must have collection for all DVD cases.


Sadly, one thing the Working Dog crew have never much bothered for - besides anything involving Tony Martin (Bad Eggs, The Late Show: Champagne Edition) - is extras. It's a real shame to, but perhaps their aim is for the viewer to concentrate on the work itself, and not the fluff around it.

Conclusion: Movie 95% Extras: N/A

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