Set inside the offices of the "Nation Building Authority", a newly created government organization responsible for overseeing major infrastructure projects, Utopia explores that moment when... See full summary »
Anthony 'Lehmo' Lehmann,
A Melbourne family is very happy living where they do, near the Melbourne airport (according to Jane Kennedy, it's "practically their back yard"). However, they are forced to leave their ... See full summary »
The Late show, which only ran for two years was one of the most successful and funny comedy shows ever produced and shown in Australia. It marked the re-grouping of the D-Generation, a ... See full summary »
Thank God You're Here is about well known performers doing a scene which they have no idea what's going on. It may be a Roman dungeon, a boardroom or a tonight show. The only thing you can ... See full summary »
Mike Moore is the well groomed host of Frontline, a current affairs show that presents "the stories behind the stories". Just like any other current affairs programme on commercial television, it has its share of sensationalism, controversy, and cynical manipulation of the truth. All in the pursuit of ratings.
There are good days and bad days for the Frontline team. On a good day there are hard-hitting stories like the gun siege, where Mike becomes an impromptu negotiator speaking to a gun-man's children over the phone. On other occasions, when the show needs to spice things up a bit, there are stories about tabletop dancers or the lesbian netball team.
In an industry without ethics, Mike is an idealist who really cares about the show. But every now and then he needs reassurance, whether it be from the unctuous E.P, the enthusiastic weatherman, the fawning secretary, or the fan mail. (Unknown to Mike the hate mail addressed to him ends up in the shredder before he gets to see it.)
Needless to say, Mike's presentation of the show is all mapped out with precision. Without even watching the stories he can react with a deeply concerned "Mmmm", or put on a fake chuckle at the Friday night funnyman. (Mike has tried to get the funnyman axed on more than one occasion.) Sometimes the production team slip up and let Mike do a studio interview live. On each occasion the result has been a fiasco.
Frontline is an astute look at the unscrupulous manipulation that goes on in the high-pressure world of T.V. journalism. Some of the episodes are based on events from "real" current affairs shows, such as the three unemployed teenagers who turned down jobs at a holiday resort, the feeding frenzy over a grieving widow, or the time when Mike Willisee was drunk on air. The "big villains" who come under the spotlight are usually shonky repairmen, dodgy mechanics, and illiterate kids who don't want to work. The team at Frontline know their stories have to appeal to a vapid blue collar audience, because that's where the ratings come from. As Sam Murphy once said: "Why would anyone with brains or money be sitting round a telly at 6.30 each night?"
There have been many guest celebrities on Frontline, such as Jon English, who was used in a Frontline charity special: the challenge to build a playground for needy kids within 24 hours.
I think Series 3 was the funniest of the lot. We see a lot more of Mike's extravagant lifestyle while the E.P. vainly tries to sell Mike as a man of the people. One of the funniest moments is when Mike goes on "This Is Your Life".
Frontline has got to be the most credible of Australia's current affairs shows. It's the only one I take seriously.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?