In the ten years since Wildside aired, nothing has really come close to its quality in local production. This includes the two series of the enjoyable but overrated Underbelly, which have brought to life events in the recent criminal history of both Sydney and Melbourne. The miniseries Blue Murder (which also starred Tony Martin, but as someone on the other side of the law) may be the exception.
Wildside is currently being repeated late at night on the ABC. Having not watched the show in quite a while, I'm still impressed by its uncompromising story lines and very human characters. The cast is excellent: Tony Martin as a detective haunted by the disappearance of his son, Rachael Blake (who later hooked up with Martin in real life) as a community worker struggling with alcoholism, and Alex Dimitriades as a young cop whose vice is gambling. Equally good support roles are provided by Aaron Pederson, Jessica Napier, Mary Coustas (yes, Effie herself), and a young Abbie Cornish.
The ABC inexplicably released only the first three episodes on DVD a couple of years ago. The logic of this sort of marketing is beyond me, but I'm guessing it may have something to do with licensing disagreements with the original producers.
A great series which has aged remarkably well. Here's hoping the ABC's DVD department gets its act together.
(According to a moderator on an ABC message board, some sort of further DVD release is due in December 2009)
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