By Kitty Turpin
There aren’t many Australian TV shows that rock the world, but when Cleverman aired last Thursday night on the ABC, even its U.S audiences were captivated by this Aussie original.
The six episode mini-series features an Indigenous superhero, or perhaps anti-hero, (Hunter Page-Lochard) with an 80% Indigenous cast. Created by Ryan Griffen, Cleverman is really the first of its kind – a television series with an Indigenous cast that isn’t a comedy or a drama, but a sci-fi fantasy, with elements of the plot taken from Aboriginal storytelling.
In an essay published in “The Guardian”, Griffen speaks about the international acclaim the series has gotten:
“This is so close to my heart. On Cleverman, we worked hard to get Aboriginal people in as many roles as possible, and this shines very brightly on screen. Showing the world all these stories in a modern format is one of the greatest gifts Cleverman has to offer.”
And the first episode did just that!
So what is everyone is going crazy over?
Cleverman is set in an alternative Australia, where a race, the Hairies, are forced to live within an area called The Zone – an area to segregate and contain these beings from humans, who are afraid of their superhuman strength. Less fortunate humans still live within The Zone but are able to travel freely in and out of the area. This is where we meet our hero, Koen, a human man who has managed to escape living in poverty in The Zone by taking advantage of the Hairies.
Cleverman is clearly a comment on Australia’s treatment of its first people, but can also extend to the treatment of those seeking asylum in Australia.
It is a refreshing take on these issues, with a long awaited Indigenous hero at the forefront of its message. The series doesn’t even need to ride on the coat-tails of fame from Game Of Thrones actor Iain Glen.
Don’t miss out on this kick-ass Aussie sci-fi – Episode 2 airs tonight at 9:30PM on ABC.