Glitch has “a lot more payoff for viewers”

It’s always a dilemma for any Australian series writer: how do you wrap up a season when you are never quite sure if a network will renew you again?

In the case of ABC’s Glitch it was a double dilemma. Do you reveal all the secrets of your undead in Season 1 or keep enough in store for Season 2?

“Sometimes Australian seasons have been criticised for spending all their tickets in the first series and not leaving anywhere to go,” says Rodger Corser.

“You see American series and you see something that seemed fairly inconsequential in Series 1 …then all the pieces fit in Series 2 or even 3. Having those forward arcs, Louise (Fox, writer) has really done that.”

Corser, who plays the mysterious ‘John Doe’ says fans will get more answers this time around, after ABC, together with Netflix, renewed the series.

“This season there is a lot more payoff for viewers. Some things were ambiguous, but it isn’t like Louise didn’t know where she was going. For people who watched it but needed more answers they will definitely get it.”

Corser is also on screen in Nine’s Doctor Doctor as bad-boy-surgeon Hugh Knight (pictured above). But there is contrast in more than just the characters, with Glitch‘s genre lending itself to a different playing style.

“Commercial television writes to a slight cliffhanger for the break, but with an ABC / Netflix audience if people are there then they really want to be there,” he suggests.

“Because of the genre the pace and the timing is more filmic. (On Commercial TV) you get notes to pick up the pace.

“But here the characters are digesting what’s happening. Having said that it is important not to get too slow because you want to shock the audience, or jolt them with some action. What’s great with this series is there are elements of action, so your heart-rate will pick up.”

The first season attracted some buzz on Netflix, with some critics describing it as “a tantalizing series that leaves one wanting more.”

“Maybe they don’t want a cookie-cutter American show”

Corser believes the timing was helpful, with Netflix recommendations bringing it to the attention of viewers who had indulged in others in the same genre, but also buoyed by a growing appetite for foreign drama.

“When you go over for pilot season you see Aussie shows being remade, set in America, with American accents. But I’m wondering if there is a growing audience out there looking for shows that aren’t American. Maybe they don’t want a cookie-cutter American show. Maybe we are benefitting from that as well,” he continues.

“And over there a niche audience is huge!”

This season ‘John Doe’ will uncover more about his past.

“He gets a name. The journey for John Doe this season is that he starts to piece together his past. He was the character the audience –and himself- knew the least about.

“He’s instinctually violent and he’s like (someone) kept in a cage. We see he was a convict of some sort because there was a death mask they find. So he knows he’s done something horrible but he doesn’t know what.

“He starts to question why of all people to bring back, that you would bring back someone like him.

“He has more layers than some of the other characters”

“He has more layers than some of the other characters. It’s not as simple as just remembering his past –without giving too much away.

“And we work out there is a strong connection with Elishia (Genevieve O’Reilly). There is a reason why they’ve been drawn together. Maybe they are the epicentre for why all this has happened…”

Glitch airs 8:30pm Thursdays on ABC and the full season is available on iview.

16 Comments:

  1. I quite like Glitch – no, not in the same league as the haunting Les Revenants but interesting enough to keep me hanging in there.
    I enjoy Rodger in all his roles – very charismatic.

    • I didn’t mind it either (binged it). I thought that the writing was ok and it’s nicely directed and shot.

      Agree with others that the acting is a bit ordinary – there’s Corser and O’Reilly, then Brammall, Booth, and Dennehy, then pretty much everybody else. I found Barclay’s character even more annoying than in S1 and don’t think it’s all down to the way she’s been written.

  2. I think the ideas do appear to be a case of independent development and not copying. The stories are not an original trope. In this case the difference is Les Revenants is very good while Glitch is very mediocre, another monotonal ABC drama. Renewing it was a big mistake as it shed a mass of viewers during Series 1 and the figures for Series 2 are truly woeful. Ratings are of course are not determinate at the ABC and I’m sure the ratings for a writing genius such as Dennis Potter for The Singing Detective weren’t high. But Glitch, Pulse and a very long list of recent ABC dramas are proving of little interest to viewers simply because the stories are uninspiring and the writing is poor. Nobody seems interested in asking any hard questions as to why.

    • Let’s not generalise. Ongoing coverage as to ABC axing its most popular drama Dr Blake (and before that Miss Fisher). I’m not sure if you also saw questions about why it was necessary to have another female led legal drama in Newton’s Law, or whether Cleverman quite realised its ambitions. Some problems with The Warriors genre. Pine Gap and Harrow are hopefully nothing like these, and I enjoyed Seven Types of Adversity. Yet to see The Easybeats. ABC Drama dept has undergone leadership changes in past 18 months and it will take a while to see directional change.

  3. For “others in the same genre” he means Les Revenants. It created a much better mystery, that tied the dead and living together in a small town, in S1 and then wrapped it all up satisfactorily in S2

      • barrington bumbaclaart

        So is she saying Glitch was underway prior to 2004? Don’t believe that for a minute. Actually I don’t even believe it was way underway before the TV version of Les Revenants. Considering that went to air in 2012 and taking into account the fact the French are famous for taking their time producing TV series (the reason given for the three year gap between series 1 and 2), I can imagine series 1 was in development long before Matchbox even considered making Glitch. In my opinion Matchbox have been advised to give the “we had the idea first” line to avoid copyright infringements and to save creative face for copying an already successful premise.

        Re the article, there’s no point holding off on payoffs if you can’t retain viewers. Series 1 Ep1 rated 511000, seven episodes later they’ve lost more than half their viewers. The constant decline in ratings are proof the series has…

          • The U.S. show ‘Elementary’ has recently finished a 24 episode 5th season run. Personally, I like the limited season shows it means you can get the benefit of a fully workshopped series without distracting plot interludes used to stretch an underdeveloped story and make the required number of episodes desired by the shows producers, with the season coming to an end we get the shows cynical final two episode teaser wetting the appetite for the shows future renewal. This system suits American producers who recycle familiar storylines from their dusty filing cabinet without much guilt, it is a business after all.

      • Yomigeri (novel by Shinji Kajio), Yomigeri (film 2002), Les Revenants (film 2004), Les Revenants (2012), Glitch (2015) have all used the same idea of the dead coming back. In Yomigeri and Les Revenants (2004) it is a mass returns that causes competition for resources (space & unskilled work) with the living. Les Revenant (2012) & Glitch are about the return of a limited number of the dead with unresolved issues in an isolated small town. The scripts for Glitch were written after Les Revenants (2012) aired. What Glitch has that’s original is that the dead come back because of a global pharmaceutical company’s research on stem cells and magical whistle (which makes no sense what-so-ever).

  4. Also Roger is totally correct, we do not want the same old American shows and I want original Australian shows and original shows from other countries, not American bad remakes, like Rake. Au Rake is the bomb, the American version sucked.

  5. Because Aussie shows barely make it past 6-8 episodes in my viewing experience.
    If they do get a second season, they do not come back for two years. Then Australia does not allow other countries to view their shows. A very losing way of doing that business.

    • In the old days the ABC, and commercial TV, made 30-40 episodes year and shows ran for a decade or more. Making 6-8 episode seasons with no idea where it will go, and the cast not locked in under contract, was how the BBC operated. Larger episode budgets, drama quota points, government subsidy and tax credit rule and smaller more demanding audience seem to favour that model.

      • Yeah, the limited series model can grate on some people [as exhibited in the post directly above] but — and if I can put my screenwriter’s cap on — it is decidedly easier to confine a story arc to six or eight or ten episodes a year. If you get recommissioned you tell a slightly different story the next series and so forth. If you don’t pick up a second series hopefully you’ve told the whole of your story well enough for people to tell themselves “yes I enjoyed that”.

        If it’s a choice between 6-10 episodes every other year with a decent budget, more time to flesh out scripts and stories [q.v. Vince Gilligan’s recent comments re Australia’s lack of plotting time for series] and a better retinue of guest spots and 13 episodes a year for 7 years, each a shuffling decrease in quality I know which I would pick.

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