First Review: Satisfaction

It’s no secret that nearly all of the best TV drama these days happens on Pay-TV.

Whether it’s HBO (The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Oz, Sex and the City), Showtime (Dexter, Weeds, Californication) or Foxtel’s Love My Way in Australia. But while our best is hidden on top tier packaging, it seems you can only see the good stuff if you pay the big bucks.

Such is the case with Satisfaction, another handsomely-shot drama delivered as part of Pay TV’s requirement to meet local content quotas.

Set in a Melbourne brothel, Satisfaction peels back the lingerie, literally and metaphorically, of its leading ladies. How do personalities alter through nakedness? Do we lie to achieve intimacy or reveal our true selves? With a vicious and delicious cast including Diana Glenn, Madeleine West, Peta Sergeant and Alison Whyte these girls certainly live the high life. Forget about life on the street, they’re more concerned about which pair of heels goes with which little black dress.

The result is Sex and the City’s feminine smarts with Californication’s brazen sexuality. Full frontal nudity, mostly female, and celebrated debauchery pours off the screen. Were this on Free to Air religious groups would be spamming their databases once again.

Next week’s amusingly titled story, “Jizz”, features Heather (Peta Sergant) as a lesbian woman performing heterosexual tricks. She acts out fantasies for a businessman (Nicholas Bell) who loves to don nappies and gurgle like a baby. All part of a day’s work at the office, really. Meanwhile her partner Ally is trying to have a baby, but negotiation with a potential sperm donor is wracked with pitfalls.

Sergant, like the rest of the principal cast, is excellent in a role that has more shades of lipstick character than those in commercial soaps.

Sympathetic, glossy characters abound in Satisfaction. These ladies could be your neighbour or the mum picking up the kids in the 4WD. We’ve come certainly a long way from the grim-faced prostitutes in Prisoner!

The design and cinematography are equally sumptuous.

For all its empathy Satisfaction is like dipping your toes into a warm bath and sipping on the best champagne. It skews consciously toward the high end of prostitution to ample success. But like their wealthy clients, you’ll need to be a high-class customer of Foxtel to slip off your shoes first, an irony some programmers may have missed.

Satisfaction airs 8:30pm Wednesdays on Showcase.

13 Comments:

  1. To all of you complaining about purchasing those “Pay Channels” have you ever thought of Netflix??? You get what you want whenever you want. And then all the whining and containing and bad television stops!!

    But! Besides that, I totally am enjoying the show quite a bit. A friend told me about it and I even tried latex outfits due to this show! Haha…. Yeah, well… I got something out of it 🙂

  2. I love it!! I have watched season 1 multiple times and have also watched season 2. I have tried to get as many of my friends as possible to watch it and they too love it.

    Australia has yet to have a series like it. Its great. I love that your next door neighbour could be an escort and you wouldnt know, cos its true. Not all escorts/hookers are dirty, skanky looking druggos.

    Bring on Season 3!!

  3. I agree with you, and the smh reviewer Ruth Ritchie who also called Satisfaction “sanitised soft porn”. Why didn’t they do a series on Meridy Eastman’s best seller, There’s a Bear in There, about her time working as a receptionist in a brothel??? This would have been truly original, funny, enlightening, and would have given some good actors some wonderful roles, instead of this crap. Such a wasted opportunity. What happened to the series being made on Meridy’s book? I read somewhere someone was doing it, and couldn’t wait to see it. Anyone?

  4. I was / am really disappointed with Satisfaction. The script, story lines, and characters are so cliched it’s ridiculous. This is like a really lavishly shot soft porn.

  5. My dear “sophisticated” anonymous – you obviously know zilch about TV drama and my opinion was clearly objective not subjective. The producers here have a battle they cannot ultimately win – they must either try to take the fantasy Pretty Woman approach to prostitution or they try to go real. Commercially neither of these will work in the end, nor the balancing act between the two they are trying to achieve right now. In time you will see that I am right, whether you consider me a “simplistic beanhead” or not. Merry Christmas.

  6. Aren’t you a simplistic beanhead? “A bunch of hookers” still makes them human or are you saying they aren’t because of their profession. I guess you have to be of a certain sophistication to appreciate the show.

  7. The problem at the heart of this series is that to really succeed it must make us relate to, sympathise with and like/love, a bunch of hookers. Good luck with that one.

  8. I watched the first two eps of Satisfaction last night and couldn’t have been more disappointed – Sopranos/Six Feet Under/Sex And The City this AINT! Contrived, badly acted, overly-sanitized, unrealistic schlock that is completely devoid of grit or pathos which, for a ‘drama’ set in a brothel, is not good. It’s like, you could see what they were trying to do but they have mis-fired completely. shame.

  9. I agree with Neon Kitten – and I’ll go one step further. Pay TV needs to offer genuine subscriber choice – the technology is available so that I could personalise what I receive and not be bound to ridiculous packages. Regard it as a “bundled pay per view” package.

  10. Until pay TV in this country can do three things, the best drama on TV will be found on the internet, via BitTorrent.

    1. Provide channels with a LOT of desirable content, not just one or two “banner” shows. Look at HBO or Showtime in the US. Now I’d pay for THAT. But I can’t, because I live in a backwater.

    2. Provide pay TV access to everyone. Right here in the middle of the Melbourne CBD I cannot access pay TV at all, because Telstra chose never to run cable here. So I have no choice, if I want to see Satisfaction, but to “pirate” it.

    3. Provide pay TV at a price that mirrors what it is worth. It has ads. LOTS of ads. So does US pay TV, but that’s CHEAP. And then you pay for premium channels with NO ads. With actual desirable content, at a reasonable price. Sounds fair to me.

    And before anyone thinks I’m speaking from ignorance, I was one of the first Foxtel subscribers and had it for years. I cancalled it, eventually, through total disillusionment and the realisation that I was spending $60+ a month for about two worthwhile shows and 50 channels of reject crap.

  11. I belive foxtel viewers are getting showtime for free for a limited time.

    I caught the show too and quite enjoyed it myself. Love the production values and character driven stories. Look forward to more!

  12. To my shock – while home with the flue today I discovered I actually have access to Showcase, even thou I don’t subscribe to the movies at all – does anyone else have the luxury?
    I just watched the first double episode tonight & was very impressed.
    Yes its about sex workers BUT as I found out – much more than that.
    The show is very character driven – wonderful production & yeah heaps of skin but it isn’t just there for the sake of it its crutual to the story lines.
    Former Neighbours star Madelaine West (yes the same West who got hit by a bus in Sydney LOL) is it in & she looks sensational, in fact all the ladies looked fabulous & some of the guys were HOT too.
    Its about time we saw guys bits on tv & not just the woman – Satisfaction sure has both & will sure create a lot of talk!!
    Well done Foxtel for another quality drama AND more important LOCAL DRAMA!!!

  13. Even without Claudia Karvan, one of the best Aussie….if not all of the programs I have ever watched thoroughly enjoyable from the beginning to the end…..and I even missed my toilet break for it

    Dave

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