First Review: The Hollowmen.

They’ve done it again.

Working Dog is about to rip down the facade of Canberra just as it did to current affairs in Frontline.

Taking aim at a (generic) Prime Minister for the (generic) government you would assume both sides of politics will be ducking for cover, and chuckling, at the characters and concepts of The Hollowmen.

Working Dog were working on this well before Kevin Rudd was elected. If anything the win by Labor has given this idea more validation. ‘Kevin 07’, ‘Ruddspeak’, ‘working families’ -they would all sit comfortably inside the think thank of this comedy. In fact, it’s hard not to imagine the real think tank now having to throw out all their ideas and lingo -just as current affairs needed to lift its game after Frontline.

It’s equally hard not to think of that forerunner when watching the comic style of Working Dog. This fly-on-the-wall humour owes more to The Games and Absolute Power than it does to the buffonery of Yes Minister’s theatrics. Here the comedy lays between the cracks, mined from semantics, bureaucratic double-dutch, delusions of grandeur and the blind leading the blind.

The first episode sees the team trying to address the problem of obesity. Everybody is all for tackling the problem, but nobody has any idea beyond dreaming up catchy headlines and media bites. As Principal Private Secretary Tony, Sitch casts asides the false bravado of Mike Moore. Tony’s caught up on the buzz word of a “can do” Prime Minister and seemingly lost without a white-board.

Once again we should roll up our sleeves in readiness for an onslaught of contemporary, media-savvy punchlines. Expect to hear gags aimed at the Biggest Loser, Mel and Kochie and talkback radio hosts.

Lachy Hulme as the Senior Political Advisor Murph looks set to become a principal character, ahead of Cilauro’s support role as Head of Market Research. Graeme Blundell has a great cameo as the no-holds-barred Party Director. He swears like a trooper, revealing blue collar roots in contrast to the white collar pen pushers. “Merrick and Rosso’s” Merrick Watts slots perfectly into the team as another Senior Political Advisor.

Working Dog, which also consists of Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy and Michael Hirsh, will surely hit many tall poppies, soft targets and media whores with this new venture.

Poor Mr. Rudd. He hasn’t even had a year in office and they are on the offensive. Very offensive.

The Hollowmen premieres 9:30pm Wednesday on ABC1.


  1. Sensational. The only new show in the last year I’ve had any interest in, and it’s on the ABC (exactly where it belongs I might add). The other networks need to wake up and commission shows of this quality.

  2. Michael Christie

    Enjoyable, gentle satire – no real guffaws and not as savage as ‘Fronttline’ or ‘The Games’. Think Tanks are private organisation not connected to or part of Government, so it’s more like a policy advisory unit or Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that is being satirised.

  3. Ludicrousity

    ‘The Hollowmen’ is such a brilliant new show. Great political commentary done in a hilarious & intelligent way! Rob Sitch’s character is hilarious & infuriating! And Lachy Hulme? What can I say. He’s amazing! I can’t get enough of this show! And it’s terrifying to think how accurate it probably is…

  4. Mmmmmmmmmm… it certainly makes you think….

    Show looks great, and I can’t wait for this gem from Australias finest production talents. Any word on who is actually playing this generic PM yet?

  5. Man, thats great, it has the same feel as frontline and buy the looks of it Merrick is gonna be a gem.
    Where did you get this sneak peak from Dave?
    Great work, thanks, made my day!

  6. Bernadette in Australia

    I must admit for the first time in ages I am seriously looking forward to a new TV show and am planning to watch it as it airs (something I rarely do these days)so it’s nice to read that it may just live up to expectations. Now I have 2 more days of delicious anticipation.

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