The Strip

The Gold Coast is a picture perfect setting for a crime franchise. There is plenty of potential to be mined from its sun-drenched, holiday backdrop of beaches, hotels, resorts, skyscrapers, amusement parks and casino. It’s Miami in Oz.

Visually, The Strip is CSI: Miami in Oz (without the CSI). It is glamorously photographed with lots of sumptuous montages of sparkling surf, aerial shots and golden sands. It’s a postcard enough to tempt any viewer for an hour.

But all the golden-hue filters in the world can’t disguise obvious dialogue, dull plotting, unlikable characters and a decided lack of energy.

The first episode of The Strip kicks off with the death of a window washer, which eventually leads to murkier illegal activity. Jack Cross (Aaron Jeffrey) and Frances Tully (Vanessa Gray) front a small team of the Gold Coast force, headed up by Max Nelson (Frankie J. Holden). Dressed in designer clothes and talking tough, these two follow the usual red herrings of the crime genre, as the hour unfolds. Jack is smarting from a broken marriage to Marcia Cross (Alice Parkinson), who also happens to be the Public Prosecutor, and he’s not happy. Whenever Tully offers him a little advice in romance, Jack more or less bites her head off.

The other two sharply dressed crime-fighters are Jessica Mackay (Simone McAullay) and her youthful sidekick Tony Moretti (Bob Morley), both plain clothes constables. Given nobody seems to wear blue uniforms in this force, it’s easy to forget these two are not actually detectives. They get all the lame jobs from grabbing the boss a coffee to losing a lead only to be berated by the boss…

As Max Nelson, Holden, so far, isn’t afforded any action scenes and remains largely desk bound in the first episode. No doubt he will provide some grounding to his youthful team, and hopefully some scenes that allow him to demonstrate acting range.

Knapman Wyld have produced some of our best drama in recent years including Wildside and East West 101. Both were defined by a raw, gritty feel and a pulsating energy that should have adapted well to Gold Coast cops. But their frenetic hand held cameras, overlapping dialogue and flawed characters are barely visible between the shiny skyscrapers and rolling surf. The result is an Americanised indulgence into youth, sex, designer clothes (“this is a $1000 suit!” insists one character), and even an R&B soundtrack.

The Strip suffers from a decided lack of energy, the kind that was so ripping in Underbelly. The first episode has too little jeopardy. It feels like the cops are going through the motions when they’d much rather be surfing or organising a date for the night.

Ultimately it comes across as representative of the Gold Coast itself –fabulous to look at, but so far hiding a shallow interior.

The Strip premieres 8:30pm Thursday on Nine.

18 Comments:

  1. I agree with the above poster about people complaining about OZ TV shows.
    Give them a chance.
    I would not be caught dead watching US shows like Law & Order, CSI This, CSI That…I am AUSTRALIAN and don’t give a crap about US crime.

    The first 2 eps of RUSH were just fine and THE STRIP might improve in time…
    who knows?

  2. I actually enjoyed the first episode of The Strip and yes i do understand where all of you are coming from. It is very similar to certain shows.

    On another topic:
    Bobby Morley was hot!

  3. Well……it’s not the worse show I’ve seen, but we’re not inspired to watch next week. To me, it’s a bad pastiche of CSI: Miami, and that’s saying something because CSI: Miami is the worst of the three CSI’s in my opinion!

    Having said that, City Homicide improved with a few eps, as did Canal Road, so if this show is still on in a month, I might give it another go.

  4. Another lead baloon that wont fly. Underbelly set a standard that nobody can reach, because it was based on real events. I hear they are making a show based on Kings Cross real crime? Is this true? Great blog by the way David. Congrats from your brother.

  5. All I can say is what bloody good shows that we can produce in Oz and lets get rid of some of that overseas CRAP and give our aussie actors a chance they are some of the best in the world

  6. Thank goodness I look at this site before viewing new shows as David gives balanced insight, plus the little titbits heard that The Strip got reshot very late.

    My comments – Montage central, talk about overuse.
    Plot – what plot.
    Wooden acting, if you can it that.

    What a load of tripe.
    Who previews these shows ? (not real people obviously)

    Mind you, did not expect a hit as “The Dots” over promoted it .
    Have expected Jules Lund or Richard Wilkins to get a cameo.

  7. This year is probably the first time, Australia’s been serious about primetime drama, whereas it may not be the best ever seen. Lighten up. From what I remember, didn’t they make that Starter Wife down at the Gold Coast, and made it out to be Miami, or something like that?

    As for Rush, it should get better. Most TV shows have a rocky start, buts that to only introduce characters.

    Get over it.

  8. spunkymonkeycaesar

    I couldn’t agree with you more Dominik, I too can’t understand why people keep paying out Aussie Dramas and too find it quite annoying that they do so – Atleast we’re not the only people though that think such Aussie Dramas that you mentioned are great fun family dramas, as the ratings just go to show.

  9. I really find it annoying how there are so many people slagging Aussie dramas – sure The Strip and Sea Patrol for example are not world class shows but they are great fun family dramas – sometimes it’s just great to just be entertained in a simple way with characters who we really relate to. It doesn’t need to be Wildside or Phoenix or Love My Way – they are great to, but it’s great to just have a few dramas that are purely for the purpose of just unwinding and having some fun.

  10. Sea Patrol had some mixed reviews, and it went on to become one of 2007’s biggest shows, so who knows what can happen with The Strip (especially considering the massive promotion behind it)
    I think it could do well against what is fairly soft opposition, but don’t expect too much more than 1.2-1.4

    Sephiroth_FF, I dont think anthing is wrong with Aussie TV (Rush, CH & PTTR all show that), but sometimes viewers (more so on Nine lately) just want something more “easy” to get into, though they can count me out this time

  11. What on earth is wrong with Australian TV? When I first saw this advertised, I literally felt sick. This is a very, very poor knock-off of just about every LA-based US show, Why are they trying to copy US shows? If they even attempt, they will very obviously fail. Just make Australian shows how Australia really is.

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