ABC announces $14m children’s series

ABC has officially announced its biggest budget children’s live action series yet, a $14m co-production called Resistance, to be filmed in Adelaide.

The futuristic 26 x 30min series is a co-production between Persistence Productions and Shaftesbury Films (Canada). It has previously been described as ‘a mash-up of Alias meets Buffy meets Transformers meets Spooks.

Produced by Andrew Dillon and Geoff Bennett it is written by Naomi Janzen and Sarah Lambert.

Resistance tells the story of ‘the fate of human kind in the hands of a small group of brilliant teenage resistance fighters. Armed with technology, beyond the cutting edge, and trained by mysterious young billionaire, they’re our last line of defence against an alien invasion.’

Kim Dalton, Director of ABC TV said “ABC TV is thrilled to be bringing this major children’s television series to Adelaide, especially as it will be the first production to be filmed in the stunning new facilities here.

“This will make Resistance not only an important and historic landmark for both ABC TV and South Australia but also for children’s television production in Australia.

Resistance will add to our already strong line up of live-action children’s dramas series such as Dance Academy, My Place and Dead Gorgeous,” he said (NB: Dead Gorgeous is no longer a continuing production).

Persistence Productions is a special purpose vehicle set up by Sydney-based That’s–A-Wrap Productions (IF Awards). A pilot episode in 2008 featured Nicholas Hope, Jane Badler, Kane O’Keeffe, Adrian Lee and Andy Minh Trieu, prior to ABC involvement and Screen Australia funding, announced in May.

The announcement follows recent criticism of ABC out-sourcing major productions and winding down productions in some states.

ABC says the series will employ around 450 cast, crew and local people as extras.

In addition, around 500 South Australian people or businesses will supply ancillary services such as accommodation, transport, sets, and wardrobe. It is to be shot entirely in South Australia over five months from mid November and with 70% of its budget being spent in South Australia. It is also the first production to use the South Australia Film Corporation’s new facilities.

Resistance is just one of the 21 productions on the ABC Children’s Television 2011 production slate. Sixteen of these productions are being produced with Australian independent production companies and add up to 157 hours of television. Production is spread across all mainland states of Australia,” said Dalton.

“The slate covers a wide range of genres (including live-action drama, animation,documentaries, game shows and factual entertainment) and includes productions for all age groups.”

The new series will screen on ABC3 in late 2012 and in YTV Canada.

20 Comments:

  1. @Napdav: The ABC used to have a good balance between Australian and imported series in the distant past, with various series from Nickelodeon and other sources shown. But the balance started to shift more to Australian series leading up to the ABC3, and the ABC3 is filled with endless repeats of Australian series. The ABC have bought the rights to repeat at least 27 Australian series so far, but it is rare to see any imported series bought specifically to be repeated. Recent new Australian productions are just as bad, usually school based series (Dance Academy, Dead Gorgeous), or game shows (Go Lingo!, What Do You Know?), or infotainment (Good Game SP, Rush TV, Stay Tuned). And when recent new series (The Jungle Book, League of Super Evil, Star Wars: Clone Wars) from overseas aren’t even shown in the correct aspect ratio or widescreen, I get the feeling the ABC couldn’t care less about imported series.

    I specifically meant the four generic characters, meant to defeat enemy ‘x’ in Resistance, which is far too common in TV series for children. And these types of series are far better done in animation anyway, where the creators have complete freedom, without the huge costs of special effects or sets.

    I used to watch series (mainly cartoons) on the ABC frequently in the distant past, but the last I watched on the ABC3 was The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It is difficult to find quality content (decent characters, good story, and especially on-going story) on the ABC3 to watch, when cartoon series are reduced to mainly parodies (i.e. Total Drama series) and silliness (i.e. Almost Naked Animals), while live action series are often reality TV rubbish (i.e. Serious series), or school based (far too many), or just as silly (i.e. Horrible Histories).

    The ABC used to be able to offer many good cartoon series from overseas in the past, like The Animals of Farthing Woods, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Fairly OddParents, The Little Lulu Show, Rupert, Mysterious Cities of Gold, Skunk Fu and many more. And there are still mainly good cartoon series (i.e. Danny Phantom, Michel, Redwall, Watership Down) from overseas, that have never been shown on free to air TV.

  2. Kirben – and what do you think the ABC should be doing but ‘subsidising the Australian industry’? What? Would you like us to shut it down and import all programmes? I’m sorry, but that’s just a ridiculous comment. Go to the UK and see how much they spend on local content – much of it we import!

    As for ‘originality’ – I suppose you never noticed Harry Potter or Star Wars being an amalgam of The Arthurian Story? I could pick out a dozen examples – and David is right, it’s in the execution. I suppose the RSC shouldn’t have done the David Tennant version of Hamlet as Branagh had already made one? Boardwalk Empire’s first ep cost 14 million dollars – and it’s a gangster tale, all been done before – waste of money? I’d be very keen to know what you watch? Or are you a radio person? I certainly think it must be cheaper to make!

  3. Looks like a massive waste of money, even if only partially funded by the ABC. This type of story has already been done to death already, in cartoons and live action series for children. See ‘Resistence I 2010 Series Trailer HD’ on YouTube for a trailer of the series.

    Too much funding for the ABC3 is been wasted by subsidizing the Australian industry. With endless repeats of Australian series, and new Australian series that lack any originally or quality.

    • As noted in the story there was a Pilot in 2008 so anything on YouTube predates the funding and won’t be representative of the final product. They say just about every story has been done before, it all comes down to the execution.

  4. kk_kev – agreed the axe shouldn’t fall on ‘Art Nation’ or anything of that ilk.

    But the facts are this: the ABC did not spend $14 million bucks on a kids show. It’s a co-production and, while I’m not privy to the actual figures, it would be unusual for the ABC to be funding even a quarter of that. The funding comes from many sources and the stakeholders get returns from overseas sales that can go on for years. ‘Art Nation’ and shows of that ilk are for domestic consumption only and therefore have no residual worth to a funder/broadcaster.

    So if the show sells well in other territories it will actually make the ABC money. Imagine if they had have invested in ‘Doctor Who’? BBC WorldWide just made it’s biggest profit ever.

    If you think they invest that sort of money in shows for only ABC 3, then you’re misinformed.

  5. Actually, it’s not 540k per ep. There are ‘above the lines’ and ‘below the lines’ – ‘Above ‘ usually means fees and the cost of raising the capital to make it. ‘Below’ is the actual money making the show – when one considers the ‘Aboves’ could amount to millions as people have spent Years getting the project up plus the cost of insurances and borrowings – you’d be surprised how little the ‘Below’ can be.

    I have mates who make 30 second TVCs – usually for cars- for that sort of money, so 500k for 30 mins is a bargain!

  6. ABC1/2/3 daytime are already Overflowing with kids programming, and they’re still producing even more of it. Meanwhile, the axe falls on Art Nation…

  7. ‘K9’ was kids sci fi and had a budget similar to this. The total is made up of many investors from around the globe.

    Believe me – 14 million doesn’t go very far when you’re making 26 eps with VFX in them!

  8. Armchair Analyst

    This is great news for the city of churches. I think over the past decade Adelaide has unfortunetly been overlooked for production of Tv shows. Lets hope that the writing and the acting is great so that it gives people an incentive to watch and support it. Hopefully things to come in the future.

  9. Awsome! They often do this so well. Not that I will watch it but I really did enjoy the ABCs offerings when I was younger, like Finders Keepers. Great that this generation will get some cool content too.

  10. It’s obscene that they can be spending so much on a single children’s series. The whole of News 24 costs less than $10 million per year to run on top of money that would have been spent anyway by the ABC.

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