If the Thunderbirds met ‘Allo ‘Allo would it wind up looking something like Danger 5?
It’s hard to know what demented mind dreamt up this new SBS comedy series -but I’m very glad they did. It’s bizarre stuff from beginning to end and you can’t help but admire their audacity.
The Danger 5 troupe are a young, hip group of special operatives. They represent the best chance the Allies have at taking down Adolph Hitler (it’s just that Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany are somehow fused into the 1960s).
The five are Jackson from the USA, Tucker from Australia, Ilsa from Russia, Claire from Britain and Pierre from Europe. They live in an uber-cool secret lair that looks an awful lot like International Rescue from the Thunderbirds. The girls are busty and smoke cigarettes, the guys sport chest hair, big collars, moustaches and porn-hair.
All of them have been badly re-dubbed like a Double Take parody. There are SBS subtitles sprinkled across what could easily be Euro-gibberish. Who cares, it’s all part of the fun.
The episode opens with Hitler stealing world-famous monuments. Nazi zeppelins rip the Eiffel tower from its pylons and wing it through the air. Naturally the whole thing is done with miniatures, complete with Gerry Anderson-style strings visibly holding the whole thing up. Danger 5 wears its heart on its sleeve and to hell with it.
It’s a little hard to keep up with the plot, but essentially the team decide to masquerade as entertainers at a party for Hitler with a devious plan to assassinate him. The catchphrase “and of course don’t forget to kill Hitler” looks set to become a running gag.
There’s a high bullet count in this show, including an inordinate number of pistol-driven suicides. But while it carries an M rating, the most blood you will see is probably a sauce stain on somebody’s shirt. Geddit?
The production values in Danger 5 are terrific recreations of cabaret bars, torture dungeons, and James Bond-esque settings. They’re so bad they’re good, and that sums up the whole pitch of this series. It’s “easy” to be bad, but it’s harder to parody bad.
Dario Russo and David Ashby, who comprise the show’s writer, director, producer, composer, editor and actors (did I leave anything out?), are set to give SBS their next comedy stars, following on from Paul Fenech and Jason Gann / Adam Zwar. The fact that they have put this together in Adelaide is all the more remarkable.
Achieved on what must surely have been a tight budget, they really deliver on screen, including at times with a cast of thousands.
While watching this I was especially reminded of Funky Squad, Working Dog’s homage to 1970s cop shows. But other TV experiments also spring to mind, such as Inspektor Herring, Let the Blood Run Free, and to a lesser extent, the Barge-arse sketches on The Late Show or a bit of Bob Downe.
Episode two promises Nazi dinosaurs on the rampage. Historical accuracy is turfed for hysterical lunacy.
I’m rather hoping a bunch of viewers channel surfing next Monday night stumble upon this and blast SBS for bad dubbing, shoddy acquisitions and misogynistic treatment of women. Might even get a senate inquiry out of it.
Danger 5 airs 9:30pm Monday on SBS ONE.