Steam Punks quiz headed to ABC3

ABC3’s first Australian science series Steam Punks, began production in Sydney yesterday.

The series is described as “a fast, furious and funny science based quiz show hosted by comedian Paul Verhoeven from Triple J’s Breakfast’s Nerdy By Nature segment.

Contestants aged between 12-15 years-old find themselves trapped in a subterranean Steampunk world ruled by the malevolent ‘Machine’.

The ‘Machine’ uses her minion (Verhoven) to quiz the contestants on their scientific knowledge, problem solving and ability to interact with technology in order to win their freedom.

Tim Brooke-Hunt, Controller of ABC Children’s Television, said “Steam Punks will offer ABC3 viewers an entertaining mix of science and fun, and I look forward to adding this Beyond production to our schedule.”

Series Producer Anthony Watt added, “Steam Punks is like no show I have ever worked on. In fact it’s like no show that’s ever been made in this country – a narrative game show. It’s a testament to ABC3’s courage and innovation to back a truly imaginative and stylish program. Combine that with the knowledge and experience of Beyond plus the fresh new face of an energetic host and the outcome is something that I find truly exciting.”

The series consists of 40 half hour eps produced by Beyond Productions.

It will screen on ABC3 this year.


  1. @David Knox: The majority of companies producing new Australian series for children, have produced several previous series. So this isn’t a case of failing at first, and hoping their future productions will improve.

    @Tex: Well my previous examples were based on what little is shown by (free to air). A wider example based on my recent DVDs and online streaming is Angel’s Friends, Dennoil Coil, Digimon Xros War/Hunters, Famous Five: On the Case, The Garfield Show, Geronimo Stilton, Monster Allergy, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Pound Puppies 2010, Sgt Frog (Japanese version).

    I will always take quality, over quantity, the ABC’s funding for the ABC3 could be far better spent, and divided between local and overseas content. I have not mentioned any adult content at all, when making my comparisons. Nine manages to offer much better new content from overseas for children, while still keeping their quota of Australian content.

    Pay-TV fails to offer any significant advantage in terms of new series from overseas for children, as I already stated. DVD releases are no better, unless you buy from overseas. Both are very costly options too.

    Yes, I meant the new Thundercats series, which is well done, and can be enjoyed by children & adults. Episode 4 (Song of the Petalars) would be the perfect example, a life and death story you would not expect to see.

  2. @Kirben: I guess what we have here is simply a difference on opinion over what constitutes “junk”. Because, quite frankly, my personal opinion is that what you’ve held up as examples of “quality cartoon series”I would classify as “junk, at best rising to shallow mediocrity, with very occasional flashes of brilliance, but almost always with a heavily & culturally-biased morality”.

    But that’s all beside my main point: You can’t really bag the ABC for choosing to make Australian Kids TV content for their specifically Australian Kids TV channel, ABC3. It becomes doubly unfair when you do so by conflating it with both adult and childrens content from their other 2 channels, ABC1 & 2. And, as David says, imported kids TV has numerous other outlets.

    (And I hope that’s not the new Thundercats you’re holding up as an example of quality kids TV. It’s so obviously aimed at nostalgic 20&30-somethings that I don’t think it can really count.)

  3. If you mean my comments on Dogstar (Series 2), I have seen already seen the complete Series 1, and the trailer for Series 2 looks no better.

    Clips, trailers and sometimes even episodes, are frequently available, long before a series is aired, on producers web sites or YouTube. There are trailers of Dogstar (Series 2), Flea Bitten and Teenage Fairytale Dropouts around already, for example.

    Pay-TV fails to offer any significant advantage in terms of new series from overseas for children, and the endless repeats are even worse. I find buying Blu-Ray or DVD from overseas still offers more variety, and is much more economical.

    I would rather see the ABC focused more on quality, than just continuing to fund the Australian industry. Especially when the majority of series fail to offer any Australian angle at all, other than using Australian actors and companies. The ABC hasn’t not produced any significant series since Dance Academy, with and You’re Skitting Me suffering the issues I mentioned. It has been mainly been game shows, infotainment, and reality TV used for new Australian series on the ABC1/3 lately.

    • No I was referring to the subject here, Steam Punks. You raised the dumbing down question here….

      Not every show ABC3 produces will be the same quality as Dance Academy. It seems we’re agreed it was a quality piece. If they never took the risk, and just imported international, we’d arguably never have had it. Maybe producers will grow from the experience and give us better next time. Hence the need to try. Also don’t think there’s anything wrong with making other genres for kids.

      Look, I’m not saying it’s a perfect model. I do disagree with your frequent call to import more cartoons from overseas, and constantly criticise ABC3 for making Aus content for Aus kids everytime I write about one here. If as an adult you prefer to import kids DVDs from overseas then that’s a choice in a free society you are entitled to make. I would prefer our kids to experience Aus stories and I support our public broadcaster in continuing that role. Frankly, I’d rather see more of it, not less.

  4. @David Knox: Still not sure what you are implying.I have been keeping very close track childrens programming locally, due to running small web site (see my nickname link) about any cartoon related news for several years.

    There is just a continued lack of quality cartoon series (i.e. Avengers:EMH, Thundercats, Young Justice) on (free to air) TV, despite many good series (old and new) been able overseas. Series for children don’t need to be silly/stupid, or have to be dumbed down to appeal to children.

    A shame you have not mentioned the upcoming ‘The 99’ on the ABC3, which was based off comic, and looks far more promising than any recent Australian series.

    • How can we say if a show is dumbed down if it hasn’t yet aired? Pay TV has entire channels devoted to international cartoons, but it’s important ABC gives Australian producers a platform and a voice to local stories. Shows may not hit their mark first time, but then they come forward with gems like Dance Academy. It’s no different to adult television.

  5. @Tex: Yes, because game shows and infotainment are the cheapest ways to produce Australian programming for children. The commercial TV networks frequently produce these type of series already, we don’t need even more of this junk.

    The ABC has only been able to increase their Australian content so much, by producing these type of cheap series, and endlessly repeating older Australian series.

    • Kirben, out of curiosity as you nearly always comment on Children’s TV (and it usually leaves you unimpressed) is there something you’re not telling us? Just seems to be a theme…..

  6. So, Kirben, you’re complaining about the ABC putting a kids show made in Australia on their kids channel which aims to have 50% Australian content?

    Yeah, how dare they! If only someone would step up and show cheap 10~40 year old “multicultural” (UK, USA, NZ) programmes! You might even make such a channel pay for itself by cutting those old programs to ribbons & dedicating 25% of each hour to yelling at people to buy things…

  7. How many game shows does the ABC need? HotSpell late last year, Eggheads earlier this year, and Bindi’s Bootcamp starts this weekend. Plus the game shows (Splatalot) from overseas.

    The ABC is far worse than the commercial TV networks, with this cheap Australian programming.

  8. Steve Roderick

    “Contestants aged between 12-15 years-old”, well I hope all those kids stay away from Paul’s twitter and facebook. Definitely not for that demographic.

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