5 First Nations series worthy of a reboot

In this NAIDOC Week here are 5 former shows which could explore new ways to speak to a modern audience.

In this NAIDOC Week as ABC looks back on Indigenous storytelling tonight in Looking Black I thought it might be timely to suggest some former titles that could be ripe for a revisit.

No Walkabout, Wake in Fright or Bony remakes here, instead here are 5 boldly distinctive pieces that could explore new ways to speak to modern audiences.

Redfern Now
Across two seasons in 2012 and 2013, ABC’s ground-breaking anthology series tackled contemporary issues facing Aboriginal Australians, including poverty, lack of employment, mental illness, domestic violence, often as direct ramifications of colonialisation and the Stolen Generations. But some stories were far more optimistic, suchas one in which Aaron McGrath as a student was forced to take a stand for what he believed in. The real achievement was in First Nations actors, writers, directors showcasing absolute talent including Deborah Mailman, Leah Purcell, Kelton Pell, Ursula Yovich, Wayne Blair, Ernie Dingo, Miranda Tapsell, Rarriwuy Hick, Trisha Morton-Thomas, and Meyne Wyatt. A decade later there are new names who have made their mark and others who would benefit from new work. But there are also new stories to address.

Women of the Sun
1981’s period drama on SBS portrayed the the colonisation of Australia told through the eyes of four Indigenous women from the 1820s to the 1980s. While many of the cast members were non-professional actors, it included Justine Saunders, Jack Charles, Julia Blake, Max Phipps, William Zappa, Fiona Spence. The first time colonisation was seen through the eyes of Indigenous women, it went on to win two AWGIEs, five Penguin Awards, a United Nations Media Peace Prize and the Banff Grand Prix.

My Place
Based on the award-winning picture book of the same name by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlin, this 2009 ABC3 series told the story of one house as told by the generations of children who had lived there over 220 years. A multiple award winner it featured Leah Purcell, Madeleine Madden, Aaron McGrath, Kris McQuade, Susie Porter, Emma Lung, Sacha Horler, Russell Dykstra, Dan Wyllie.

RAN: Remote Area Nurse
2006 SBS drama followed the life of Helen Tremain, played by Susie Porter, charged with providing medical services to the remote Torres Strait Islanders community. Just six episodes spanned topics such as: whites fitting into an Islander culture, alcohol misuse, smuggling, family hostility and love, outsider influence on island life and family. Filmed entirely on Masig Island (Yorke Island) north of the Cape York Peninsula, the cast also included Luke Carroll, Charles Passi, Billy Mitchell, and Aaron Fa’aoso in his first role. An underrated series that was pivotal to Susie Porter’s career, as it could be to a new star.

Robbie Hood
The best digital series SBS has produced. This 2019 red centre comedy was funny, unique and at times moving. Not so much a reboot as a return, it would be amazing if Dylan River’s short series about a 13 year old could land a second season, but maybe the ages of the key cast means it would be a much different show.

Looking Black airs 8:30pm tonight on ABC.

2 Responses

  1. Redfern Now would be easy to pick up again as most of the episodes were individual stories and didn’t thread through. I’d like to see it again as it was really well made.

    Haven’t seen any of the others but now might try and find a way to seek them out. Thanks David.

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