Dysfunctional families are a tinderbox of emotions in a new drama set before a looming bushfire.

Writer / Producer Jason Herbison has come to know British viewing tastes  through his success with Neighbours, which serves him rather well in his third mystery thriller, Heat.

Take secrets and lies, throw in an alluring Australian backdrop, a property-porn abode, sexy stars, rising teen talent and a UK soapie import, and you have the latest 10 / Channel 5 melodrama from Fremantle.

Following Lie with Me and Riptide, the new series takes place in the Victorian bush in a sweltering summer and centres around two families.

Sarah (Pia Miranda) and Steve (Danny Dyer) drive their two teens Mia (Matia Marks) and Tom (Matteo Annetta) for a holiday at the glam retreat of Brad (Darren McMullen), Louise (Jane Allsop) and teen son Kip (Hunter Hayden).

Living off the grid, Brad and Louise own an isolated, sprawling property surrounded by bushland, complete with kangaroos, cockatoos and kookaburras.

But rippling underneath these happy families are all kinds of secrets that are repressed, whispered in hushed tones, and dismissed in fake smiles.

Short-tempered Steve, who emerges as the bad guy of the piece, is accused by daughter Mia of having an affair behind Sarah’s back.

“You need to wake up, he’s having an affair and it’s all going to blow up in our faces,” Mia tells her mother.

There’s a wall of secrecy around a wrist injury concealed by teen Tom and there are shadowy actions taking place behind an unopened door in the house deemed “off limits” to visitors.

Added into the mix is Mia’s hunky boyfriend Jet (Richie Morris), who sneaks onto the property for clandestine meetings with his girlfriend -which infuriates Steve upon discovery.

Concurrent with this tinderbox of emotions is a distant bushfire serving as a metaphor as it (slowly) makes its way towards the house of dysfunctional families.

A little more speed on the disaster-element of the story would be welcome, with two episodes focussed on the house of cards (or is that matches?) ripe for calamity.

That said, this is the best of the three miniseries from Herbison & co. thus far with sure-footing on the relatablity of characters and plot moves that feel more restrained.

Pia Miranda is torn as young mother Sarah while Darren McMullen keeps improving in his relatively-new career as actor. Danny Dyer is deliberately unlikeable as the grumpy dad in disarray and it’s great to see Jane Allsop in a principal role. Matia Marks and Richie Morris turn up the sex factor, accompanied by some disposable pop tunes.

The series keeps dropping hints about the tyranny of distance via poor phone signals, natural river breaks and roads closed, that you just know will combine with an unstoppable fire force for maximum peril when it finally arrives. But for at least half the series, we are in the drama of warring families rather than a natural disaster recreation.

Herbison nevertheless crafts an engaging dose of drama (very digestible at just 4 episodes) showing Britain that Australia remains a captivating escape never far from danger.

Heat screens 9pm Wednesday on 10.

15 Responses

  1. Having just turned 50 (which is impossible to believe, to be honest!), I’m sure Pia Miranda would be delighted to be referred to as “young mother Sarah” 🙂

    As for the series, I loved the first episode and continue to be impressed by what Jason Herbison and his very talented team of directors and writers produce.

    1. I’m a decade or two older and I enjoyed it…even love the music tracts…George Ezra and Benson Boone are great young singers …..being referred to as “young” is great….but….remember growing old… you have no say….however growing up that’s optional 😂 congrats on turning 50..

      1. Thank you (I actually have recently turned 50 😊), but I was referring to Pia Miranda’s recent 50th birthday 😊. Anyone aged 50 would love to be called “young” by David, I’m sure 😊 Glad you enjoyed the show!

  2. If you watch 10Play and the dedicated streaming tv show channels (e.g. B&B, BH 90210, Baywatch), this series comes on literally every commercial break and between shows. 10 is promoting it quite a lot but I’m getting sick I seeing the same ads over and over.

    1. Sorry why would they do that. There are currently bushfires at the moment but we can not always stop showing something just because it may be dealing with something that is happening currently.

  3. B list UK actors should not be taking a role that should be played by an Aussie.
    I know they are made for a UK audience but this is just saying that our actors aren’t good enough to sell the show.

    1. The characters of Steve (DD) and Brad (DMM) are actually ex pats of the UK who have moved to Australia on the show…which is completely feasible and that adds authenticity and context to the show…why would ex pats from the UK be played by Australian actors?…. but I would not go so far as to say that the Australian actors aren’t good enough to sell any show…that is a disparaging remake about their contribution on any show.

        1. I totally agree on Australian actors..but if there is a character that is not Australian (even though some can carry an appropriate accent) then I think it is okay….people want diversity now days …isn’t having different nationalities part of diversity…..I’ve watched several show recently that have New Zealanders in Australian shows as well. e.g Bay of Fires (Kerry Fox) and The Twelve (Sam Neill) are examples.

          1. This has nothing to do with whether or not Aussie actors can carry the show. It’s all about the financing, and since the UK’s Channel 5 have poured in the most money to make the show, the request to have a UK star for the UK audience is perfectly reasonable.

      1. They are only ex-pats from the UK to boost ratings on Channel 5, which works. There is nothing in the story that requires it and it would work better as an Australian melodram without them. It’s 4 episodes long which generates as many points as Ten wants. The fire is there just playing the part of the Hurrican in Key Largo. It’s another slow moving melodrama from Paramount Global. It’s rated 5.5 on IMDB and that is generous. I wasted 10 minutes on it before moving onto So Help Me Todd.

    2. Also is a Australian TV show/mini series/ telemovie doesn’t have a international cast it may not be able to be bought overseas as the result it may put in other productions in danger. Also Sigourney Weaver was in The Lost Flowers Of Alice hart for example

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