I recently watched two television series produced and set in Australia. One was Secret City and the other was Rake. The former is a political espionage drama while the latter is a comedy-farce. How they both portray the Australian political-legal-police-internal security systems in less than flattering, to put it mildly, showing them as utterly corrupt and venal. Both shows portray the Australia-China relationship as a highly fraught one, and in Secret City, the US is shown manipulating Australia to serve its own foreign policy ends.
Here’s the trailer for the second season of Secret City.
Rake plays up this dysfunctionality for laughs. Its central character is an utterly dissolute lawyer addicted to gambling, alcohol and other drugs, and sex whose complete lack of self-control results in him constantly alienating his family, friends, and colleagues. In the show, prime ministers are replaced every few weeks because of internal party coups, judges are bribed or otherwise influenced, the police follow the political whims of ministers, and so on. The US president, although never named, is portrayed as an idiot, so that part is accurate. This show also illustrates that Australian broadcast TV takes a much more relaxed attitude to nudity and sex and language than the US.
Here’s the trailer for Rake.
I was curious as to how Australians viewed the way that their country was portrayed in these shows. I know this blog has Australian readers and would be interested to hear from them.