The recent release of Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms, Network Ten's new miniseries, has opened to a large viewership. Many people have taken an interest in the series, which explores the Malperra massacre of the mid 1980s. Australia's interest in onscreen criminality, however, is not new. For years and years, Australians have consistently tuned in to violent shows.
Consider the many Australian crime television series aired over the last five years. The Underbelly phenomenon is a powerful example here; it has spawned Underbelly, Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Underbelly: Razor, and Underbelly: Badness is due to air this year.
The series has also caught the eye of US and New Zealand television producers, and has also been adapted to telemovie format. Our interest in crime television, however, also goes back much further than five years ago.
I implore you to think back to all those years ago when shows like Prisoner were in vogue and Blue Heelers was the guilty pleasure of many.
More recently, shows like City Homicide and Forensic Investigators have taken over shows of yesteryear and have continued the trend of Australian crime television entertainment. Finally, who could forget the many tongue-in-cheek detective series of the 1990s, such as Stingers and Water Rats?
Is violence cathartic? Are we a sick bunch here down under? Do stories about anti-heroes, or violent larrikins intrigue us because of our own roots; our convict blood? Why do we continue to find such shows so amusing? The recent release of Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms is a throttling reminder of the type of entertainment we love.
By Christopher Traficante - Bio