Last night was the final instalment of the ABC’s On Trial – it’s one of those shows that you either watch, come back for more, and really appreciate, or miss because it’s not on your radar, it slips past and then it’s gone.
Thankfully, you can watch the lot – all five episodes – on the ABC’s very good interactive site – it’s well worth it.
I’ve rarely been inside a court – in fact, I can count each time I have – and two of those were on work experience, one was for Year 10 legal studies – so I’m hardly a legal eagle – which is why I found On Trial so fascinating – that and I like to know how stuff works and what makes people tick.
Perhaps it’s the contrast of the US-based courtroom dramas over the years that have conditioned us (me!) to be used to deal making over ever present coffee, theatrical witnesses and judges from the Judge Judy school of overplaying it.
On Trial was people going about their business, doing their best generally, and with an observation – not judgmental – eye. One of the ABC’s roles is to educate. The series does this – it’s one thing to read or hear about court cases on the news, it’s another to actually be in court as events transpire.
What this series does is have some of the key people (judges, solicitors, family members and friends, and barristers) explain what was happening and why in terms that made sense.
Of equal importance was the manner in which these people spoke – maybe it was because the cameras were there – but you couldn’t help but be impressed by the tone and reflective professionalism of people in On Trial.
As producers Michael Cordell and Ian Collie express it in their Producer’s Statement
We regard legal programming as one of the last frontiers of factual television in Australia…
There are few places where human drama plays out with as much intrigue as a courtroom. Here all our faults, foibles, misdemeanors and crimes are on display for the world to see. How society deals with these and dispenses justice is a fundamental measure of civilised society. We hope this series is the forerunner of many more on the operation of our courts.
This is superb television – it is what in many ways television should be – observational, reflective, educational and – as this is – crafted with sensitivity and care.
….and then turn the channel and throw away the key
I was going to have a go at Channel 9 for their appalling awful station promo of Top Design (Jamie Durie’s bunch meets Brady Bunch megamix mistake).
I won’t – instead I’ll just let you watch Steve Molks’ views – what he said, I agree. Steve is a Brisbane-based TV blogger and commentator – and he expresses his opinions very well (including a cutting raised eyebrow glare that is worth watching the video for alone!).
Actually, watch the promo. And then watch Molk. Molk is funny. The promo is not. It’s not clever. It’s just bad. It’s pity that Nine have ruined what may be a good show – and as some who loves promos (Hello Melbourne, GTV 9?s 1980s efforts to name a few), this ad riled me.
Over to you, Steve!