If Australian TV was a high school run by cliques and social groups, TEN, 7 and Nine would be the jocks chasing trends and popularity. In the same sense, SBS would be that group of quiet kids, the Art and Lit majors that keep to themselves and play hacky-sack at lunch time.
The kind of kids that would produce the shear brilliance that is The Weekend Shift.
Taking a similar approach to Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, The Weekend Shift takes us behind the scenes and back to where the weekend news broadcast magic happens. Whether this is purely satirical or slightly accurate, I feel as if they’ve hit the nail right on the head with this one.
Director Nick McDougall definitely doesn’t skimp on the lovable yet predictable team archetypes. Notable mentions include Renee Lim ( of Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me), who plays the overbearing Asian perfectionist, Madeleine Madden ( of Tomorrow When the War Began) playing the headstrong black-pleather-wearing badass, and Peter Moalaeua, a stoic yet laid back teddy bear. I give an A+ to the casting director for having actors of colour mainline this episode. Another A+ for Moalaeua’s Rohan, it’s refreshing to see a big person on the big screen.
It goes without saying that Lee Lin Chin shined the brightest, with her unapologetic demeanour carrying the episode where it needed it to be. Chin’s humour emerged on the internet in early 2014, from which she captured the hearts of many similar minded millennials. For all we know, she may have been this hilarious this whole time she was just waiting for the right moment to strike. She has definitely found her slot with The Weekend Shift.
Without giving anything away the basic premise of the show is a tongue-in-cheek look into the realities of an Australian broadcast studio dealing with network budget cuts, a flailing team of semi-motivated producers and the biggest issue of all, getting Lee Lin out of the pub and into the studio.
In the span of 30 minutes the episode touches on some pretty complex social issues, which is what I like to see. Workplace hierarchy, multicultural programming, the intricacies of social media mishaps to Government PR issues and the list goes on. McDougall tackles these head on with a serving of humour which is a great way to get people to sit up and pay attention. We can only hope his boldness continues throughout the series.
The episode wrapped up well and closed all sub-arc strings, and while all this is well and good, I felt as if there was something missing. This could change as the show progresses, maybe with the addition of running gags, I guess we’ll have to see. I’m anticipating a lot from this series, let’s hope they don’t disappoint!
The pilot, which aired on the 8th of May, can be viewed on SBS Demand. The following episodes are yet to be announced, but like the pilot, they will most likely be released exclusively on SBS’s online streaming site.
Overall Episode Rating: 4.1/5 STARS
Mark is a sexy young ethnic guy who is known for his infectious laugh and ridiculous sense of humour. He rarely crosses the line, but that may be because he assumes it requires cardio. He prides himself on his morals and ethics but this can easily be thrown out the door if a cute guy gives him attention.