27 January 2013 | kgratton
Anti-hero is a sympathetic character
Every once in a (long) while the Australian TV industry can dig up a gem. You're never quite sure which network will produce the next 'East West 101' or 'MDA', but chances are that an intriguing new show will turn up on the government-owned ABC.
That is certainly the case with 'Rake', which I understand has been signed off for a third season - and is also the model for an American version to go into production shortly.
I wouldn't have bothered writing a review for this series, but felt compelled to respond to remarks from reviewer colbur-1. Many of the actors making cameo appearances in this show are well-known names, as other reviewers have noted, but of the regulars probably only Richard Roxburgh would be well known outside the framework of this series.
Regrettably, I don't see any of the "cringeworthy jingoism" or 1960s insularity. This is an immensely entertaining show if you can stand the robust language and moral ambivalence. But even in that context the heroic stature of Matt Day's character serves as a foil to Roxburgh's.
The beauty of this series, beyond the wonderful character development, is that the stories overcome that stumbling block of Australian film and TV: mediocre script writing. Being based on reality and frequently drawing on true life situations 'Rake' eases willing suspension of disbelief even as it descends further into the surreal.
It's a show that will shock and amuse; it's by no means a typical sitcom, but it's real life, with its flawed villains and cynics - mostly with their redeeming virtues. Even farm girl-turned-mobster and part-time lusty wench Kirsty - played by Robyn Malcolm - has her own reasons for her actions.
And if that isn't enough to draw you in to watch this show, I don't know what will.