Exciting young talents are discovering there’s still life in the old box first watch
THERE’S an interesting paradox at work in Tv-land: a generation that tells us over and over it isn’t interested in the TV its parents grew up with has discovered just how much fun it is to make shows for what they once regarded as an antiquated technology. These are the kids who can watch their choice of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of channels all delivered over the internet, insouciantly avoiding the piracy police. Unlike their parents they have grown up with the idea of computational flexibility and can output an internet-based video stream without breaking a sweat.
This generation includes the guys behind Danger 5, a new six-part action-comedy series commissioned by SBS with the support of the South Australian Film Corporation and the entrepreneurial Adelaide Film Festival. Its creators are the absurdly talented Dario Russo and David Ashby, who are also director and star of the internet sensation Italian Spiderman, their short spoof of 60s and 70s Italian cinema made when they were in high school.
Italian Spiderman was the no-budget trailer for a non-existent film of the same title — you need to hang in here — featuring an overweight Italian superhero whose powers included coffee drinking, smoking and the odd bit of teleporting. It was made in 2007 with one roll of 16mm film as a student exercise and suddenly Russo and Ashby were stars, part of a viral video craze on the internet, where short film clips spread by email and media sharing websites. A Youtube sensation, the clip has amassed close to 31/ million viewers to date.
They expanded the Italian Spiderman cosmos with the support of the South Australian Film Corporation and turned it into a 10-part online series, which together with their trailer has accrued a combined total of more than nine million viewers. This exercise in guerilla filmmaking — 36 minutes shot for a budget of less than $10,000 with a five-week edit — brought them to SBS, which commissioned Danger 5 with a $1.5 million budget. It seems a fair whack, but $150,000 an episode for a TV show is very small beer when the average cost of an episode of drama is around $700,000. They have used what they had brilliantly, the shortcomings adding to the mashed-up highly eclectic aesthetic.
Danger 5 is a complex epic of social and cultural satire set in a sexed-up 60s inspired version of World War II and viewed through a prism of Godzilla movies. It’s funny, often hilarious, pulpy and weirdly engaging. Well, I found it so, but there will be some who may be dismayed and offended by the approach these filmmakers take to the terrible events of last century.
The series follows the heroic exploits of a team of five international superspies on a righteous mission to kill a Hitler (Carmine Russo) straight out of the pulp comic genre. The finest group of operatives the Allies have to offer are the bearded American Jackson (David Ashby), blonde Aussie Tucker (Sean James Murphy), and swarthy, moustachioed Italian Pierre (Aldo Mignone). These tough, hard men are complemented by some equally dangerous and, of course, very beautiful women.
The blonde Claire (Amanda Simons) is from Britain and sultry brunette Ilsa (Nata-