Wednesday, 3 August 2016


Master Wicker and I have recently finished up watching the first series of Cleverman. It's not really my usual fare I guess, but I really enjoyed it. 

There have been a number of recent TV shows with great roles for Aboriginal actors, and encompassing Aboriginal stories. Cleverman takes that one step further and is firmly based in Aboriginal mythology. Set in a futuristic, but rather familiar Australia, Cleverman deals with prejudice, race and identity with some rather exciting supernatural and fantastic elements thrown in. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Australian history and politics will recognise themes of dispossession, race, asylum seekers and border protection. 

Cleverman was written by Ryan Griffen because he saw the need for more Aboriginal superheroes. Griffen grew up with comic book heroes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and he was naturally introducing his own son to the same characters. It was while playing  dress-ups with his 3 year old Koen one afternoon that Griffen realised he wanted to share a culturally significant superhero with his son. It's no coincidence then that Cleverman's name is Koen, or that the real Koen can now play Cleverman in his room (although I guess he probably hasn't watched the whole series, there's a few too many adult concepts in there).

JJJ ran a series of the fantastic Dreaming short stories that inspired the script are read by the Cleverman actors. An impressive 80% of the cast and directors are indigenous Australians. Cleverman is an Australia/New Zealand coproduction, and involved the iconic Weta Workshop

I missed Redfern Now a few years ago, although have long been meaning to seek it out. But recently I've enjoyed Glitch and Ready for This, and I'm eagerly awaiting the movie adaptation of Jasper Jones later in the year. The second series of Cleverman will be released in 2017. I'll be watching. 

Compass had a fascinating Cleverman Special discussing the mythology and story behind Cleverman. 


Sue Bursztynski said...

I only saw the first episode, which I stumbled across on iView, while looking for something else. Wonderful! I'm going to see if I can get it on DVD.

Brona said...

Mr Books, B19 and B16 have been enjoying this to.

I'm Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Probably won't make it here in America any time soon....