A Glitch in the System: The ABC’s undead gamble

Television was once considered the junk food of the arts world, a source of content that could turn even the most lively mind into a half-dead couch potato.

These days, TV viewers are no longer considered square-eyed zombies: rather, it’s widely acknowledged that the masses are active consumers of televisual entertainment; that they have control over what, when and how they watch. Well, in most cases.

Among the veritable global smorgasbord of exciting and stimulating options available to viewers, Australia has been lagging behind (so often the case – we should consider renaming our anthem ‘We’ll-Catch-Up-With-Youse Australia Fair’). The recent arrival of streaming services like Stan and the much-anticipated local version of Netflix have pushed Australia into the present, and finally (finally!) our great national broadcaster has been obliged to catch up.

Immediately following its ABC1 debut on 19 July, all six episodes of Glitch were made available on ABC iView for viewers to lap up at their own pace – at home over the weekend, on the train on the way to work or even when they got to work.

Produced by the inimitable Matchbox Pictures, Glitch is a haunting drama about a fictional small town where the dead are climbing out of their graves and, seemingly, coming back to life. When local police officer James Haynes (Patrick Brammall) is called to Yoorana’s cemetery, he’s shocked to discover that one of the six hobbling, naked and mud-caked bodies emerging from the ground is his recently deceased wife Kate (Emma Booth). Alongside the quietly suspicious local doctor Elishia McKellar (Genevieve O’Reilly), James attempts to uncover the mystery around the sudden return of the dead, while hiding their return from the general public.

Each episode works to establish the identity of one of these six previously-dead, now undead strangers, and their individual connection to the town’s history. This takes place via a series of surreal and cannily incorporated flashbacks that fuse the past and the present in eerie dissolves. These instalments are purposefully alluring and disorientating, accompanied by the haunting echoes of the series’ soundtrack.

Read more at Kill Your Darlings.

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