Here’s the plotline. A big, strapping hulk of a man travels from the backwaters of a small town to become a bouncer in an urban nightclub. And in being that bouncer, he becomes part enforcer, part detective, part hired muscle, part comedy relief.
And in doing so, we see not only his world, but the world around him – a vintage world of crime and sex and highs and lows.
This could be interesting, right? Some rube who moved from (let’s say) Utica to work at a gambling house in (let’s say) Atlantic City. Now you’ve got all the drama and action and excitement on your television screen.
But we’re going to take the plotline – and we’re going to move it to the 1980’s, and place it in the notorious King’s Cross neighborhood of Sydney, Australia.
Ladies and gentlemen … I introduce you to Les Norton.
Les Norton is based on a series of popular Australian crime dramas, and although there have been several attempts to bring the character to the big screen, this is the first time the book series has made it to television. The Australian Broadcasting Company has commissioned a ten-episode series, with plenty of content culled from the dozens of published books about Norton and his world.
Oh, and did you happen to notice Rebel Wilson was in this?
Yes, THAT Rebel Wilson. She plays a shotgun-packing brothel owner.
In other words … a role totally designed for Rebel Wilson. 😀
Through various connections, I did get a glimpse of the first three episodes of this series. And there’s a couple of things that definitely caught my attention.
This show is thick on the Australian slang and jargon and vernacular. Thick like vegemite spread. It also has a liberal dose of 1980’s-era Oz rock – heck, the trailer alone gives us the Divinyls’ “Boys in Town” and Mental as Anything’s “Live It Up,” so you know they’re pulling that playlist from Triple J or EON FM…
Now could a show like Les Norton make it up to the United States? I don’t know. PBS’ Masterpiece Theater did air an Australian drama decades ago (the series “A Town Called Alice”), but that’s been it. Maybe BBC America could pull this show into their schedule when they’re NOT running Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns? (Really, BBC America? Some of the greatest UK science fiction TV shows like Blake’s 7 and Sapphire and Steel and Red Dwarf and we’ve got reruns of ST:TNG?)
It’s tough, though. If an Australian drama gets any sort of international popularity, the show won’t make it to America – unless it’s completely redone with American actors or with an American concept. Case in point – three different Aussie dramas / reality shows, Kath & Kim, The Slap and My Kitchen Rules, were “Americanized” – and all three completely flopped. Flopped like Collingwood in the 2018 AFL Grand Final. (What, too soon?)
Hell, even a recent Aussie show that I totally hearted, the 1970’s period drama Love Child, only made it as far as Canada in its unedited version … but couldn’t get across the border to the States. Oi.
But yeah, I’m going to keep an eye out for sightings of Les Norton. Because maybe a show like this could find a home on Netflix. Or perhaps as an additional offering on HBO or Showtime.
I mean, come on. It’s got a big muscled redheaded hunk as the main character.
And if that’s not enough … it’s also got Rebel Wilson. And she’s got a shotgun. And she owns a brothel.
Fair dinkum, amirite?