Review: Cleverman

Koen is a human trafficker, not a typical profession for a character in a superhero themed television show and even less likely for a central character. In a near future Australia, Koen is an young, urbanised indigenous man running a scam – sneaking “hairies” out of the restricted zone in which they are forced to live. A formerly clandestine group of people who are stronger, longer lived and hairier than most, the hairies are regarded as too violent and dangerous to live among humans…

This first episode is heavy on world building and while the ideas and analogies are not stunningly original, using the multiple contexts of Australian Aboriginal mythology, the marginalisation of indigenous peoples in Australia and Australia’s harsh mandatory detention policies for refugees gives them added weight.

Veteran actor Jack Charles adds an a supernatural element to the story – summoning some sort of meteor/monster and setting off a chain of events that will directly effects Koen.

An unlikable hero, and an original take on some old ideas, Cleverman looks very promising.

An episode recap at The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/jun/02/cleverman-recap-season-one-episode-one-supernatural-and-political

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2 comments

  1. snowcrash

    I’ve been quite interested in this since seeing the trailer a while back. How are the production values and acting? Haven’t seen an Aussie production in a while, but I’m kinda afraid as lower production values kinda make me twitch, and I remember some of the older OzSF (Girl From Tomorrow et al) as being…narm-y.

    I’m spoiled, I know, but….

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    • camestrosfelapton

      Decent enough production values for a drama series. The same locations are used over and over of course. Dialogue was a bit weak in places but I’ll wait to see how that pans out – this first episode had to cover a lot of back story, so lots of attempts to do little info-dumps in naturalistic conversations.
      Story isn’t reliant on special effects – really the only thing was the extra body hair on the hairy people – which I thought was cool but someone else in the house thought looked too 1960s werewolf movie.

      It certainly got over my ‘fun’ threshold. I’ll have to wait and see if it hits ‘great’.

      AV Club has a full review of the whole season (it’s showing on the Sundance channel in the US apparently http://www.avclub.com/review/aboriginal-fantasy-cleverman-too-busy-building-wor-237354 )

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