The Cul de Sac

A new show debuted last night on local television. A kids TV show where the kids are left to fend for themselves in the absence of both adults and functioning technology. The encouraging part is that it’s not Survivor Junior or Misadventures in Babysitting, instead it’s a mystery drama featuring up and coming young actors you haven’t (yet) seen recycled through every other local show and can’t quite help see them as such-and-such from that show you won’t admit to watching.

The show is called The Cul de Sac and is billed as ‘like nothing you’ve seen before.’ Well, not to throw stones but it sounds more than a bit like a cross between The Tribe and Revolutions with a bit of Maddigan’s Quest thrown for atmosphere.

Somehow I managed to avoid hearing about this show until debut despite knowing several people working on it, which is shameful from my point of view because the idea and the production itself is the sort of thing I’d want to work on. I could drop the names of these people but at least one of them scares me so I’m making an effort to stay on her good side. With that in mind I really wanted to like it and was waiting eagerly for the screening to roll around.

So what was there to see? Some good production values, none of the hyper real home-video look you can get with some shows or HD done wrong, moody, dark and stormy sets. Literally. In short, the adults are all gone, the internet is down, mum’s car won’t start and the dog’s gone crazy. As one cast member, with his impossibly understated uber hipster hairstyle and ironic glasses states, ‘it’s the apocalypse.’

The internet is down. Also you have to make your own breakfast. In the real world apocalypse those gelled up hairstyles wouldn’t last the day but in a limited six episode run I give them four to five unless a suitably dishevelled look is called for. Start your timers.

So after giving the angry dog the slip the kids all congregate at their local school, Albany Senior High standing in unless I’m mistaken. Where post-apocalypse frontman Doni is holding court with his keys to the…school. It’s a fantasy, alright, the kids want to get into school. Because there’s a storm coming. And nobody made lunch. Also Doni seems like he’ll be the quasi-evil adversary to nominal good guy/girl Rose. There’s already been a bit of sib-napping because the ‘little kids and specials needs ones will just slow us down.’ Or something to that affect. Brave new world. Rose’s first rescue mission. There will be others.

And then there’s that approaching storm and the wave that comes with it. The one that wiped out all the adults, seems like. And broke all the toys and made the…dogs go crazy. Pun intended. Short story long, Doni choose who lives or…gets vaporised by the ‘wave.’ Rose and friends are stuck outside but manage to seek shelter despite hair-boy, his name is Jack and he’s lived across the road from Rose but never told her how he felt, look, you know how this one goes and is going to go, right?

As I was saying, despite Jack falling flat on his face and dramatically calling out for the girls to leave him is followed up by the best moment of the premiere. The girls hauling him to his feet and admonishing him ‘don’t be a dick.’

I like to think they adlibbed this.

It’s a kid’s show, remember. It’s a little clunky and awkward, some cliché plots but everything is cliché these days. And on top of that it’s a pilot episode so no one has had a chance to settle into their characters yet. Re-watch the first episode of Game of Thrones and you’ll find it’s just as heavy on the exposition and more than a bit unsettled. And that was the one they reshot! Like I said, I really want to like this show, because it shows promise and a chance to cultivate some new faces and ideas in a very tired part of our industry. There’s none of the ‘from the creator/producer/director/heck-the-whole-team of that-other show’ and it shows. Six episodes isn’t a long run but it could be the start of one. Maybe that’s why the tease for the next episode gave away a lot more than I would have expected. But again this isn’t unusual with kids shows. There’s a lot of promise here so I’m willing to give it a chance to live up to that.

The Cul de Sac

Sunday, TV2, 6PM, or Ondemand


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