Monday, August 22, 2016

Banished

I'm coming temporarily out of hiatus because I feel the need to talk about the TV show I watched last week.

It's called Banished, and it's a BBC program about the first hanging in New South Wales.

Well, it's the first hanging of a white person.  I'm not sure if the Aboriginal folks used hanging as an execution method.

Speaking of Aboriginal people, Banished did not show any of them, though they were mentioned occasionally.  So I think there might have been some complaints about the whole white-washing thing.  However, Jimmy McGovern, the creator of the show has an answer to all that, which is laid out in this article that he wrote.

McGovern says...Banished is not a drama about the settlement of Australia, it is not a broad, sweeping colonial history taking in months or even years of events. Instead it concentrates on a specific set of fictional events which take place over a couple of weeks within the confines of the camp – a story about a love triangle and how Australia got its first hangman. And he says,
 I chose not to include any Aboriginal characters as I was clear that story needed to be told properly, and that Indigenous people shouldn't be included in a tokenistic way as simply background characters.

McGovern wanted to do a second series which would be about Aboriginal Australians, and he planned to have the stories be written by Aboriginal Australians. That would be wonderful, but unfortunately BBC has cancelled the show.

The other imperfect thing about Banished is it's not historically accurate. Most of the characters are named after, and based on, real people.  But the drama of the story is invented.

It IS a great story, though. I loved it.

Yikes. I had so much to say, and now I'm tongue-tied.  Or...fingers tied.

Well, I guess the correct term is writer's block.

Maybe I'll just start by talking about Ryan Corr. He's in the show.  I have a thing for him.  It's not a crush.  I'm not romantically attracted to him in any way.  I just kind of adore him.  With most actors, it takes me some time to warm up to them.  But with Corr, it was like fandom at first sight.  I was attracted to him as soon as I saw him in Packed to the Rafters. 

Crap. I feel like I'm not explaining this right.  I'm using the wrong words.  Fandom makes it sound like I go to Ryan Corr fan club meetings and have created Instagram accounts dedicated to him.  It's not like that. And when I say attracted, it does sound like a romantic-crush type thing.  But it's not.

If anything, the feelings are similar to the feelings I have for desserts that contain red bean paste.  I highly enjoy these treats, but I haven't joined their fan club, and I don't have fantasies about marrying them.

So...anyway....

Keeping on the subject of Ryan Corr, I also recently saw him in Wolf Creek 2.  I don't handle slasher films as well as I did back when I was a teen.  But still...I enjoyed it.  I was very stressed when John Jarrett was playing the Australia trivia game with Corr.  I imagined it happening to me, and worried that I would fail on some of the questions.  I could relate to Corr's character, because he was a foreigner visiting Australia who happened to know a bit about Australia history.

And now I'll move away from the subject of the wonderfully, brilliant, fantastic, Ryan Corr.

I wish I could find someone who has seen Banished, so I could discuss it with them.  There are things about the show that are plaguing my soul.  The main thing is I didn't like the character that was described as being heroic—Tommy Barrett.  He was supposed to be Christ-like, and I just saw him as kind of an ass.  I mean I don't think he was awful, but he did things that made me angry.  Or actually, it's what he didn't do that made me most angry.

My favorite character was James Freeman.  Freeman's played by Russell Tovey, who I know from the Kylie Minogue episode of Doctor Who, and the one episode of Being Human we watched.  Well, he's in more then one episode of Being Human. He's one of the stars, actually. It's just we only got through one episode.

James Freeman, in real life, because the first hangman of Australia. Banished is a fictional account of how that all came to be.  I don't know what the true story is like, but the one invented by Jimmy McGovern is VERY sad and intense.  It's great drama.  It's the kind of drama that makes me feel I need a therapy session or a support group to help me process it all.

I really liked Freeman and had complete sympathy for the choices he makes on Banished.  He's hated, though, by the other characters in the story.  It makes me wonder if most of the other viewers agree with me, or do most viewer see him as a unlikeable character.

It's fascinating to me that people view characters in such vastly different ways.  I see it with Coronation Street.  I'll watch an episode and have a ton of sympathy and understanding for a character.  Then, after watching, I'll read the comments, on Hulu, and I'll see someone bitching about that character that I liked.  Sometimes there will be a fight between two characters.  I'm on one person's side, and the commenter is totally on the other's.

Here's another thing.  I don't know if it's because I'm getting up there in years or the Internet has made it possible for us to reach out to people who were once much more unattainable, but lately I've had very strong urges to send messages to fictional people.  It happened with James Freeman. I really wanted to write him a letter telling him that he's not completely alone; that I'm on his side.  A few months ago, I watched House, and was very tempted to write angry letters to one of the characters.

I'd also probably write a letter to Ryan Corr's character in Wolf Creek 2.  THAT guy needs some major moral support.

Before I end this, a few other things....

I watched the second season of Wentworth and loved that.  Back to the subject of lacking diversity, though.  I think the show needs some improvements there.  As far as I know, Australia has the same problem as we do—locking up more black people than white.  I think both our prisons are racially disproportionate.  Yet, out of all the main characters on Wentworth, only one of them is aboriginal. Well, and there's also a black prison guard. But still.  I think there should be more aboriginal characters.

The only excuse I can think of is that prisons in Melbourne are less diverse than prisons in central Australia.  Maybe Melbourne prisons really do have mostly white people.  I don't know....

The other thing I want to mention is I've been reading Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies.  I've been reading it for many months, so I might have also been reading it before my hiatus began. The reason for this is I was going through a phase of reading multiple books at once.

But anyway, I am loving the book, and don't want it to end.  I'd like it to go on and on forever.  I want to stay with these characters until the end of their natural life. OR maybe even beyond that.

Big Little Lies says some big, and little, things about bullying and domestic violence. There's some very intense, stressful drama in there.

A TV show based on the book has been made.  I think it's coming out this year. I'm very disappointed that the characters and setting aren't going to be Australian, but I might give in and watch it anyway.

Well...that's all for now.  If you managed to read all or some of this post, thank you!  Lately, I'm somewhat surprised and impressed by any traffic I get that is not Kate Jenkinson related.  These days, most visitors to my blog are looking for Jenkinson.  Though today they're seeking out Little Patty.  But I'm sure, in a few days, Jenkinson will dominate again.