30 Seconds delivers

I’m going to nail my colours to the mast from the outset here. I think 30 Seconds is great. Have a quick watch of this teaser – as far as I know, it’s an online exclusive. I’ll be back in, well, 90 seconds, actually.   


I watched a preview of the first episode last night with some trepidation.

The potential for a sitcom (not that they’d call it that) set in an ad agency to be a steaming pile is extremely high. I still remember an utterly dreadful sitcom from a decade ago called The Creatives which was set in a Scottish agency. Fortunately, even YouTube doesn’t seem to remember it. it’s easier to get it wrong than right.

30 Seconds, is an altogether classier offering.

First, the writing, was a labour of love. Three Drunk Monkeys’ Justin Drape and Scott Nowell plus Prodigy’s Tim Bullock have been working on this for years. It must be very weird for them right now, having the work in the can, but the punters not yet having seen it.

Then the company behind it. It’s Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films, which is also responsible for The Gruen Transfer.

And there’s a great cast too. Stephen Curry, who plays McBaney, the agency producer, was the best thing about men’s mag sitcom Stupid, Stupid Man . And Gyton Grantley – who played Carl Williams in Underbelly – is very funny as art director Sumo. In fact, all of the casting works, including Kat Stewart as client Marion West, and Joel Tobeck as creative director Martin Manning.

I think half the fun is working out which real life industry characters they’re all based on. Sumo started a T-shirt label, so he’s clearly Adam Hunt. The coming weeks will be a fun industry game naming the others.

Naturally there’s a bit of exposition in the first episode for non industry folk. But the backdrop is real enough – the underperforming Sydney outpost of global network BND Worldwide; the client who wants to keep an annoying brand icon; the client who wants to get rid of a much loved (and agency created) brand icon; the dead brand icon; the psychopathic new CEO; the awkward client-creative relationship.

But, more to the point, there’s a proper storyline, laughs, and decent characters. Enough, I think, to be of wider appeal beyond the industry audience.

Without a doubt it’s the best piece of original entertainment that Foxtel has commissioned to date. It’s obviously going to do well at the Astra Awards, but I think it’s going to do better than just that.

I can’t wait to see the rest of the series. There are only six episodes so far – a recommission is going to be urgently needed.

It goes to air on the Comedy Channel on Monday September 7.

(Update: I’ve now watched the other five episodes. They’re equally good.)

 Tim Burrowes


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