The cast of ABC drama The Time Of Our Lives. Photo ABC-TV
The cast of ABC drama The Time Of Our Lives. Photo ABC-TV Contributed

Seven may be axe-happy, but the ABC is here to save us

FOR those lamenting the cruel impermanence of quality Australian television productions following Channel Seven's utterly inexplicable decision to axe A Place To Call Home, take solace.

The ABC is here, and one of its flagship beauties is four days away from docking in port.

The Time of Our Lives (Thursdays, 8.30pm), back for a hotly-anticipated second season, works because it's us in the mirror: not always pretty, but real. Although I wish my cheekbones were as real as Claudia Karvan's.

It strikes a careful balance between the issues-overload common in soap operas (where you wish the writers would give some characters a damn break from the heartache) and a snorefest.

Because, let's face it, as much as we like seeing things that resonate and replicate our lives on TV - normal people's lives are, frankly, boring.

Imagine a Truman Show set-up filming your life 24-7. There's only so many hours an ordinary person can endure watching someone on TV watching TV.

Episode one looks like it runs right on from last season's finale: Bernadette gets her gene test results, Chai Li remains as conflicted as she was when introduced to us in the premiere and Caroline returns to work. Marriages are under strain and there's a bad accident just minutes in.

I love the men in this show, and the way they are drawn, using colours that are complex and rich, but always with a dark edge.

There's a lot of pain here, but it only serves to enhance the often small moments of delight...a warm hug, a funny face from the twins or a lingering smile.

Is it a worthy replacement for what is known in my mind as the "Janet King timeslot"? You bet it is.


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