“The Newsreaders” on Arte: Doubts and Despair – Media

It’s 1986. In the newsroom of an Australian TV station, young reporter Dale Jennings (Sam Reid) is rushing to shoot a news clip, while in the studio his colleague Helen Norville (Anna Torv) is working alongside aging top dog Geoff Walters (Robert Taylor) hosts the daily news. Helen is where Dale wants to be, representing everything he wants to be: confident, talented and competent, while winning the hearts of viewers. Unlike Dale, she seems to have been made to work in front of the camera.

Away from the cameras, however, Helen is emotionally unstable and is plagued by recurring anxiety attacks, which she self-medicates with a generous dose of pills. When Helen is fired after an argument with the choleric editor-in-chief Lindsay (William McInnes), she overdoses. Dale finds her, and a purely professional relationship grows into something more.

The relationship between Dale and Helen remains – that doesn’t happen often – exciting over the nearly six hours that all episodes of the series The news readers added last. That’s because it’s an unlikely relationship: the sexual chemistry between the leading man and the leading lady seems very low, largely due to Dale’s sexual ambiguity: he seems genuinely in love with Helen, while at the same time feeling attracted to men and despairing of some Place. Sam Reid plays this doubt and despair impressively.

A great ensemble series with social relevance

The news readers is a great cast ensemble series: Reid, who will be in the 2022 reboot of Interview with a vampire succeeded, and Anna Torv, last seen as Tess in The Last of Us, play exceptionally well-written, multi-dimensional characters in a complex web of relationships. The series was conceived and written by Michael Lucas and directed by Emma Freeman. with The news readers the two of them not only manage a skilfully staged drama, but also a successful social panorama of the eighties.

Helen not only struggles with her anxiety attacks, but also against social realities that are reflected in the world of work. Their attempts to make the suffering of people infected with HIV and AIDS or the perspective of Aborigines the subject of the program are repeatedly blocked. In addition, as a young, successful woman, she finds herself exposed to the envy of co-newsreader Geoff and the encroachment of editor-in-chief Lindsey – who in some scenes even comes across as threatening if the forebodings remain. When they address the realities of the world of work long before #Outcry and #MeToo, the makers of the series limit themselves to showing things unembellished, unexcited and without judgement. They rely on mature viewers who recognize and classify homophobia, racism and misogyny themselves. That much trust is good.

The small and big news of the year 1986 – including the challengers-crash and the Chernobyl catastrophe – actually only play a role in the course of the series insofar as they are understood by the journalists as professional opportunities. It is different in the case of the AIDS crisis, which is the central theme of the fifth episode. On the one hand, Dale is indirectly affected here, on the other hand, in this episode, the viewers are made aware of the diffuse fear of AIDS and the hostility and pity towards gays that prevailed in the eighties. Out in the world – and also in the TV studio.

From February 2nd at 11:50 p.m kindall episodes in the media library.

You can find more series recommendations here.

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