Outback Noir and Megashifts in the Global TV Crime Landscape

Authored by: Susan Turnbull , Marion McCutcheon

The Routledge Companion to Global Television

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138724341
eBook ISBN: 9781315192468
Adobe ISBN:


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Since their first appearance on Australia’s unique second public service network, the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), Danish TV drama series have attracted considerable interest and much critical acclaim in Australia. Although the niche audience for these series may have initially been quite small, it was also extremely influential. As our research has revealed, this audience included Australian TV executives, producers, screenwriters and other creatives eager to emulate the success of the Danish series in reaching a global audience in an increasingly complex market. In the Australian context, hybrid TV dramas produced for Foxtel such as The Kettering Incident and the crime thriller, Secret City, demonstrate how the perceived qualities of the Danish series (in terms of their aesthetics, use of location and appeal to a global micromarket) have been appropriated and transformed. This is also evident in the Australian crime drama Mystery Road produced for the public service broadcaster, the ABC. This series, a spin-off from two award-winning films directed by Ivan Sen (Mystery Road 2013 and Goldstone 2016) involves both an indigenous detective and an outback setting. While such a setting and character might appear to be a long way from Denmark, we will argue that this series was enabled by a revitalisation of the Australian screen industry influenced by the success of Nordic Noir.

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