Those who have DirectTV and tune into channel 101 often have probably seen the show Underbelly which aired in the beginning months of this year and was advertised as the Australian true to life version of The Sopranos. Or if you’re as crazy as I am and ordered an uncut DVD copy of Underbelly from Australia about two years ago on ebay and then drove two and a half hours to the Mexican boarder to buy a region 4 DVD player to watch it-damn those country codes! But not everyone can be as crazy as I am. As for the rest of you deprived Americans that have not seen this wonderful true crime Australian drama series, you are missing out!
The series retells the story of Australia’s gangland wars. Season one retelling the most recent events that took place in Melbourne, Victoria between the years 1995-2004. One of the most shocking scenes in which Jason Moran was murdered while in the driver’s seat of his car by a hitman as his children and other children sat in the backseat to bare witness to his death. This broke all codes since he was killed in broad daylight and in front of children none the less. When the man that ordered the hit, Carl Williams, was told it would be done after a child soccer game, he simply responded “they’ll get over it.”
But don’t get in your cars and drive to the Mexican boarder to buy your compatible DVD players just yet! America will finally be exposed to one of Australia’s best shows since Starz President Chris Albrecht has bought the rights to Underbelly. Albrecht is also responsible for such hit HBO shows as Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, and of course The Sopranos while he worked for HBO. So it is of no real surprise he would take a liking to Underbelly.
It will be interesting to see retellings of our own American Underbelly, but it would be a great idea to air the Australian first season on Starz before beginning the “American version” so everyone can have an equal opportunity to be exposed to the show that started it all. Plus, if the show begins to go stale, they can always explore other countries and base seasons on their most prolific gangland war events; in effect they will never run out of ideas.
No information has been released as of yet, what time in American history the first season will be focused in on. As soon as the story is chosen and script writing is finalized, casting and filming will most likely follow soon after. Then American’s will finally understand what it means to say, “It’s a jungle out there.”
Karl Quinn, “Underbelly to Get US TV Makeover” Brisbane Times