Sunday, July 4, 2010

Australian Television: Tangle, Introduction

Tangle is an Australian drama created for the Showcase channel.  Filmed in Melbourne, the show chronicles the lives of two generations of two families, the Williams' and the Kovac's.  The lives the characters lead are well described by the series title as everything is tangled.  Even the opening sequence depicts unhappy, tangled and disorderly lives:  a dollhouse where some the occupants include a woman dining alone, a couple who is seemingly angry with one another, etc.  Each episode runs approximately 50-60 minutes and the show consists of one completed season with a second season to begin shortly.

The cast features:  Ally Kovac (Justine Clark, All Saints), Max Williams (Blake Davis), Gabriel Lucas (Matt Day), Romeo Kovac (Lincoln Younes, City Homicide), Tim Willaims (Joel Tobeck), Christine Williams (Catherine McClements, Water Rats & Rush) and Nat Manning (Kat Stewart, City Homicide & BlueHeelers).

No one character appears to be the central focus of the show from what I can see.  All of them take center stage at one point or another as the complex fabric that is their lives is woven from episode to episode.  Max Williams is an intelligent, sensitive and quiet young man who is, in so many ways, the exact opposite of his cousin, Romeo Kovac.  Romeo is seemingly in competition with Max (if not full-out jealous of him) in several aspects of their lives including competing for the attentions of a girl they are both friends with, Charlotte Barker.  Vince Kovac isn't a very likable man.  He has some serious anger management issues, he's crude and is cheating on his wife and makes no attempt to hide it from anyone except his wife, Ally.  His behavior creates a whole host of problems but he blames everyone but himself for them.  Ally Kovac is often too apologetic and eager to please others instead of reaching out to grab what she really wants even though she's not very happy.  She seems content to live with what life has given her.  Nat Manning is known for being a wild child and she lives up to that reputation very well.  Gigi Kovac is a budding voyeur and snoop who is constantly spying on everyone around her and rifling through other peoples belongings.  Gigi gets on my nerves a bit and I can't help but think that child needs to be set straight about her behavior.  Tim Williams is a driven and successful politician but he also has a caring side to him.  Christine Williams often comes off to me as being insecure, jealous and controlling.  She wants things a certain way and is angry if they don't turn out how she wants them.  She wants to win--always.  I truly do want to be sympathetic to her but I'm finding that a pretty difficult order.

The 'tangled' lives of the characters is truly complex.  Nat Manning and Tim Williams are Max Williams' biological parents from an affair they had 15 years ago.  Christine Williams is Max's adoptive mother and wife to Tim.  Nat Manning and Ally Kovac are sisters.  Max Williams and Romeo Kovac are cousins.  Charlotte Barker, Max & Romeo's friend, is the daughter of Em Barker, the woman Vince Kovac is having an affair with.  Romeo is actively pursuing Charlotte despite the fact Max is fond of her.  Romeo knows this and that fuels him all the more.  Charlotte has been romantically involved with both Romeo and Max.

I first saw Kat Stewart as Claire in season one of City Homicide.  I liked her character there and I like her in Tangle.  In both, she is a woman who is beautiful and perfect on the outside but deeply flawed on the inside.  She's very believable in roles of this nature and a pleasure to watch on screen.  I'm very sympathetic to the Nat Manning character even though she causes a lot of her own problems.  I find Nat to be almost heartbreaking in a lot of ways.  It was because of her that I first started watching Tangle.

Tangle isn't faced paced action by any means.  It's a complex drama that moves along at a pace that isn't so slow it feels like it's plodding along but not so fast the viewer feels lost as to what is happening.  Someone who likes their drama to move along at a rapid pace might not find this show to their taste.  I think Tangle appeals most to viewers who enjoy a complex drama that leaves them thinking long after the episode is over.  They wonder what will happen next and think about how the characters got to the point they're at.  American television would probably label it a "night time soap opera" but there's nothing amateurishly silly about Tangle like you would find on your typical "soap opera".

Filming of a second season began on February 1, 2010 and wrapped up on March 19, 2010.  The second season will run six episodes and premiere on July 20, 2010.

For more information on Tangle:
Showtime Australia:
TV Rage:
Internet Movie Database:

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