Video: Official Trailer Rake [US] (FOX Broadcasting)
The Australian TV show Rake has been licensed to FOX to allow them to violate our favourite comedy drama. The pilot episode has been filmed with actor Greg Kinnear (Stuck on You, Little Miss Sunshine) playing the hapless lead character of Cleaver Greene (Keegan Deane) and the series has been given a green light.
Obviously Cleaver was too much of an Aussie name for FOX, which is funny as I’ve never heard of anyone in Australia named Cleaver myself.
A lot of the Australian production and creative team have flown over to the US to help do the remake, with help from Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man 3, Xena: Warrior Princess), and Kinnear as Executive Producer. The trailer seems to have the script down pretty well, but I’m sorry I can’t agree with the choice of Kinnear for the lead role. He just doesn’t ham it up enough for me. Let’s hope he gets real cheesy after the pilot.
In the Australian version of Rake the lead is played by the exceptionally talented actor Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing, Moulin Rouge!). Roxburgh is loved in Australia for his excellent character portrayal of one of our former Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke who has a very distinctive nasal tone and strange shuffle in the 2010 TV mini-series Hawke.
Rake has been a striking success for our public broadcaster ABC who are usually lucky if they place fourth in the ratings. Primarily, I think because Roxburgh has taken the character of Cleaver Greene and created an Aussie icon whom we can’t help but love even though he is a dodgy barrister who gambles, defends schmucks, sleeps with lots of women, and falls in love with a prostitute (based on the real-life criminal barrister, Charles Waterstreet!).
The Rake script is superbly witty but very farcical and therefore Roxburgh carries the bulk of the belief of the audience along with him.
I understand why FOX wants to recreate this little gem, but honestly can you think of any decent TV show adaptations apart from The Office [US] and Wilfred [US]? Kath & Kim [US] failed miserably because, guess what, you don’t have yuppie bogans anywhere else but in Australia!
Wilfred I believe was improved when it moved to the US as it provided an opportunity to revise the script and also due to the addition of the understated talent of Elijah Wood in the lead. I just never got into Adam Zwar as the lead in the Australian version, but never fear as I love him in Lowdown and everything else he does!
Is the Australian accent just too difficult for an US audience to understand? Well, fuck me, it took me 3 seasons of The Sopranos before I could turn off the sub-titles because I couldn’t understand a word of Tony Soprano and Co. Was that a swear word in Italian or did he just give “instructions” for his cat to be murdered?
I say, give the US version a small chance and if it rubs you the wrong way join us and watch the original!
In the meantime, give us Roxburgh back so he can continue to make series 3 in Australia, I’m having withdrawals!
Video: Rake Series 1 Teaser [Australia] (ABC1)
Previously on Sampling Station:
- Bullet in the Face – Psychopath or Sexy Cad?
- Big Train: The Best Sketch Show Ever?
- Prisoner: Cell Block H – Why are they remaking a TV classic?