It took until November, but the 10th finally has a new local drama, the first of the year.
Originally conceived as With intenta co-production with Channel 5 owned by ViacomCBS, Lie with me was created by Neighborhood executive producer Jason Herbison and produced by Fremantle. Neighborhood director Scott Major is back behind the camera again here, and former Ramsay Street hunk Brett Tucker is the male lead.
However the tone is more playful, bouncing between melodrama and thriller in ways that would make Izzy Hoyland proud….
Tucker plays Jake, a wealthy lawyer, with golden locks and a fantastic physique, husband of the Englishwoman Anna (Charlie Brooks) and father of two small children. They live on an Australian version of DallasSouthfork (shall I take a wild guess at Lysterfield?) cared to within an inch of its life.
But there’s trouble in the bush paradise, with Anna recovering from crashes in the UK and questions about Jake’s allegiance.
Enter attractive young nanny Becky (Phoebe Roberts) who is here to help with the children – yes right – but is warned by handsome gardener Liam (Alfie Gledhill): “Something is wrong with this house. . . Get out while you can.” I’m reaching for the popcorn, ready for something in the mood for The hand that rocked the cradle, fatal attraction OR Return to Eden Please.
There’s a fair bit of signage in the early scenes and even a strange cliché (“This country is full of things that can kill you”), but it’s all in good fun and comes with wide shots of shirtless Brett Tucker. Jake’s mother Cynthia (Caroline Gillmer) also sows doubts about this marriage as Becky begins to wonder what she’s gotten herself into.
But it’s Anna who is the central character here, presumably as part of the show’s fairly obvious tone for British viewers. She confides in Becky that Jake may return to his adulterous ways and hires private detective Ray (Neil Melville) to help spy on his whereabouts.
In its 4 episodes the cast will also include Nadine Garner, Bert LaBonté, Frank Magree and Stephen Lopez.
Like another recent miniseries The secrets it keeps, if you don’t take it too seriously, this is easy entertainment. Characters go to great lengths to achieve their goals when logic might suggest a quicker solution, but that doesn’t necessarily fit into episodic drama. It’s also a bit over produced… I’m not so sure that after a 2am marital fight one gets the idea to sit outside with a bottle of red, turn on the festoon light and light 3 tea candles.
But those complaints can be set aside for the broader, more accessible fun of this carnival ride, with a cast clearly relishing the liberty of showing how their other half lives and shattering perfect family portraits. If only 10 could play drama pool a little more than once a year please?
Lie with Me airs Wednesday 10 at 8:40pm.