Close the hatches. Preppers it’s as outlandish as they come.
If all of your doomsday prophecies were crammed into one bunker, it might look a bit like the new ABC comedy, except this one comes with an indigenous lens. Having survived more than 40,000 years so far, how many hundreds of years pass between the last drinks?
Landing like an absurdist tale in the bush, the 6-part comedy stars Nakkiah Lui, who also co-creates with Gabriel Dowrick.
He plays a Wake up Australia TV host Charlie is engaged to her phone-obsessed producer (Grant Denyer) who she suspects is cheating with his co-host (Brooke Satchwell). While she is surrounded by success, morning television and all of her corporate trappings constantly frustrate her, especially when it comes to celebrating Australia Day sizzling with sausages. Dirty.
The series opens with Charlie’s awakening in Eden 2, a group of doomsday preppers preparing for the end, on land that belongs to his grandmother. And what a diverse group they are.
There’s alpha male Bear Grylls who wants to be Guy (Meyne Wyatt), Christian converts Kelly (Ursula Yovich) and Lionel (Chum Ehelepola), anti-colonial rebel Jayden (Aaron McGrath), and theory-obsessed podcaster Kirby (Eryn Jean Norvill ).
Guiding them all to safety, oblivion, or somewhere in between is the omniscient narrator Monty (Jack Charles) who has negotiated a 10,000-year lease on the land with Charlie’s grandmother, a deal he insists is ” just like a black dude’s ass. “
What drove them all to Eden 2 is a collective fear of zombies/kidnapping/global warming/white people/asteroids… take your pick, really, even if pandemics aren’t worth a mention on this richer scale.
Charlie is thrust into a boot camp of daring apocalyptic exercises, ready for the end whenever it comes. While it’s deliberately bizarre stuff, the key to it all lies in the words of wise Jack Charles: “We’re always trying to survive something, Charlie.” Honestly the man could make a take out menu look honeyed.
There are constant flashbacks to Charlie’s career in television before he veered off course, and it’s hard not to draw parallels to Indigenous subjects that have been mishandled in the genre (the orange band at the bottom of the screen is a dead ringer for Sunrise). Brooke Satchwell could easily double for Sam Armytage / Melissa Doyle / Georgie Gardner etc.
Luke Arnold also appears in the first episode as a mostly shirtless white recruit who tries too hard to be accepted, while episode 2 has Kate Miller-Heidke as herself, at least until a theatrical dream sequence as Eurovision.
The melting pot of ideas, conspiracy theories and disenfranchisement stirs with anger, cynicism, but also the ability to laugh at oneself.
Preppers may not be as scary as real rednecks Doomsday prepperand you may not always quite know what to do with it, but if the end is really near at least you will die with a smile on your face.
Preppers screens Wednesdays at 9:10pm on ABC.