Television, in the last few years, has not delivered well in the area of classic remakes. Straight off the bat, Aaron Spelling soapie Melrose Place was rebooted by the CW network in the US back in 2009 and failed miserably. Even with the addition of original cast members such as Laura Leighton, Josie Bissett and Heather Locklear, the show dived into a sinkhole that had no hope of survival. Beverly Hills 90210 also received a reboot a year before by the same network and while after 5 seasons, it’s still on the air, it does not hold the same following as the original show once did.
Aussie classic Prisoner is about to get the same treatment thanks to Foxtel and the SoHo Channel in the form of Wentworth. Prisoner was a game changer for television back in the 70’s and 80’s in how women were depicted in scripted television yet was a slightly dodgy and kitchy classic with larger than life characters and memorable one liners
By all reports, from those who have been lucky enough to see the first episode, we, the general public, are the suckers for having to wait until Wednesday to catch the pilot episode. Gone are the dodgy cardboard sets and the over-the-top melodrama that Prisoner was known for, instead, we get a steely eyed head first decent into the hard edged world filled with hard edged women, living a life in Wentworth.
Those familiar with the original will apparently notice subtle references to the original and characters including Doreen, Lizzy, Frankie Doyle and Vera Bennett return headlined by Bea Smith played this time round by Danielle Cormack. Along with Cormack, familiar faces including Catherine McClements and Kate Atkinson all appear.
From all accounts read, Wentworth appears to be a diamond in the rough that is not only for reborn classic television, but also for Australian drama.
Wentworth premieres this Wednesday, May 1st, on Foxtel’s SoHo Channel.