Cleverman, the highly anticipated ABC TV series featuring an Australian superhero with roots deeply entrenched in indigenous mythology, will air in Australia on Thursday 2 June at 9:30pm
The series will debut just hours before in the US on SundanceTV on Wednesday, June 1 at 10/9c.
When Mediaweek spoke with Goalpost Pictures partner Rosemary Blight earlier this year, Blight credited Ryan Griffen with creating the series while working as an intern at the production company: “Ryan is particularly smart and comes from a place where the stories are fresh, new, and different. When he pitched Cleverman to us, no one else in the world had this story. Everyone was watching all this genre… they’re watching everyone else’s creature mythology and here we have our very own sitting in front of us. This young man said to us that he wanted his son to have his own superheroes. And that’s how Cleverman started.”
ABC TV & SundanceTV to premiere Cleverman as a global television event
Thursday, April 14, 2016 — Sydney and New York – ABC TV and SundanceTV together announced that the drama series Cleverman will launch in the United States on SundanceTV on Wednesday, June 1 at 10/9c and in Australia on ABC and ABC iview on Thursday, June 2 at 9.30pm.
Set in the near future, Cleverman is a startlingly original drama rooted in Aboriginal mythology. The series depicts a deeply conflicted and anxious society, fearful of a minority group, endowed with extraordinary physical traits, living among them. One young man – The Cleverman – struggles with his own power and the responsibility to unite this divided world, but he must first overcome a deep estrangement with his older brother. The series is based on an original concept by Ryan Griffen.
“Cleverman marks a new era for Australia’s production sector, inviting audiences to experience a bold new story-world where Aboriginal storytelling meets high concept genre drama. With an 80% Indigenous cast, Cleverman sets the benchmark for diversity on Australian television and its contemporary themes set in the near future will resonate widely amongst diverse audiences. We are delighted that our co-partners SundanceTV will screen the show to its US audiences in line with when our Australian audiences will experience it. A global television event for an Indigenous authored show…we’re excited!” said Sally Riley, Head of Indigenous, ABC TV.
“At its heart, Cleverman is a thrilling and sophisticated drama filled with conflict, unrest and smart storytelling. The show presents an allegorical view of some of the timeliest and urgent discussions going on our world right now – our collective treatment of minority groups and what common values we share that make us a society,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “What’s more, the show will feed our audience’s appetite for intrigue while adding an engrossing mix of fantasy. This is the type of program SundanceTV is known for, and we are proud to share this with audiences in the U.S. at the same time as our co-partners in Australia.”
“I have a huge love of superheroes and comics. It got me thinking about creating something cultural that my young son could connect to on a superhero basis,” said Ryan Griffen, Concept Originator. “I wanted to bring something Aboriginal, Indigenous, to that world. As the son of a light-skinned Aboriginal man and a light-skinned Aboriginal woman, it was important for me that my son had a cultural superhero that he could look up to as a young Aboriginal person… something he could connect to that was also entertaining.”
Cleverman features an ensemble cast led by award-winning actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Golden Globe® nominee Frances O’Connor (The Missing), Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires), Hunter Page-Lochard (The Sapphires), Rob Collins and Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games). Wayne Blair, director of the Australian box office hit The Sapphires and upcoming film Septembers of Shiraz, is lead director, with acclaimed director, writer, actress and performer Leah Purcell also directing. The series is produced by Goalpost Pictures Australia and New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures for ABC TV Australia in co-production with SundanceTV and Red Arrow International, with the assistance of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. Red Arrow International distributes Cleverman worldwide.