Bloodshed, horror and sensationalism

This afternoon Channel 9 announced a new show starting this Sunday. Not sure if they were planning this before Carl Williams was killed but it’s definitely related to their Carl Williams: Baby Faced Killer show from earlier this week.

It’s possible that they discovered how quickly they can put this kind of material together and have some solid gold ratings filler by just throwing together some old news footage and shoving Vince Colosimo in a sound booth for a few hours to read a few lines of voiceover.

Called Australian Families of Crime, the whole exercise feels like a cynical attempt to plug in to an audience’s basest interests. What once seemed like the sensational and exploitative homeland of Channel 10, with their Cops / Hard Copy programming is now wholly occupied by Channel 9.

The flag they plant to claim this land as their own is in the titles of the episodes. The first is called Milat: Backpacker Bloodshed. Shocking, isn’t it.

There is, in our culture, a fascination with the macabre. I love stories of serial killers and other true crime when they’re told well. The producers of Crime Investigations Australia, credited with creating this series, have told some great stories of Australian serial killers and other criminals. They have never, however, shied away from an exploitative production style.

It’s the speed with which this series was announced and slammed onto the air (announced on Thursday and airing on Sunday) that stinks of exploitation. Capitalising on criminal behaviour is a very tight rope to walk. What makes the Underbelly series an acceptable pulp story but Baby Faced Killer a soul-less profiteering on somebody’s horrible crimes and gruesome death? Maybe it’s just time but then the adage states that timing is everything.

Australian Families of Crime airs at 9:30pm Sunday on Channel 9.

6 Comments

  1. I reckon you didn't watch “Carl Williams: Baby Faced Killer”, because if you did, you'd know that it was just an episode of “Australian Families of Crime” that Nine rushed to air because of the sudden interest in him. The whole series was probably already in the can, because I can recall seeing a 'coming soon' promo for the series during the “Underbelly: The Golden Mile” premiere.

  2. I reckon you didn't watch “Carl Williams: Baby Faced Killer”, because if you did, you'd know that it was just an episode of “Australian Families of Crime” that Nine rushed to air because of the sudden interest in him. The whole series was probably already in the can, because I can recall seeing a 'coming soon' promo for the series during the “Underbelly: The Golden Mile” premiere.

  3. I reckon you didn't watch “Carl Williams: Baby Faced Killer”, because if you did, you'd know that it was just an episode of “Australian Families of Crime” that Nine rushed to air because of the sudden interest in him. The whole series was probably already in the can, because I can recall seeing a 'coming soon' promo for the series during the “Underbelly: The Golden Mile” premiere.

  4. You reckon correctly. I didn't watch Baby Faced Killer. I meant to put in a line about suspecting that it all might be part of the same series.

    Channel 9 call it a “seven-part documentary-drama series” in their media release. Ordinarily a series like this would have eight parts.

    Did you watch the Carl Williams one? Was it any good or did it just stink of crime profiteering?

  5. You reckon correctly. I didn't watch Baby Faced Killer. I meant to put in a line about suspecting that it all might be part of the same series.

    Channel 9 call it a “seven-part documentary-drama series” in their media release. Ordinarily a series like this would have eight parts.

    Did you watch the Carl Williams one? Was it any good or did it just stink of crime profiteering?

  6. You reckon correctly. I didn't watch Baby Faced Killer. I meant to put in a line about suspecting that it all might be part of the same series.

    Channel 9 call it a “seven-part documentary-drama series” in their media release. Ordinarily a series like this would have eight parts.

    Did you watch the Carl Williams one? Was it any good or did it just stink of crime profiteering?

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