Wonderland (Australian TV series)

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Wonderland
Promotional Logo.jpg
Wonderland promotional logo
Genre
  • Comedy
  • Drama
Created by
Starring
Opening theme "(Come On) Come Inside"
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 44 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)
  • Jo Porter
  • Andy Walker
Location(s) Sydney
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) FremantleMedia Australia
Release
Original network Network Ten
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 21 August 2013 (2013-08-21) – 20 May 2015 (2015-05-20)

Wonderland is an Australian television romantic comedy drama series. It was first broadcast on Network Ten on 21 August 2013. The series was co-created by Jo Porter and Sarah Walker. The series is set in an apartment building and focuses on four couples as they navigate love, life and friendships. Wonderland features an ensemble cast and is filmed on location in Sydney. Three seasons of Wonderland were broadcast, before it was announced on 26 October 2015 that the show had been cancelled. The series has also aired in Europe and the United States.

Premise[edit]

Wonderland focuses on the lives and loves of four couples, who live in an apartment block in Sydney, Australia. Womaniser Tom (Michael Dorman) places a bet that he will not have sex with a female flatmate for 12 months – otherwise he will lose his beloved car. However, his ideal woman, Miranda (Anna Bamford) soon moves in with him. The other couples are the recently married Steve (Tim Ross) and Dani (Jessica Tovey), teacher Colette (Emma Lung) and husband Rob (Ben Mingay), and lawyer Grace (Brooke Satchwell) and her new lover Carlos (Glenn McMillan).[1]

Production[edit]

Conception[edit]

On 23 October 2012, Network Ten announced its slate of new programming, with Wonderland being one of five new dramas commissioned for the channel.[2] Michael Idato from The Age reported that Ten hopes the series will "tap into" Offspring's established audience.[3] Wonderland is billed as "a contemporary romantic comedy" and was co-created by Jo Porter and Sarah Walker.[3][4] The drama has drawn comparisons to The Secret Life of Us.[5] The 22-part project is being produced by FremantleMedia Australia.[6] Of the series, Ten's executive producer of drama, Rick Maier, said "Wonderland is an escapist treat with a great production team and with a perfectly-balanced ensemble cast. As the song says: the world really is wonderful and we can't wait to showcase this new series on Ten."[7] The first series of Wonderland began airing from 21 August 2013.[8]

After 13 episodes, the finale aired in November 2013, with the remaining nine episodes scheduled to air as season two from 13 August 2014.[9][10] Wonderland was commissioned for another 22 episodes, taking the episode count to 44.[11][12] Of the second series, cast member Ben Mingay said "Season two steps it up a level and dives into really cool storylines and there is more comedy and drama than the first season, it's a whole other beast. Wonderland fans of the first season are going to love season two."[13] The second season concluded after 15 episodes, airing on 19 November 2014.

On 26 October 2015, it was announced that Wonderland had been cancelled after it "failed to find a sufficient audience".[14] Most of the third season episodes fell below the 500,000 audience mark.[14]

Casting[edit]

Casting for the series was announced on 28 April 2013.[15] Brooke Satchwell was cast as lawyer Grace Barnes.[15] Describing her character, Satchwell stated "Grace is a very linear, bottled up defamation lawyer, and as you can imagine, she is going to come slightly undone."[15] Michael Dorman plays bachelor Tom Wilcox, while Jessica Tovey was cast as Dani Varvaris.[15] Tovey said her character is very different from herself. She works in PR and is "quite loud, speaks her mind, is quite confident and is very Gen Y girl."[5] Emma Lung plays Colette Riger and Ben Mingay plays Rob Duffy.[7] Tim Ross appears as Steve Beaumont, Glenn McMillan plays Carlos Dos Santos, while newcomer Anna Bamford plays Miranda Beaumont.[15] Ewen Leslie was cast as Nick, a love interest for Grace (Satchwell).[16]

All the main cast members returned for the second series.[17] Les Hill has joined the cast as Max Saliba, "a suspicious new tenant."[18] While Martin Sacks was cast as Steve and Miranda's father Cal Beaumont.[19] Simone Kessell was cast as Sasha Clarke, a woman from Tom's past. Kessell described her character as being like a drug to Tom and added "my character has come on board to really, really shake things up."[20] Elise Jansen and model Megan Gale also appear in the second season.[13]

Filming[edit]

Network Ten announced on 29 April that Wonderland, which is set in a beach-side apartment building, had begun production. The following month, a reporter for The Daily Telegraph revealed that the cast had begun filming on location in Sydney.[7][21][22] Filming took place in the Sydney suburb of Coogee.[5] Filming for the second season began during the week of 12 April 2014.[18] Cast members Tovey and Ross spent two days filming in Singapore. Tovey commented "We did it guerilla style, with not much crew at all."[23]

Theme music[edit]

The Sydney sound house Smith and Western released the show's theme song "(Come On) Come Inside" shortly before the first episode aired.[24] The song was written and recorded by Ant Smith, Nick West, Dan Higson and Amanda Brown. It features singer and songwriter Mike Paxton on vocals.[24] The video for "(Come On) Come Inside" premiered on The Loop on 10 August 2013.[24] Of the song, West commented "It was a really fun process to write with so many great people and we're really stoked at how the song came about through such a collaborative and creative process. '(Come On) Come Inside' is about capturing the inviting sound of life in coastal Sydney."[24] The track was released to radio, while fans could download it for free from the Wonderland Facebook page.[24] Smith and Western have also composed the musical underscore featured throughout the series.[24] Australian band Purple Cream have recorded a theme song for the show called Crazy OL World

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Reception[edit]

Wonderland opened with an audience of 948,000, which was one of Network Ten's best performances of the year.[25] The show was also considered a hit in its target advertising demographic, as it was the most watched show among 25- to 54-year-olds and fifth among all people.[25] However, by the third episode ratings had fallen to 688,000, making it the 15th most watched show among all people.[26] The sixth episode, which went up against the series finale of Winners & Losers, saw ratings fall to their lowest with only 420,000 viewers tuning in.[27]

Erin Miller from TV Week praised the series, saying "Wonderland is a lot of fun. It's sexy, relatable and features a group of friends you'll wish were your mates. Sure it echoes The Secret Life of Us, but this is a whole new bunch of twentysomethings whose relationship and work issues will draw you in."[28] Miller added that she was looking forward to catching up with the gang every week.[28] David Knox from TV Tonight gave the series a mixed review and pointed out that it "feels too white-bread to reasonably reflect suburban Australia".[29] He also observed that the characters are all heterosexual and only one cast member is over 40. Knox commented "Wonderland boasts TV's sexiest cast, which compensates for material that is sometimes pedestrian and antics used in place of character-based humour."[29] He added that the series begins "from a pleasant launch pad, but has big shoes to fill in the Offspring slot. With a bit more grunt it may just get there."[29]

Tony Squires, writing for The Age, said "Wonderland doesn't try to be Offspring, even if it has a similar desire to leaven its drama with comic moments. Set in a Sydney beachside apartment block of the same name, it has a sunny vibe to it."[30] Squires went on to praise Dorman's performance and the rest of the cast, adding that the show had "plenty of promise."[30] The Guardian's Vicky Frost thought elements of the opening episode were not surprising and some relationships were "too neatly laid out."[31] She quipped "Wonderland ticks all the usual boxes and adds a bit of ocean glamour; Coogee has never looked so beautiful. But it's not yet clear what lies beneath the gloss. Is there any substance?"[31]

Bamford was nominated for Most Outstanding Newcomer at the 2014 Logie Awards.[32]

Ratings[edit]

Season # of Episodes Season
Premiere
Season
Final
Peak
Audience
Average
Audience
One 13 21 August 2013 13 November 2013 948,000 602,000
Two 15 13 August 2014 19 November 2014 532,000 470,000
Three 16 4 February 2015 20 May 2015 635,000 430,000

Home media[edit]

Part 1 of the first season of Wonderland was released on DVD on 27 November 2013 in Australia.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fenton, Andrew (20 August 2013). "It's a wonderful life for Satchwell". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Byrnes, Holly (23 October 2012). "Channel Ten banks on new Australian drama and old favourites for 2013 programming". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Idato, Michael (25 October 2012). "Networking: Ten's dramatic plan". The Age. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Leys, Nick (29 April 2013). "Ten questions for Jo Porter". The Australian. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Gen Y Girl". TV Week. Bauer Media Group (19). 11–17 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Wonderland". If Magazine. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Knox, David (29 April 2013). "TEN announces Wonderland cast". TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Wonderland opens its doors on August 21 on Ten". Network Ten. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Knox, David (13 November 2013). "Wonderland final". TV Tonight. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Knox, David (28 July 2014). "Returning: Wonderland". TV Tonight. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "Wonderland back for second season as Ten reveals 2014 TV line-up". news.com.au. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Knox, David (28 January 2014). "Programmer's Wrap 2014: TEN". TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Sickling, Laura (13 August 2014). "Wonderland season two set to fire up TV screens with scandal and fireworks". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Knox, David (26 October 2015). "Axed: Wonderland". TV Tonight. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Nauman, Zoe (28 April 2013). "Brooke back as Wonder woman". news.com.au. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "The start of something special?". TV Soap (16): 44. 28 August – 11 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Time of Our Lives series 2" (PDF). Screen Australia. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Dean, Sarah (12 April 2014). "Back to the beach! Former Home And Away star Les Hill catches a break in Wonderland after being snapped up for season two". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  19. ^ Harris, Amy (22 June 2014). "Actor Martin Sacks is Australia’s small screen acting machine". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "Actress Simone Kessell set to make trouble in Wonderland". The Daily Telegraph. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Ten's beachside drama starts production". Mumbrella. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Channel 10 is banking on a Wonderland". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Guerilla-style filming, Wentworth sets and 50th birthday celebrations". TV Week. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f "Smith & Western create musical Wonderland". Mumbrella. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Wonderland wins for Ten while Gruen performs for ABC". Mumbrella. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  26. ^ Cartwright, Darren (5 September 2013). "Politics powers ABC into the top 10". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  27. ^ Bodey, Michael (26 September 2013). "Seven's programmers unearth unlikely crown jewel". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Miller, Erin (17–23 August 2013). "Our verdict". TV Week. Bauer Media Group (33): 15. 
  29. ^ a b c Knox, David (18 August 2013). "Wonderland". TV Tonight. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Squires, Tony (21 August 2013). "Curtains needed for sunny new show". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  31. ^ a b Frost, Vicky (22 August 2013). "Wonderland – TV review". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  32. ^ Vickery, Colin (31 March 2014). "Nominees for the peer-reviewed categories in the Logie Awards announced". news.com.au. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "Wonderland – Season 1 Part 1". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 

External links[edit]