“I think this an absolutely wonderful premise,” Enker says. “That idea of what would allow you to abandon everything in your life and just get on a train and go is a really seductive start.”
Idato says one of the show’s strongest elements is how it subverts expectations.
“It sort of starts out as some kind of fulfilment of a romantic college promise – it could be any rom-com you’ve ever seen. But then suddenly you’re watching it going, this is a bit darker and a bit weirder and a bit more compelling,” he says. “I thought this thundered along at a cracking, very, very exciting pace … it’s a great TV series.”
Comparing the show to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, Rugendyke says the chemistry between the lead actors is “off the charts”. But is that what good TV comes down to – getting the mix of key ingredients right? Can a great show be assembled like an IKEA flatpack?
“The practical answer is no because TV is peppered with failures,” says Idato. “That said, I’m going to hop out on a limb here and say you actually can build a hit TV show – but it’s not as simple as it sounds.”
Similarly, Enker doesn’t believe there is a straightforward answer. She says the success of many TV shows – Mad Men and Downton Abbey included – comes down to luck and timing. As Rugendyke points out, “if there’s a formula to create hit TV shows then why aren’t the networks doing it?”
Later in the episode, the experts revisit the beloved Australian show Love My Way, which aired on Foxtel from 2004 to 2007. Starring Claudia Karvan, Asher Keddie, Dan Wyllie and Ben Mendelsohn, the award-winning show became a cult hit and broke the mould for homegrown drama.
Plus, the experts play a game of Credit Where Credit’s Due, and give their recommendations for what to watch this week. Listen to the new episode in the player above, and hit the link below to catch up on the whole season, including discussions about Tiger King, Stateless, Killing Eve, Normal People, reality TV and more.