It’s not often that a TV series is produced and set in the city of Brisbane. As a Brisbane resident, the last time I remember seeing my home city reflected so prominently on the screen was during the mid-90s Channel 7 series Fire. The novelty of seeing Brisbane on the telly was enough to pique my interest in the new Foxtel youth series SLiDE.

SLiDE is an urban-set youth drama (with comedic elements) that centres on five high school-aged teens as they date, lust, attend parties, get into mischief, and deal with authority figures. Thematically, there is very little going on that we haven’t seen before, with SLiDE serving as something that resembles Skins meets Heartbreak High. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. SLiDE offers local and generational relevance.

Enjoyment of the show depends heavily on how much the viewer connects with the series. As a 31-year-old viewer, I’m not sure that I connected with the text as strongly as someone in the show’s key demo might have, but I was certainly caught up in SLiDE.

The cast are all quite appealing. At the centre of the pilot episode is Ed (Ben Schumann), a dorky, unsure-of-himself guy who is keen to lose his virginity. On the day of his birthday, a cute girl he meets while working a part-time job at a local hotel offers to throw him a party. Little does Ed realise that his parents have thrown him a surprise party with his family. The pilot has Ed attempting to escape the dull family party in favour of the more exciting drunken teen party under way at the hotel. While the rest of the cast are given less to do in the pilot, they all manage to shine on screen. Actress Gracie Gilbert is funny and charming as Ed’s BFF Tammy, and Emily Robins delivers the well-worn role of a neglected-by-her-wealthy-parents teen with enough enthusiasm that it’s easy to overlook the tiredness of the character. Brenton Thwaites (as the chiseled Luke) and Adele Perovic (as the anti-authority rebel Eva) round out the cast with appealing, but not entirely substantial, roles in the pilot episode.

It’s worth noting that SLiDE maintains a strong online component. Hoodlum has produced a slick website that offers webisodes, a graphic novel, and other interactive elements that serve to inform the world of SLiDE beyond the TV series. The show can certainly be watched without paying any attention to the website. That said, I was surprisingly taken with the interactive graphic novel on the site. While I’m not convinced it’s entirely relevant to the show, it is an entertaining diversion worth taking a gander at.

SLiDE is a good-looking show with a solid young cast that should play well with a 15-23-year-old audience. It doesn’t offer anything wildly new, but it is admittedly produced for an audience who may not have seen most of the (now very dated) shows that preceded it. SLiDE is worthy of its hype.

Peter Fray

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