Few disagree that Australian drama is an endangered species, but the jury is out on who to blame. Typically, most attribute it to lethargic viewer response. New Australian dramas such as The Alice and Last Man Standing have failed to make an impact, so the conclusion is that viewers don't want to watch it, don't have the time to commit to it or, worse, would rather watch similar shows imported from the US and Britain.
George Miller, whose company Kennedy Miller produced some of Australia's most successful TV dramas, doesn't buy a word of it. "If the quality is there, and it's compelling, audiences will commit. Not only will they commit, they will also buy the DVD and watch it over and over again. And that's the trick, how to make it compelling. If it speaks to the audience, we will listen."
Miller is an intriguing fellow. Smaller than you expect, but utterly charismatic, he strides around his company's office at Fox Studios peering out from behind round glasses with an innocence and enthusiasm that brings to mind Willie Wonka in his chocolate factory. He is best known as the writer/director of Max Max, though his relatively brief affair with TV, in partnership with the late Byron Kennedy, was extraordinarily successful. Between 1983 and 1989 Kennedy Miller produced The Dismissal, Bodyline, The Cowra Breakout, Vietnam, The Dirtwater Dynasty and Bangkok Hilton.