In the Australian drama series Glitch, the dead have risen, but we still don’t know how or why. We met with series co-creator Louise Fox during the season two shoot to get some answers.
It’s a warm day in February and we’re in a cavernous factory in Melbourne’s western suburbs, which has been transformed into Noregard Pharmaceuticals – the enigmatic company that could hold the key as to why the dead have returned to life in the acclaimed Australian drama series, Glitch.
STACK’s visit to the set coincides with filming on the sixth and final episode of the show’s second season, and fortunately, our access precludes us from discovering any major plot spoilers well in advance. We do, however, attempt to glean where Glitch goes next from co-creator and writer Louise Fox.
“It goes bigger! We keep calling it Glitch 2.0,” she offers. “It’s very much the show, the characters and the elements you’ve grown to know, but everything is elevated. It feels bigger and broader, like the iris of the world’s camera has opened up. There’s probably less mystery and more answers, and therefore I think it has more of a thriller feel, actually. There’s momentum, energy and danger – a palpable threat that drives the story on.
“I think of the show as being about big season questions,” she adds. “In season one the question was ‘Who?’ We left it on a cliffhanger but that was the question being asked, and answered as well. This season is probably more about ‘how and why?’”
The ‘how and why’ has been a long time coming. The first season aired in 2015, and when we berate Fox for leaving us hanging as to the fate of Sarah Hayes and how the shocking revelation about Elishia McKellar will impact the story, she sympathises and says it was a combination of factors that led to the two-year hiatus between seasons.
“It took a while to bring everybody back together again. We also wanted to be in a position where our stories and scripts were in a strong place.”
Fox reveals it was her creative partner, Tony Ayres, who initially came up with the idea of people returning from the grave as fully formed versions of their former selves, not zombies – a point of difference that separates Glitch’s risen from the archetypal living dead.
“The characters came quite elegantly from that premise,” she says. “We always found it to be a very generative idea – we don’t want for story. What’s difficult in the show is jumping time. The stakes are high and the story moves from moment to moment. It’s hard to move time forward like in a normal narrative.
“It’s very much the show, the characters and the elements you’ve grown to know, but everything is elevated. There’s probably less mystery and more answers”
“We have flashbacks to learn about the characters’ lives – that came out of early development. They came back with no memories, they were slightly blank slates, and the journey for a lot of them in season one was ‘Who am I, how did I die and what was my life?’ They’re asking slightly different questions in season two as well: ‘Now that we’re back and we’re alive, what now? What does that mean?’”
Fox adds that the story has its own energy and dynamism, with a focus on the emotional and dramatic potential inherent in the concept, rather than the macabre elements.
“The byline was play it real and true and deal with real human emotions, histories and dilemmas,” she explains. “We spent a lot of time on what it would be like if someone you loved died suddenly walked back into your life. How would that play out? The emotion is as important in the show as the thrills – in fact, probably more so. It’s a drama, but we have a high concept around that drama.”
Australian genre series have been few and far between, but Glitch is one of several productions that have spearheaded a recent revival.
“Genre used to be a bit of a dirty word I think,” says Fox, “but in the last ten years the rules have changed and the definitions have blurred. We also have Cleverman and Kettering; it feels like there’s this whole new wave, and they’re all hyper-genre, not classic genre. They’re genre with other elements in them, which is really what contemporary television is all about. They’re all character-based and they’re all very different and distinct worlds. It’s an exciting time for the form.”