A Glitch in the Script: Fantasy, Realism and the Australian Imagination

Janie Conway-Herron


The Glitch is a six-part television series first aired on the Australian public broadcast network, the ABC, in July 2015. My interest is in ways that the series reflects certain aspects of Australian culture and history and, in particular, how inclusive the series has been in representing Indigenous Australian ways of seeing this history. The Glitch — set in a fictional Australian outback town where a number of residents who have lived and died there return from the dead — holds great potential for critiquing the cultural and perceptual frameworks that have created what popular culture often describes as ‘quintessential Australianness.’ Narrative genres that have a particular relevance in framing Australian identity within a postcolonial context are also important to my examination. They provide a way to explore the aesthetics of identity in the play between reality and unreality where an Australian Gothic sense of the uncanny is contrasted with the subversive way Magic Realism places the extraordinary within the same realm of the possible as the ordinary everyday event. This aligns with contemporary analyses of Australian Indigenous narratives where Indigenous perceptions of reality question a Western hegemonic view of what is magic and what is real and highlights the cultural origins of both. It is the mix of the mysterious and the mundane and the play between reality and fantasy that has enormous potential in The Glitch. However, as I also discovered, maintaining the magic and the real in such a delicate and continuous balance is no easy task.


Fantasy; reality; Australian television drama; Gothic; Magic Realism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/co20161885-99


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