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An Appreciation of Wanted, an Australian TV Series

“Wanted” is an Australian television series that premiered in 2016 and quickly gained attention for its gripping storyline and dynamic character development. Rebecca Gibney and Richard Bell produce the three-season-long series. The show is a crime drama that seamlessly combines action, suspense, and character-driven narratives.

The story opens with two women, Lola Buckley and Chelsea Babbage waiting at a suburban bus stop near midnight. After a car crashes near where they stand, two masked men appear and kill the driver. One of them fights with Lola; the gun goes off and he gets killed. The other man takes Lola and Chelsea hostage. They escape and flee across Australia in a vehicle which hides a bag full of cash in its boot. Caught in a criminal conspiracy, they are chased both by criminals and corrupt cops.

Season 2 finds the women escaping to Thailand as they try to save Lola’s son, whom the baddies have kidnapped. From Thailand, they reach New Zealand where they are finally apprehended.

Season 3 starts with them being in prison. An inmate, Susan helps them get into witness protection. Lola and Chelsea were to find Susan’s daughter Sophie, which leads them on a dangerous chase involving a sex-slave trader and a group of women caught up in forced prostitution. They burst a criminal operation involving the smuggling of women at the cost of their freedom.

Rebecca Gibney plays Lola Buckley. Lola is a street-smart supermarket worker who is always one step away from being in trouble. Geraldine Hakewill plays Chelsea Babbage, the prim accountant in her twenties who may have been cooking the account books for want of some excitement. Lola is vulnerable because she is on the run from the vengeful relatives of her husband, whom she had killed in retaliation for his violence. She had assumed a fictitious name and acquired survival skills. Her sister is forever her guardian and support. Chelsea’s rich businessman father is forever on tours and grieving the loss of his wife to Huntington’s disease. Chelsea is acutely aware of the fact that she has a fair chance of developing the disease.

What sets Wanted different from other crime thrillers is its nuanced portrayal of its female leads. Unlike other road pictures, the story is centred on heroines. Lola, older and streetwise, balances toughness with vulnerability. She’s unafraid to show her emotions. The chemistry between Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill is a key strength of the series. Their performances are nuanced and compelling, skillfully bringing to life the evolving dynamic between their characters. The contrast between Lola’s seasoned, pragmatic approach to the situation and Chelsea’s naive and innocent demeanour creates a perfect balance that keeps the audience engaged.

The supporting cast in “Wanted” also deserves commendation. Among th supporting cast, the cop Maxine (Kate Box), has a tired, world-weary way of looking at things. The way her character evolved through the episodes was delightful. The antagonists are well-crafted, with complex motivations that transcend mere villainy. This adds depth to the storyline and ensures that the series doesn’t fall into the trap of clichéd crime dramas.

“Wanted” has a unique and refreshing premise: the survival instinct of women. The narrative is fast-paced, and each episode propels the story forward, leaving viewers hooked and eager to discover the next twist.

The writing in “Wanted” is sharp, and the character development is robust. As the story develops, the layers of each character are exposed, revealing their past, vulnerabilities, strengths, and moral dilemmas. The development of the story explores the consequences of the characters’ actions, adding a layer of realism to the narrative.

The scenic backdrop of Australia adds a visually appealing element to the show, and the action sequences are well-executed, providing an adrenaline rush that complements the overall tone of the series. From the vast and wonderful Australia to the bustling Bangkok and rugged New Zealand landscapes, the series presents a series of stunning visuals, adding an immersive touch to the international escapades. The show captures scenic Australia with its sprawling vistas of foliage and deserts.

Rebecca’s portrayal of a woman with bitter memories of maternal disaffection and a violence-filled marriage is excellent. Her innate and exceptional skill at taking charge of situations is brought out effectively. She is a survivor despite her many vulnerabilities and the portrayal of that balance is flawless. Geraldine’s character is equally complex: being seemingly nonchalant while carrying a dread of a potentially debilitating disease. Chelsea could easily have become an irritating character but Geraldine does a great job of not crossing that line.

An Atlantic review called Thelma and Louise The Last Great Film about women (1). Wanted proves that the conclusion was far too early. Comparisons to the iconic film highlight the rarity of stories like this in the landscape of the TV lore. Lola Buckley personifies the characters of both Thelma and Louise. While Thelma suffered from an unequal relationship with her husband, Lola suffered violent abuse, which she was able to survive only by killing her husband. Both movies have many moments where the characters could have turned back from their desperate ride.

The phallic symbolism prevalent in Thelma and Louise is absent in Wanted. The open road has been traditionally the playground of the male while being dangerously risky for women. But quite like what happens in Thelma and Louise, the violence they face makes them more animated and fully awake than they have been in their lives.

Lola has been a fugitive from the law for a good part of her life. This has made her weary and distrustful of the law, and therefore, her ability to survive on the margins of a criminal justice system which is fundamentally flawed.

The compatibility and affection between Lola and Chelsea have contributed significantly to the success of Wanted. In the third season, we witness the development of an interesting bond between Lola and the cop Maxine. While entertaining, the plot occasionally stretches credibility. There are far too many convenient near-misses and improbable escapes. While “Wanted” has generally received positive acclaim, some critics argue that certain plot developments may stretch the bounds of believability. However, the majority of viewers appreciate the show’s ability to balance suspenseful drama with moments of humour and emotional resonance. Despite its imperfections, Wanted offers an engaging and entertaining escapade. The strong performances, captivating premise, and beautiful landscapes make it a worthwhile watch for those seeking a thrilling adventure with a touch of humour and humanity. However, one should be prepared for occasional lapses in logic and a somewhat predictable formula.

In conclusion, “Wanted” stands out as a compelling TV series that successfully combines thrilling crime elements with well-developed characters. With its engaging storyline, strong performances, and impeccable production values, “Wanted” has earned its place among the notable entries in the crime drama genre. There is no definitive information about season 4.

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