And here is Netflix’s first foray into producing original Australian content.
This is me; I scroll through my Netflix app and if a show’s title catches my attention I click in and read the blurb. If the blurb then captures my interest, I watch it, with no prior conceived notions or expectations. And whilst I’m smashing through said series, I close my ears off to what others are saying about it (either friends or online), so I can get through the season without spoilers or having popular opinion influence my own opinion.
So, this means, I don’t check-out reviews, blogs nor Wikipedia mid-series, to see what others are saying or not saying about the show. Thus, after making my way through the 8 episodes of Byron Baes, a reality TV show following a bunch of Byron Influencers and entrepreneurs, I was super surprised to find that there’s a scant amount of chatter online about the show! There was more discussions back in April 2021 when it was first announced that a Netflix production was being filmed in Byron, than there were discussions about the show after it was released in March 2022.
And the most surprising is the fact that there isn’t a Wikipedia page, and everything has a Wikipedia page! And there are some reviews, but not as many as you’d think there ought to be, considering it’s a Netflix show which should be consumed by millions of viewers. It’s like there’s been an active effort to scrub the show off the face of the planet! But here are my thoughts…….
So, my habit over the past 2 years of ‘Working from Home’, has been to watch trashy TV during my lunch break. Just allow my mind to get away from real thinking, and consume something completely mindless, but interesting enough which makes my 35-minute Spin-cycle feel shorter than 35 minutes slaving on a stationary bike. And since the new year break, I’ve been lazy with my midday exercise, electing to work through lunch, as sitting on your back-side working on a laptop is much easier than sweating away on a spin-cycle during the peak of Summer. So yeah, I was trying to get back into the habit, so I needed a good trashy show to help pass the time. I tried ‘Hype House’, which is also a reality TV show about young Influencers, but even I had to draw the line at that, after 3 episodes I had to give in and say that was even ‘too trashy’ for my taste. So, when I started Byron Baes, what I deemed as Australia’s own version of Hype House, I actually found it to be a step-above on the classiness meter. But I guess my point of reference was Hype House, so that doesn’t say much….
But it’s hard to wrap your arms around the true purpose of Byron Baes. It all seemed a bit staged and scripted? Let me explain. If I was responsible to write the blurb for the show, I’d pitch it as:
“Follow Jade and Sarah, the two newest residents to move into the idyllic seaside town of Byron Bay – Australia’s hotbed of influencers and entrepreneurs. Watch as Jade and Sarah make their mark in this tight-knit community, do they find what they’re seeking? Friendship? Romance? Success? Acceptance?” etc.
The reason why it all feels contrived, is because they insert two outsiders into an already established friendship group, and then sit back and allow the camera crews film the aftermath when cats and dogs react to this disruption to their equilibrium. You know it’s not going to end well?
Yeah, from an outsiders//voyeur’s perspective, it seems fun, as who doesn’t like to watch drama unfold when the claws come out, and when alphas impose their dominance over others. But it’s all a bit pointless as well? After 8 episodes, I was left thinking, “What just happened?” Nothing was really achieved here. Each member of the cast is probably left worse off than before the camera crews rolled in. As frankly, everyone was left looking not so good afterwards as the cameras captured their ‘true selves’, except for Simba (the question must be asked, which came first? The Byron resident? Or the Disney animated film?).
So, is there any regret? I’d imagine after the cast of Byron Baes watch themselves on-screen, and saw their seemingly private conversations broadcasted to a global audience. Yeah, I would imagine there has to be some regret there, regret in ever agreeing to be a part of this Netflix project, to film the “interesting residents of Byron”. And could there possibly be a second season? I highly doubt it, now knowing the angle the producers will take to portray individuals, I can’t see any Influencer ever agreeing to put themselves and their brand through such a reputation harming ordeal. So, for us, the up-in-the air ending of season 1, I’d think that would remain unresolved. And we probably can store this experience ‘Byron Baes’, to the archives as Netflix’s first and only foray into creating original Australian content, with a label across its cover saying, ‘Not to be tried again’.
So, if you want to see why it was so bad, and why we probably wouldn’t hear much more from Que Minh Luu again, head of Netflix Australian Original Content- just click HERE! Hey Netflix, just keep buying old content from the ABC, now that’s a proven commodity. *Wink*.