Puberty Blues set to be a million times better than The Shire

Network Ten's "reality" punching-bags The Shire and Being Lara Bingle may have got the nation talking for a moment, but the ratings are diving faster than Australia's chances of Olympic gold.

So will the TV reboot of Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey's iconic 1979 coming-of-age teen novel and Bruce Beresford's 1981 film Puberty Blues reverse the tide?

According to the early buzz around the eight-part series, it could be the much-needed lifeline of quality drama for the network. Made by the same producers as Love My Way and Paper Giants: Birth Of Cleo, the 1970s-set series also takes place on the beaches of Sydney's Sutherland Shire.

The Daily Telegraph's Holly Byrnes has given the series a thumbs-up, calling it "as poignant today for teens navigating the same sexual politics as it will be for their parents."

"Puberty Blues is a clear marker of what this network can be at its best — taking a risk, empowering the right people and reaping the reward," she added.

Unlike The Shire's Botox-loving Sophie and Vernessa, the leads are au naturel best pals Debbie (Tomorrow When The War Began actress Ashleigh Cummings) and Sue (Brenna Harding, who appeared on a few episodes of Packed to the Rafters).

The story follows the girls' attempts to become a part of the "cool" surfie gang, which involves performing sexual favours for boys in the group.

"The series will move beyond the original pages and explore the (mis) adventures of these young girls, their families and friends in a tumultuous if not romantic era of Australia’s history," the show's official website reads.

The Facebook page already has nearly 4000 likes, with many fans posting their favourite original quotes like "get me a Chiko roll" and "shut up mole".

"I think there's enough great literature that has stood the test of time and remained relevant to prove me right, including Puberty Blues, otherwise they wouldn't even bother making a TV show about it," one fan wrote.

"Wasn't there lots of sex in the book? The ads I've seen so far for the TV series look a lot peachier than I remember the book being," another posted.

But one of the series' big-name stars, Claudia Karvan, believes the retro element is balanced with the rawness of the story.

"Back then there was so much freedom, people let their hair out, literally,'' Karvan told the Telegraph during filming earlier this year.

"This [series] is entertaining but there's depth there ... everything's not entirely sugar-coated."

Other cast members include Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Susie Porter, Dan Wyllie, Rodger Corser, former Home and Away star Charlotte Best, Abbie Cornish's younger sister Isabelle, and The Amazing Race Australia 2011 series winner Tyler Atkins.

Puberty Blues premieres on Wednesday, August 15 at 8.30pm on Network Ten.

Watch the promo for Puberty Blues above, and tell us if you think it's going to be a hit.


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