Reviews, TV

The ABC’s Pine Gap is a stinker

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Australia is a wretched sunbed maintained by debt and founded in unspeakable acts of racist brutality. Even so, sometimes the old girl does us proud. One day, I’m all “this is a culturally inert toilet remarkable only for its willingness to be shat upon by empire”. And then the next? Well. There are few among us who could not be thrilled by the sense of nationhood delivered so intensely by the ABC Netflix co-production, Pine Gap.

Oh, lordy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not any good. No. The thing reeks. Don’t believe a thing you read in The Guardian or the Herald  about the usefulness of this Sexy Spy Drama as a tool in our understanding of global power. I’ve endured three, possibly four, of its episodes and as a guide to international relations they were together slightly less useful than a Chicken Parmies of the World pub menu. (Hawaiian is unnervingly good.)

If I were inclined to “binge”, per the suggestion of ABC TV and Netflix, on this show, I would almost certainly throw something at the telly.

If you have genuine wish to learn about the goings-on at Pine Gap, don’t watch Pine Gap on ABC TV. Listen instead to this top-drawer ABC Radio report, co-authored with The Intercept and based on documents liberated by Edward Snowden. And, sh, don’t let it get around that RN’s Background Briefing continues to deliver actual journalism. They’ll cancel the thing. I’ll have nothing to listen to on Sunday mornings but for secular songs of praise to the US State Department. Maybe another cooking program by Annabel Crabb.

Anyhow. This is the accidental genius of Pine Gap: it’s a stinking turd laid in a tepid bath by a toddler. It’s just such a childish attempt at manufacturing consent, I feel almost affectionate toward it.

Compared to, say, Homeland or to NCIS or any other US TV program that seeks to romanticise state power, it’s a wreck. Laborious exposition about the ANZUS treaty in episode one sounds like it was written as a Wikipedia entry and it really is so bad, I think even Noam Chomsky would laugh. I did, and not unkindly. I was just so happy to know that Australians are somehow stubbornly incapable of writing good propaganda.

And, this is propaganda. Perhaps the authors of this series don’t know it to be propaganda. Certainly in interview, Greg Haddrick, the sine qua non of middle-brow Australian TV writing, seems to believe that Pine Gap is a genuine equivocation on the future of world power. It is, however, a very clear restatement of the state-approved sentiment we see on ABC TV news constantly: China is “inscrutable”; the US is imperfect but basically decent; Muslim terrorists are the very worst kind of terrorist. Oh, and this old favourite: Aboriginal people are deeply spiritual.

If you have genuine wish to learn about the goings-on at Pine Gap, don’t watch Pine Gap on ABC TV.

There’s a fucking parfait of a subplot in Pine Gap in which an Arrernte father and daughter talk about being an Arrernte father and daughter all the time. I imagine the nation’s most compassionate Caroline Chisolms will eat this up with a spoon. Any person gifted of any insight beyond the white unconscious, however, will wish to barf on this depiction of Black life only as a discussion of Black life and nothing else, ever. 

I mean, shit. It doesn’t take a whiz in race studies to see that this is fucking insulting. These “minority” characters talk about nothing but their minority status. They function within Pine Gap as “Our First Australians”. You know the sort of thing: mystic and timeless nobles who can See Through the petty games of White Man etc.  If I were Aboriginal, I would perhaps be quite aggrieved by this nth shackling of my identity category into the service of supremacist narratives. If I were inclined to “binge”, per the suggestion of ABC TV and Netflix, on this show, I would almost certainly throw something at the telly. It’s just so tedious to see this lazy racialised plot device activated again.

Much of the other laziness in Pine Gap, though, is sort of fun. The dialogue in which characters “argue” about the legitimacy of the US hegemon is just such a poor simulation of debate, I kind of love it. About every 15 minutes, you get some twit or another say something clunky about, “Well, you know, if you are going to call China bad, you better call the US bad as well!”  The entitlement of the US to commit its mass murders and mass surveillance is not questioned at all and the “questions” that are posed are just so fabulously hollow.

The “minority” characters in Pine Gap  talk about nothing but their minority status.

The question offered in ABC TV promotions for the thing also contains its own answer. “Are your secrets safe?” it asks, as though any person with a faculty for thought would not very much prefer to consider a problem like “does the bear shit in the woods?” No. Of course my secrets aren’t safe. My metadata is mandatorily held for two years and can be accessed by a range of government agencies and my private details are exchanged by the oligarchs of Silicon Valley. The extent of the moral and real-world atrocities of these state and private data thieves are not yet known, although it is known that any person who attempts to reveal even a bit lives the life of Edward Snowden or Julian Assange. Whatever the case, Pine Gap will tell you dick all about how safe your secrets are not. 

Pine Gap will tell you only to love the USA like your racist uncle: for all its flaws!

But, you won’t buy it, because our local screenwriters and producers have not yet learned how to sell it. For which we can be glad. 



Pine Gap will premiere on Sunday October 14 at 8.30pm with a double episode on ABC TV and with all episodes available after on ABC iview.  

110 responses to “The ABC’s Pine Gap is a stinker

  1. It sounds like the ABC have made this to give Dutton, Abbott, Abetz et al the Scheißes. Perhaps part of its cunning plan to steer them away from RN? I’d be well impressed if it did elicit a chuckle from Chomsky. That would make my life.

    Way too many people are too deeply invested in and enamored with Western supremacy. Our inability to understand our culpability, even if it’s just a result of our ignorance of it, is dangerous.

  2. The Background Briefing program Peter Cronau made last year told quite another story. Not PR about what Austrtalia is actually doing, or a sop to our American partners, but a very thoroughly researched, investigative look at what is going on. It’ll still be available somehow.

  3. Sadly, I picked it as a dud from the preview shorts. Wrapping a whole lot of unrelated social plot around what is basically a technical operation. I doubt whether the personnel at Pine Gap actually actually see any of the traffic or engage in deep and meaningful discussion about the morality of it all. BTW, I haven’t watched it..

  4. On fire, Raze. So funny. Thanks for saving me the rage of watching.

    Nice to see an Australian writer mention Assange’s name too. You’re one of a very few.

  5. Not seen it, probably won’t but we all know its basic sin. Too nice to the USA eh Helen? Doesn’t demonise the west enough eh Helen? Doesn’t make the aborigines victims of genocide eh Helen?

    1. Oh dear, a little bit of shit on your liver eh, Dave? try detoxing during what’s left of Octsober. You’ll sleep better and feel much less cranky! After you’ve done your detox, can I also suggest that you take a look at the recent, very well-researched Newcastle Uni’s Massacre map project ( ) to edjumacate yourself about the history of this country. …..just saying…

  6. Cannot believe a review could contain such venom. Feel better now Helen? Have an opinion? We all do. I will be sure to watch tonight. I will not review your looks in a similar manner. john

    1. Wow, “John”. She gave her opinion and your feelings were so hurt that you brought her looks into the matter. Were you involved in the production? Why else would you resort to an ad hominem attack? Relax.

  7. Thank you, HR, for giving us a way to approach this – as a window into what Australian content will consist of if our ABC is nerfed any further.
    I am so grateful that we don’t produce good propaganda. May all out Aussie bullsh!t filters remain healthy!

  8. I haven’t seen the show but I have read all the archival material on the communications facilities including Pine Gap.
    As an earlier poster noted it’s a highly technical operation and you might as well try and build a drama around a micro wave tower it’s that dry.
    Don’t worry about your personal data being filtered through Pine Gap: none of us are interesting enough to waste the bandwidth.

    This sort of facility is found the globe over with a sibling station in Yorkshire.

    I’ll give it a miss.

  9. I’ve only seen the promos but enough to deduce that Australian screenwriters still don’t understand the concept of “on-the-nose” dialogue.

  10. I suppose it can only be what Helen seems to think is crap. We dont know what it does, the joint facility is BS. To set a series at that site is weird. We cant come any closer to the real site than a few miles. There I was up on a ridge looking at the radomes through binoculars about 5 miles away about 100 years ago. It was set up originally to monitor Soviet missle launches . Thats so long ago – when the US thought Russia was some kind of threat.
    I think if they nuke Iran some of the command and control will be via Pine Gap. Which makes Pine Gap a “first strike” target if / when the nukes start flying.

  11. Watched first episode and it is so cliched you would think it was cut and pasted from US tv.
    To much explaining and not enough intrigue.
    Pine gap is not that secret, you can’t walk around but you can fly overhead at low level.
    It’s not even a “prohibited” area according to CASA.
    Cast all young and beautiful, in reality they are all aged, geeky beauracrats.

    1. Incorrect. You are not allowed to fly over Pine Cap, below 18,000 ft. It is classed as Restricted by Airservices Australia.
      You will get in big trouble if you do.

  12. Helen razer that was so unexpected I am watching it now and just think it’s so crap and not even the right / real names of presidents and prime ministers and the portrayal of the blacks was so patronising – omg I need you in my life – I will follow up your commentary’s – used to listen to you on double j xx

  13. I’ve just turned it off after 20 mins…the dialogue is cliche , the acting limp…but most of all it’s the virtue signalling of the casting choices that make it unconvincing and inaccessible…hell they even managed to sneak in a sly bit of gender violence…

    1. Yeah, the gendered cliches

      *women refusing and not knowing how to cook
      *majority black male intelligence officers
      * paranoid looking white males

      I’m prepared to ignore this to see what’s going on

  14. I’m watching now and the voices and accents of the female actors are dreadful – phony American, nasal and hard to decipher. Aren’t Aussie actors taught to speak clearly with good voice projection??

  15. I grew up with paranoia about Pine Gap. America was our bête noir, still is. I was expecting to be fascinated, outraged, enlightened, or just sucked in by the drama. Righteous indignation would have sufficed.
    I just didn’t expect it to be stupid.
    What happened to the actors?
    The landscape is more animated. It is exceptionally beautiful, but probably not intended to be the main attraction.
    The Thunderbirds puppets were more convincing. Jacqueline McKenzie, Kelton Pell, et. al. have had the life sucked out of them.
    Once I might have blamed the CIA; now I blame zombies.

  16. I worked at the base in the 90s and I’m pretty sure you cannot dress like that on the TV show. Personally I’m finding this funny to watch and the amount of bs this is doing

  17. nearly finished watching the first episode on the ABC tonight and I am bored bored bored…. was hoping it might start to get the shit together but now see this is unlikely….

  18. Just watched it. And think perhaps Ms Razer fell asleep or was under the influence of some sedative drug. Again, she proves an unreliable witness.

  19. Sometimes ABC promo’s make some good serials seem pretty cliched or banal, like The Code and even the fantastic Mystery Road. But at least they give some idea of what to expect and generate some enthusiasm by showing snippets of highlights which will presumably be better in context. The promo’s for this seemed extraordinarily dull and pedestrian and if those were the highlights… Looks like I avoided a bullet. Especially taking the time slot formerly taken by the superb Rake, this looks like it should have been relegated to a late evening slot at best.

    1. I liked Helen Razer when she was JJJ Breakfast, but shes gone a bit too radical in middle age. I watched Pine Gap and thought it was actually pretty good. I have something that Helen didnt have , and that was a security clearance to do some work at Pine Gap, unfortunately for anyone that wants an insite, I also signed a bit of paper preventing me saying any more than what I have.

      1. Thanks, until scrolling down to your comment, I had gathered that I might be the only tasteless/misinformed dolt who had actually enjoyed the series. And I have been watching a lot of the various series featured on Netflix over several years now.
        I can only surmise that this somewhat shrill and narrowly focused “gang” vitriol has its origins in some “other” dimension of actual reality today. I suspect a somewhat growing tendency of many out-speakng online persons (of a highly-judgmental temperament) to kick some dog (any dog) as a means of venting a “pent-up” inner, self-hostility that, in truth, has more to say about where they are “at” in life than it does about their inhering ability to objectively review anything at all. I suspect a current pandemic of chronic “outrage” is the culprit.

  20. After the divine Ms Lumley (AKA Purdey, Patsy) left me at the borders of the PRC, I snoozed into PINE GAP. Actually watched it right through. At least the Indigenes were not called ‘First Nations’ and the 60000 years had not been inflated to 80000 years looking at the stars (how many supernovae would they have seen??).

    Not being must exposed to the slick US style West Wing/NCIS productions (I prefer Portillo mincing his way around Britain by rail); I thought the characters and story were interesting enough to watch right to the end… end which lost all credibility with the Aussies making up a story about the fleeing Rohinga firing a $50000 missile and hitting a private jet over Burma as the hook for next week.

    And you know folks, the writers needed a fake story to deceive the dumb Yanks, so they make up a really dumb story so that the less dumb Yanks don’t fall for it!! HR is on to it folks; the dumb story is supposed to make us Aussies look dumb, when they alone are on to the real baddie; that muscle bound part Chinese guy at the golf driving range (or is it that Moses character who had a Sherlock-like seance on the computer screen)? Damn, I have to tune in next week…..

  21. With great anticipation (after the endless promos!) we settled down to watch the ABC make a meaningful contribution to socially serious entertainment……….We became unsettled after about ten minutes when we thought our smart TV had been taken over by a Play School parody of adults being serious.
    For anyone trying to follow the exposition a flow chart would have been useful, as two dimensional characters made one dimensional conversation about third dimensional events. If there had been anything or anyone interesting to follow we might have persevered but sadly life is too short.
    I don’t know who their test audience was but I hope that others find it more rewarding than we did.

  22. Well after this hilarious putdown I just had to watch. Helen you are dead right. Pathetic is probably the word to use. Let’s write a drama about a facility we know little about but where we are unable to create any dramatic insights. A terrible idea followed by a terrible script all commissioned and overseen by ABC staff. You don’t have to make a drama to realise it is a turd. You just read the scripts and exercise your professional judgement and don’t commission it if it stinks. But after a succession of these amateurish dramas from the ABC it seems heads never roll. Let’s hope the new ABC CEO actually audits poor creative performance and knows a thing or two about the process of program creation across the whole gamut of TV and makes some new appointments with skilled people. I won’t hold my breath.

  23. pretty sure you cant just go out with your spook buddies after work and talk about work stuff like the characters did. Show had promise but a little contrite. I rather watch a pine gap doco on how Whitlam got sacked for wanting to have a commission into pine gap as exposed in the book/film ‘The falcon and the snowman.’

  24. I’m utterly miffed by all the haters and find it hard to believe we actually watched the same thing. I saw it at the ADL film fest and thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was.

    1. Have we forgotten how to just enjoy a TV show without having to find significance in everything. I found faults but overall it was an enjoyable experience. I’ll be tuning in next week. Oops…..sorry……I’m supposed to binge but hey, I’ve never been a conformist.

    1. it wasn’t that bad. Just a 6/10 instead of 9 or 10 out of 10. Still better than reality tv crap. The last 10 min. was the best when some plot turns were revealed. Probs would be better if it was set at Pearl Bay and Diver Dan was an analyst! But if it brings about a national conversation about the base, how much tax payer money goes into, do the US genuinely tell us everything and how exposed is the Alice if a nuclear war breaks out etc then it is a good thing. One thing Aust. doesn’t do well is spy tv. I have written screenplays on the side (even be a finalist in several comps). I wrote one called ‘d-notice’ about a journo whose friend is killed but she is not allowed to publish her friends name or details. She finds out a d-notice was on her name and so the unraveling and intrigue begins. An Aust. producer told me that it would never work in Australia and even though the script was good, the execution would fail.

      1. Ah, Pearl Bay and Diver Dan, days of yore.

        ABC, I think, did The Code (?) was that it’s name, which was actually pretty damn good.

    1. Well. She did agree to appear in the recent Romper Stomper TV series. It was not a good production. And the chances of a TV show inspired by a movie ever being good are rare enough for us to remember MASH. But, what would drive any person to give life to a show about ultra-racists in a time of ultra-racists surely knowing that it will flatter ultra-racists, which it did. Well. Who even knows.
      Actors gotta act, I guess.

  25. I struggled through Sunday night’s show and was totally bored, but I’ll keep watching to see if there is any character has a moral bone in them and walks out of the place.

  26. I found some of the dialogue laugh out loud stuff. And the scenery was at least accurate.
    This reviewer is just demonstrating her capacity to put down a not bad comedy. Her vitriol was contrived to get up someone’s nose. I wonder who it was.
    I hope the Oz humour keeps sticking its head up in unlikely places!
    I will certainly be watching next week.

    1. I enjoyed the inaccurate map pin reference in the openning credits, as if somehow leaving an accurate map may expose the secretive base and line-backer at the centre of the 5 eyes espionage sloppiness, to vampire missile attack.

  27. Yes, it is slow and Heaven help them if this is what an Australian workplace is like as they don’t seem to do any work. The writing is awkward and amateurish.
    They need a good writer. The verbatim is low-class and yet they are supposed to be intelligent to work in such a place. It is a serve of French Fries for the low-class.

  28. Like several others commenting here I managed about 30 minutes of this horrendous effort before switching off. If I had to describe Pine Gap in one sentence it would be “Exactly the opposite, in every way possible, of a John Le Carre story”.

    I imagine that the ABC thought they were getting a combination of Spooks and The West Wing when this show was being pitched to them – but those shows were well written, fast paced and superbly acted, where as Pine Gap is, well, it’s most definitely none of those. 20 minutes in and I was both totally confused and deeply, deeply bored watching scene after scene of differing combinations of two people spouting incomprehensible nonsense to each other to no apparent end.

    The ABC should do us all a favour and immediately liberate this time-slot for a re-run of (almost) literally anything else – but preferably something the ABC had nothing to do with.

  29. They fooled you all. I live less than 5kls away and we all know it’s a Submarine base.
    They come up via the Great Artisian Basin.

    Also I was miffed to not see any of the Aliens all those Gardeners and Janitors look after.

    The plane comes and leaves on Wednesday, during daylight hours, not at night.

  30. I was just wanting to point out that this was a TV SHOW…so I’m sure people have heard of FICTION??!! And I can’t believe no one is prepared to support Australian tv/cinema?! Considering we’re not Hollywood, these people did a decent job. Of course it wasn’t going to be technical because no lay person would have tuned in!! It’s called drama for a reason! Wasn’t meant to be a Michael Moore doc!

  31. Well this just shows that Helen, whatever ever her name is, is really past her used by date. If its not her cup of tea then I suggest she start drinking coffee. I thought it was a good representation of portraying a mythical beast that does not exist.
    Only those who have worked there can realize the fine lines between the Drama, the fiction and the CGI overlays. And they don’t need to read the subtitles to figure out whats actually between the lines. The timing release was well placed and I imagine it can only do good for Australia.
    I wait in anticipation for what is to follow. Good On Ya ABC.

    1. I agree.i think the reviewer was too harsh.the scenarios are courageous and controversial but real possibility.i agree though the script can drage at times and the twists and turns are perhaps too numerous or complex and the resulting loss of trust seems to be easily regained in face of overwhelming crisis like ww3.but i like the level of theme a full on attempt to fictionalise an australian secret icon


    SURE Pine Gap is a huge satellite surveillance facility – but that is just which huge facility’s cover! Pine Gap’s MAIN function is an (evil) alien STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) research and development facility cum (evil) alien STEM repository (I mean, where ELSE do you think the UFOs that crash in Australia go?) cum evil alien liaison facility (there are a number of underground evil alien bases in close proximity to Pine Gap – one of which is a joint US-Australian-Reptilian underground base) cum other supersecret research and development facility. Ergo Pine Gap is like an ant’s nest. With what you see on the surface being mere the ‘lid’ of which nest . . .

  33. I’ve been watching too much Netflix lately, it’s about time I checked some local product. Love the iview app and there’s the latest offering from the ABC drama. A geopolitical thriller about a facility clouded in secrecy on Australian soil – sounds interesting, I’ll give it a go. OMG! I could not get past the first 5 minutes of this corny B grade crap. An expositional, fanciful, cliché performance horror. I cringed and went back to Bojack Horseman or Kidding on Stan.

  34. The comments start with Virgil
    ‘Well this just shows that Helen, whatever ever her name is, is really past her used by date.’
    Let’s assume Virgil is a man and if you examine most of the comments the defensive ones are all men. I guess it’s hard for men to be criticized by women and we have so few female critics in Australia.
    Yes, the review was harsh but to my (female) mind, spot on. The writing was the worst offender and it’s impossible to escape the inevitable creative domino effect of that.
    Helen does have a surname Virgil and a voice. Sorry about that.

    1. What a miserable whiney wet turd on a glass coffee table review; if that’s what you want to call it.

      Sure it could’ve had more depth. Even a ASIO logo on a folder, more of the workings of a joint facility for credibility’s sake, perhaps even a bit more spookiness than the ‘turn back now’ signs, but it’s not as you make out..

      Damn you Google for sending me here.

      1. Good review… People should know not to waste their time with this show. Propaganda aside, it’s brain numbingly bad. If you can sit through this and keep focused on it and not the grass growing outside, I say well done! your a real trooper…

  35. Nice review Helen. Perhaps, and this is a long bow, the show is simply an attempt to lure some commercial station watchers over to Auntie? Or, maybe, all the promos about “It’s Your ABC” are right.

  36. Yes, it is terrible! So predictable and clichéd. The script is so corny I’m pretty sure it was written by a year 6 student. I had to turn it off after 20 minutes. Such a shame because I love the ABC. It’s the only TV station I can bear to watch (SBS would OK without the ads). I want a government fully funds the ABC and SBS. I agree that Pine Gap seems to be an attempt to attract the dopes that watch all that horrible tripe served up by 9, 10 and 7. A bit like how we have to have a smiley guy and a smiley gal to do News Breakfast who crap on about royal weddings and babies (no offence Virginia & Michael). Sadly, ABC drama often falls short. They always seem to be trying to emulate the best of British drama (No, I don’t mean Father Brown) but stories of international intrigue just look lame under the hot Aussie sun. We don’t have the budgets for all that here. And while I’m at it, the claim that the ABC has a left-wing bias is bollocks. What upsets the Libs is that the ABC does not have a right-wing bias like the commercial stations. Notice how the Libs only get off their butts and do anything useful when an issue is brought to light by Four Corners?

  37. I cannot believe the rubbish I have just read. I for one enjoy the show just for entertainment. I don’t want to read anything too deep into the show and I definitely don’t want to analyse it like some of the so called enlightened critics above. It’s a TV show for entertainment, get over it.

    1. Hear, hear! It’s a drama, it’s *fiction*. Its *entertainment* value can of course be debated if that’s a viewer’s thing. Me, I either enjoy or not enjoy films and TV and have, over time, developed a good sense of whether I will or won’t in advance, which helps weed out the crap and avoid disappointment. You’re so lucky to get paid, no doubt very well, to write such attention-seeking drivel, Helen.

  38. I’ve watched the entire series and there is a possibility for a really nail-biting show. Overall I think that the cinematography let the entire series down, this is how I would’ve shot things if I was in year 12. The camera angles were always awkward especially in conversation scenes. The script could’ve done with a bit more drama and excitement. Overall I felt that the cinematography portrayed very poor acting, not necessarily the fault of the actors but rather how they were portrayed.

    I’m excited if another season goes ahead. I think it’s a very different style of drama to what we normally see

    1. Their idea of comedy is an american mispronouncing Canberra… Ahhh ha ha ha… that lady talk funny… Terrible show. I won’t waste my time on it. Might be for some, but it’s not for me thanks….

  39. Yes Helen you are 100% correct.
    However, it wasn’t written for you. It was financed by Netflix and written for US Netflix chillers and some Aussies worked on it because it paid the rent. Ironically, much like the Aussies who actually work at Pine Gap.

    1. Greg,
      I’m a “US Netflix chiller” but I agree with Helen. Problems with the ending.
      Glad to learn a bit more about your country through this show.

  40. Thanks for the review Helen.

    Why are we as a nation being systematically ‘boganised’?

    TV is on-the whole is a load of excrement especially when we ‘have’ to love everything presented as our viewing diet.

    The show is boring. Because basically that is what the work is. Wading through texts and voice recordings to find the bad guys must be soul destroying. Working with the Yanks would give anyone hives.

    I’ve watch the show or its repeats and walk away with a feeling of dread. More for our Australian community that is being distracted while others get on with something they don’t know s*** about.

    Yet I doubt whether a silk purse could have been made out of such a pig’s ear of show.

    But in the bigger picture, maybe it has done some good.


    1. Yes, but who was the leaker? Who was interfering with the computers? It certainly was not clear in the final episode. I will never get back the hours I wasted watching it.

      1. I’m with you on the confusion of the ending. They arrested Eloise as the mole, but what was her motivation? Maybe she was being set up by the real mole? I can’t help but think Zhou orchestrated this.
        Also, why was Deb so stressed for so long. She actually sought medical treatment for insomnia. Was there an answer to this that I missed?

        1. Eloise’s motives were outlined throughout the season which essentially boiled down to being motivated by her ‘ego’ if you want to use the potential motives they outlined in the show. This refers to her being passed over in a very dismissive fashion for various promotion and career advancement opportunities. Her frustration at this can be detected at the bbq held at Kath’s house for example. Also, if you note Moses’ dismissive behaviour towards her at the bbq when discussing the math problem, her position as the mole becomes quite clear in the final episode when Moses mentions his admiration for the method in which the mole installed the software — if you look at how Eloise reacts to his statement it clearly affects her, as she has assumably finally gotten recognition of her intelligence from a man who publicly demeaned her earlier in the series.

          Deb was dealing with PTSD or a similar psychiatric problem from my understanding of it. The drone strike of the assumed terrorist women in one of the first few episodes clearly affected her and her doubt about the moral legitimacy of the actions of Pine Gap was the cause of her upset and insomnia. She was clearly having a crisis of conscience but that appears to be all.

      2. The ending is called a “cliff hanger” people! It’s supposed to leave you guessing and wanting more. I hope a 2nd season is in the works.

        1. Oh my god, SOMEBODY said it! Yes! It was meant to set us up for the next season. And I, for one, hope there is a next season. I thought it was an intriguingly refreshing new concept with enough interpersonal relationship drama to up the tension even more. What’s wrong with entertainment people? It’s not supposed to be a documentary. But as an Australian who has lived many years in the U.S., I think it was pretty spot on for political gamesmanship, the decline of America as a superpower on the world stage (unfortunately we know why its decline is accelerating now), China’s ascendance and Australia being squeezed in the middle.

          The review, if that’s what it can legitimately be called, is appalling and unnecessarily and gratuitously brutal. She sounds like a pompous ass and if I ever stumble across anything else she reviews again I will avoid it like the plague.

  41. I enjoyed all 6 episodes. While not as robust as other well known drama’s, it was quite watchable. I don’t pay too much attention to professional critics, both male and female, as their success rate hasn’t been the best over recent years.

  42. I don’t understand how some reviewers can justify their comments when they haven’t bothered to watch the series. On any other website they would be treated as “trolls”.
    I’ve watched every episode of this show and enjoyed each one.
    It is a work of fiction. Of course the “names” of politicians are incorrect, I guess this is due to the fact that these particular polies don’t in reality exist! It appears that some of these reviewers are forgetting this small fact.
    The script may be a little drawn out at times but as general entertainment goes I find the series entertaining . The actors are a credit to their profession. Obviously, some more than others.
    I do agree that the landscape of that particular part of the country doesn’t appear to be appreciated by the camera to the extent that it should.
    I certainly hope that a second series is being filmed. I’m looking forward to it

    1. I too enjoyed this show and the 6 part first series was mainly to introduce the characters and what they actually do and how they entwine their occupations and private lives. The final episode left a plethora of loose ends and I would hope they do approve a second series.

    2. I thought the show was captivating and could stop watching it. Good story, lots of drama and decent actors. What’s not to like?

  43. Hi Helen, this was not a documentary to teach us about what actually happens at Pine Gap (because it’s top secret, right?), but pure entertainment. From your article you totally missed the point of this show, which is to hang shit on the big and small political games being played. Entertainment. Full stop. Not Meant to be educational. You switched on the wrong brain cells for this one. Cheers IB

  44. This is a poorly written article. I clicked the link because I’ve started watching Pine Gap and thought the cinematography, staging, and sound work were all a little akward. Awkward enough to pull me out of the show and onto the internet looking for reviews. All that said, this article is a mushy mess of writing. It really bugs me that the quality of our writers are going down hill so fast with each generation. The voice in this article is so wish washy. Your writing an article not chewing gum and bullshitting with a friend. Learn your Craft!

    1. “The quality of our writers ARE going down hill so fast…….”. Try the quality IS going down! It sure is!!! And that’s YOU’RE writing an article, not “Your writing…!
      People living in glass houses…

  45. Lightly veiled story about America’s current President and the oppositions attempts to fight and resist. LOL – what steaming bit of ridiculousness.

  46. Didn’t care for anything you had to say even if you’re not a fan of the show you didn’t convince me to dislike it. I honestly can’t understand how someone can be so critical of a fiction netflix drama. I thought it was good.

  47. People that tune out in 20-30 minutes clearly have no patience and are attached to an instant pleasure paradigm. I am guessing Helen is that type. It takes a while to set up the characters and the plot of a mystery thriller. Otherwise, why would you care “who dunnit”? The more I watched it, the more I enjoyed it as it took a bit to engage in the logistics that were obviously indigenous to this particular job of security inteligiance. I am sure the job itself and the tasks involved can be mind numbingly boring until it is not!! There was a bit too much of boring political bantering but nothing is perfect. Are you perfect at your job? I found it very entertaining and the last episode was obviously intended to be puzzling and thought provoking. I look forward to a second season.

  48. What an excessive and vulgar display of opinion,but then it’s all about you, isn’t it? You weren’t entertained sufficiently? I’m not an Australian but I do follow american foreign policy closely. I’d say Pine Gap was a pretty realistic portrayal of America’s declining economic power and China’s ascending power and of the Australian dilemma. The Pacific has been an American Lake for decades. It’s increasingly maintained by military means in the face of declining economic power. There’s a sea change happening and every country in the region is going to have to deal with it, one way or another.

  49. I watched the Pine Gap episodes. It is entertainment and I had no trouble accepting it as such. Maybe I am mindless Netflix binge watcher, but the show was a lot less painful than Helen Razer’s “stinking turd” of a review pooped out above.

    1. I’ll keep my response short.. It may be entertaining (I’ll admit to watching 2 episodes so far and intend to continue watching for the time being) however, the negative reviews which I have read (Including Helen’s) do have merit. To put it simply: Entertainment does not always equate to quality, Cheers

  50. Throughly enjoyed the season of Pine Gap. Like the place, the series created employment. Hope there will be a few more seasons. The ending is just the beginning and can’t wait to see how the story develops. One never quite knows who is playing who or for what purpose /gain in the show and felt the ending was intriguing. Thanks Netflix but please don’t leave it there.

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