HBO Attends Summer Heights High

New Zealand comedy “Flight of the Concords” was enough of a success for HBO that the cable broadcaster has gone to NZ’s neighbour Australia for their latest acquisition says Reuters.

The network has acquired the critically acclaimed and popular eight-episode Australian mockumentary series “Summer Heights High” and will air it starting in June.

“High” chronicles high school life through three characters, all played by show creator/writer Chris Lilley. They include Mr. G, a self-important, effeminate and vain drama teacher; Ja’mie, a self-absorbed and catty exchange student; and Jonah, a delinquent student from the Pacific Island of Tonga.

Shot on location at a real high school and featuring real-life students and faculty, the show was a critics and rating success and quickly became the most successful TV DVD release in Australia.

The series also generated a lot of controversy. Politically incorrect content is a key part of the show – from Jonah’s racial remarks to Mr. G’s abuse of students – especially the disabled (see the first clip below for an example).

Most notable was that a subplot of the series revolved around drama teacher Mr. G creating an “arena musical spectacular” about Annabelle Dickson, a student who died from overdosing on ecstasy at a dance party. Two weeks after filming was complete, real life student Annabel Catt (who also bears a physical resemblance to the show’s ‘Annabelle’) died taking drugs at a music festival in Sydney.

The show will run in a late-night Friday comedy block with HBO’s new animated comedy “The Life and Times of Tim” during the offseason of “Real Time With Bill Maher.”