Adam Hills – King of TV?

Adam Hills on the set of his new talk show 'Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight'

Adam Hills has a new TV show and in my humble opinion, it kinda rocks!

Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight airs on Wednesday nights at 8:30 on ABC1 and has all the basic components of a successful talk show – celebrity guests, comedy and live music. Hills, however, has managed to take it a step further.

This may very well be the most stressful show to be part of the studio audience. Why? Because before every show audience members fill out a questionaire on whatever topic the show is based around that week. Questions include things like ‘What advice would you give your younger self?’ and Hills takes these answers and builds skits or performances around them. He also uses audience info to embarrass audience members – hence most nerve-racking audience to participate in. In fact, Hills is all about audience participation. They bring in incomplete childhood projects, their worst fashion moments and photos of them as children and Adam picks them out at random and quizzes them on their motifs or simply makes fun of their hair. Sometimes, if audience members mention pets or issues with their wardrobes, Adam sends Dave O’Neil to their houses (!) where he ferrets around in their belongings and scares the hell out of their cats.

During this segment of the show Adam is usually joined by Hannah Gadsby, a stand-up comedian from Tasmania whose dry, self-deprecating humor lends a delightful comedic element to the show. Her witty interjections into the show’s interviews and other segments are often priceless.

Hills’ guests range from popular Australian actors and actresses to inspiring public speakers and his comedian friends from around the world. Every week there are funny and insightful interviews with interesting people you may never have even heard of. Guests so far have included Frank Woodley, Tony Martin, Nick Vujicic, Claudia Karvan, Dave Hughes, Dexter author Jeff Lindsay, Anna Bligh, Ahn Do and Melissa George.

The live music section of the show has been simultaneously brilliant and disappointing. There are two musical segments during the show. One in the middle which usually consists of an artist performing a cover and the main musical act at the end of the show. It is the middle segment that seems to be letting the show down. So far, every act seems to be just reciting the song, rather than putting their own creative spin on it. This unfortunately makes for a very boring lull in the show. Hills needs to take inspiration from Triple J’s ‘Like a Version’ segment where musicians take a song from a different genre and make it their own.

The artists who have played at the end of the show have so far been diverse and entertaining. Acts have included Sparkadia, Architecture in Helsinki, Little Red and Neon Trees.

All in all, if Hills can get that one little musical glitch under control, this has the makings of an iconic Australian programme.

Head to http://www.abc.net.au/tv/adamhillsIGST/default.htm to read more about the show, watch past episodes and view exclusive videos. -C

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