1. IT'S A FRESH TAKE ON WW1
Think "World War One" and certain images will probably flash through your mind. The winding trenches of Europe, the jingoistic British anthems, the squalid mix of mud and blood. But Deadline Gallipoli is different. Set on a sun-scorched peninsula in what is now Turkey, with sweeping shots of sparkling seas and golden hill tops, it looks a world apart from most WW1 stories. Its focus is different too, because this is about journalists embedded with the soldiers, rather than the soldiers themselves. In fact, the makers of Deadline Gallipoli firmly decided that "no scene was to be made from any other point of view than the journalists". This means Deadline Gallipoli gives us a unique new perspective on the carnage of WW1, entirely through the eyes of the brave reporters who risked everything to get the news back from the front.
2. IT HAS A SUPERB CAST
It's a testament to the importance of the Gallipoli legend in Australian culture that many top Aussie stars signed up to appear in this drama. They include Sam Worthington - the strapping Hollywood heartthrob from blockbusters like Avatar and Clash of the Titans - and Bryan Brown, the veteran star of classics like Gorillas in the Mist and Cocktail. Another representative from Down Under is Anna Torv, known to sci-fi fans for her leading role in Fringe. British stars also have big roles, with Hugh Dancy playing a smooth-talking, aristocratic reporter, and Charles Dance as masterful and intimidating as ever in the role of a military bigwig.
3. THE BATTLE SCENES ARE IMMENSE
From its very first moments, Deadline Gallipoli packs a visceral punch. The opening scene pans across a blasted landscape as Australian soldiers charge forward, their brothers cut down by bullets and blasted by bombs around them, and every battle scene after that has the same cinematic intensity. Whether we're seeing soldiers scurry across the blazingly heated landscape of the Ottoman Empire, an armada of ships billowing smoke in a crammed harbour, or entering the claustrophobic quarters of the men as they dodge grenades and dive for cover, this is a TV drama that more than holds its own against big screen war epics.
4. IT REVEALS A SECRET STRUGGLE
War is hell, but we know that already. Deadline Gallipoli isn't just about the horrors of the conflict itself - it actually tells a story that's been hidden for far too long. The story of how the top military brass actively concealed the calamity of the Gallipoli campaign, and tried their best to censor the journalists who were so dedicated to reporting what was going on. What we have is a story of integrity vs corruption, of truth-seekers vs the powers that be. Some of it will probably make your blood boil, but you'll be practically punching the air when the reporters rebel against the lies they're told to tell.
5. IT'S ABOUT REAL PEOPLE
And we don't just mean the major players are based on historical figures (although they are). No, Deadline Gallipoli is about real people in that the characters are fully fleshed out and three-dimensional. This isn't a world of black-and-white absolutes, of obvious heroes and villains. While our central quartet of journalists are on the side of truth, they all have their flaws - whether it's arrogance and vanity, a taste for illicit affairs, or a tendency to pop open Champagne and toast their own brilliance in the midst of wartime horror. It's this complexity that makes Deadline Gallipoli so powerful and moving. Over the course of this epic story, we see them develop and grow, and come to know them almost as friends. And we'll miss them when they're gone.