'The Heights' returns for second season

The Heights season 2 cast, photo by Ben King
'The Heights' season 2 cast. Photo: Ben King

The Heights, season 2
Directed by Karl Zwicky, Renee Webster, Tenika Smith, Jub Clerc and Kelli Cross
Starring Rupert Reid, Shari Sebbens, Calen Tassone, Roz Hammond, Bridie McKim, Fiona Press, Mitchell Bourke, Dan Paris, Saskia Hampele, Phoenix Raei, Yazeed Daher, Carina Hoang, Koa Nuen, Cara McCarthy, Briallen Clarke, Kelton Pell
ABC TV, beginning March 12

In its first season, The Heights established itself as a refreshingly new take on that great Australian TV staple, the soap opera.

The plot revolves around the commonalities and conflicts in a fictional inner-city community, where a long-established high-rise public housing estate, called Arcadia Heights, finds itself surrounded by a rising tide of gentrification.

There is plenty of dramatic — and comedic — room for many strands of class stratification and multiculturalism to be teased out.

Some families face drug addiction and the ever-present danger of their children being taken into care. Migrant families establishing themselves in a strange land are dealing with culture shock while others struggle with the trials of yuppiehood.

In the second episode of the 2020 season it is refreshing to see the prospect of choosing abortion for an unexpected pregnancy discussed in a straightforward and realistic manner, as is the take on the soap opera bread-and-butter, troubled teenaged romance.

The writing is crisp and the acting first class. For Perth residents there is the pleasure of seeing the city used as a backdrop and for the long list of WA film creatives and actors it is a welcome meal ticket.

The ABC is to be congratulated for supporting The Heights into its second series. It demonstrates that regional centres can produce excellent TV.

Let’s hope that other cities will be encouraged to shine like this.