The SBS series about a female boxing trainer is one of the best Australian shows this year
- byGavin Scott
On WHO's TV podcast, Binge List, I've gotten over-enthusiastic about a couple of Australian dramas this year after watching their first episodes, only to be disappointed when subsequent episodes haven't maintained the standard. That's not the case with new four-part series On the Ropes, which begins tonight on SBS. I've watched three episodes so far and can't wait to watch the finale. We chat about the show in this week's episode of Binge List - and I explain why I enjoyed the show so much following the trailer below.
On the Ropes follows the Al-Amirs, for whom boxing is the family business. Dad Sami (Igal Naor) is a former champ who now runs a gym in Western Sydney staffed by both his sons, one of whom also fights. Then there’s daughter Amirah (Nicole Chamoun, in what will be a career-bolstering role). She wants nothing more than to work as a professional trainer, so much so that she goes behind her discouraging father’s back to set up a bout for one of her fighters, Jess (Keisha Castle-Hughes), with promoter Strick (Jack Thompson).
But while the combat sport might be at the heart of this new Australian drama, less time is spent in the ring and more attention is given to the relationships between family members, and between Amirah and the boxers she trains – a list that includes MMA fighter Lachy (Louis Hunter), who she convinces to switch things up under her tutelage. The fact that Lachy has the hots for her makes it an easy enough sell.
It’s what On the Ropes does with that family conflict and central romance that makes this four-part series a cut above most other local productions this year. Instead of letting the Al-Amirs’ ethnicity, Jess’s sexuality or the religion of its many Muslim characters define the series, it uses those elements as background colour and just gets on with telling its story. And that’s a story that deals with fairly universal themes of family, ambition and gender inequality. ￼￼
Listen to this week's episode of Binge List (below) to hear more of what the team thinks of On the Ropes, and tune in to SBS tonight at 8.35pm for Episode 1.
Gavin ScottA pop culture enthusiast from a young age, Gavin is equally passionate about great pop music (’80s synthpop, ’10s dream pop), gripping TV series (Friday Night Lights, The Handmaid’s Tale) and trips to the cinema (I love a blockbuster as much as anyone, but I’m done with the superhero thing).