Ryan Griffen’s TV creation is very clever, man

Science fiction drama Cleverman is breaking new ground, attracting a record five nominations in Australian TV’s annual Logie Awards to be held this month.

It is the biggest number of nominations in a single year for an Indigenous production, surpassing Redfern Now (four nominations) and Mabo (three).

The ABC series is a contender for Best Drama and three of its cast members are up for individual awards in four categories.

Deborah Mailman has been nominated for Best Actress, while Rob Collins has nominations in two categories — Best New Talent and Most Outstanding Newcomer.

Hunter Page-Lochard is up for Most Outstanding Newcomer.

Cleverman creator Ryan Griffen, who came up with the series because he wanted his son to have an Indigenous superhero, said the show just kept growing.

“What it does show is we have amazing talent and it’s great that they are being recognised for their work,” he said.

“There will be a table there (on Logies night) for Cleverman, but the ABC will also have one, so we’ll probably have the Black Comedy people on there as well.

“It’s quite an exciting time to be all there and celebrate as one.”

Griffen said he’d first come up with the idea for the show when his son was three.

“That was seven years ago. It’s been a big journey and it just keeps getting bigger.”

Griffen said Cleverman’s second season of the show would be just strong as the first.

“The good thing is all the actors know their characters and get to explore that a bit more,” he said.

“We don’t need to set up the world. We’ve created the world and we can take it anywhere we want from there, which is really exciting.”

Griffen said Cleverman had just being released on Netflix in the US and the UK.

“It just keeps building a wider audience each month,” he said.

“We actually have a bigger fan base overseas than we do at home. We have a really strong American audience, predominantly black Americans and Latino, which is great because they can relate to the struggles we are putting into the show.

“They really get excited about the storytelling and characters on the screen.”

The Logie Awards will be held in Melbourne on April 23.

In the category of Best Drama Series, Cleverman is up against Foxtel dramas A Place To Call Home and Wentworth, as well as two other ABC series, Rake and The Code.

Mailman’s competition in the Best Actress category includes Asher Keddie from Ten’s Offspring, Jessica Marais from Nine’s Love Child, Jessica Mauboy for the Seven series Secret Daughter and Marta Dusseldorp from A Place to Call Home.

Mailman is also nominated for Most Outstanding Supporting Actress for her roles in Stan and Wolf Creek.

Meanwhile, Black Comedy, which airs on the ABC, is a contender for Most Outstanding Comedy Program and National Indigenous TV is nominated for Most Outstanding News Coverage for its report, S.A. Waste Dump.

By Wendy Caccetta

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