Across the 13 episodes of the first series, the show averaged week to week a respectable 950,000-odd viewers – premiering with 1,700,000 back in August. Given the 7:30pm timeslot on Sunday night it was always going to have to work hard, and while it didn’t win every week it did deliver a respectable second otherwise. That wasn’t good enough for Channel 7 with their current “win at all costs” mentality.
Wild Boys dared to be a drama that didn’t flash flesh or go heavy on violence. It was a drama that a family with older kids could sit down and enjoy together, as it wound a story of intrigue and conspiracy against a late 19th century Australia around the goldrush. It also drew from a great pool of guest actors, including Bille Brown and Colin Friels. What’s most startling is that ratings the series was getting was considered to not qualify for a second series – in the first season of any show we’re still getting to know the characters and their lot in life. It’s in the second series that we appreciate the situation they’re in and really get behind them in their endeavours.
With the DVD box set due for release in late December, Wild Boys will now only live on as a casulaty of the 2011 ratings season… a victim of accountacy programming where drama with gut, heart and life count for nothing.