I watched the first episode of Magazine Wars, one of the ABC’s anticipated Sunday night dramas last weekend. It’s the sequel to the popular Paper Giants, and depicts the rivalry between New Idea and Woman’s Day and their editors Dulcie Boling and Nene King in the 1990s.
King (Mandy McElhinney) quits New Idea when she is passed over for promotion by Boling (Rachel Griffiths). She becomes editor of Woman’s Day and wages a campaign to outsell her old magazine by running celebrity scandal stories, culminating in the Fergie toe-sucker photos which finally push sales past those of her rival.
Though the reviews I’ve read have been positive, I’m ambivalent about Magazine Wars. The acting and production standards are high, but King succeeded by invading the privacy of well known people, digging out gossip and scandal, and quite possibly pioneering the approach I’ve been critical of in other posts. Does her feisty personality and underdog status make that okay, even something to celebrate? I don’t think so. The next episode will cover the death of Princess Diana, and I’ll be interested to see how they handle that.
The second and final episode airs this Sunday at 8.30pm on ABC1.