Fat Tony and Co. doesn’t bear the title “Underbelly” (for reasons to do with Screen Australia that I don’t really understand) but it’s the most Underbelly-esque series yet.
It’s essentially a remix of the first series, with most actors returning (except for the ones who, y’know, actually became successful), with the masculinity pumped up to eleven. Even the female voiceover is co-opted by Stephen Curry. Every moment of exposition – including the opening scene – takes place in tepid testosterone tarns: a strip club, while playing poker, while lifting weights, while playing poker at a strip club and – in a moment that strays into self-parody – while getting a boob massage from a naked lady.
It’s perhaps not surprising that the turncoats, the weak-willed traitors amongst the characters are the single gay character and single female cop (I’m surprised Christine Nixon wasn’t renamed Christopher).
It’s not as bad as Squizzy, but that’s slim praise. Tony Mokbel (Robert Mammone) is a drearily uninteresting lead, like a one-dimensional Tony Soprano. The best thing about the original Underbelly was Gyton Grantley and Kat Stewart as Carl and Roberta Williams (the latter now played by the underwhelming, unsubtle Hollie Andrew); but here they’re reduced to capering clowns.