The ABC has completed the Phoenix/Janus collection on dvd with the release of the second series of Janus on dvd this week. A few years ago I was very disappointed when I decided to watch these series again and found that they weren’t available, so great that they are all out now. Once again I’ll use the occasion to recommend them. I can’t think of any Australian drama series that I’ve liked better. I think they should appeal to fans of The Wire, as the approach is somewhat similar (and rather groundbreaking when they were first aired), though admittedly on a rather more modest scale. Each series follows a single police investigation (in the case of Phoenix) or court trial (Janus) over 12 or so episodes. They took a much more realist approach to any other series around at the time (early to mid 90’s), for a start they were set in a real city (Melbourne) which was very recognisable, and many events were loosely based on real life events (not uncommon now with the likes of Underbelly, but not common then). In the same way that the Wire shifts focus each series, there was a shift from following the police investigations in Phoenix, to the legal process in Janus, with one character being the link between the otherwise largely independent series. It will certainly look rather low budget compared to the Wire, though aside from that comparison it stands up very well. It is really worth seeing if you haven’t already (and if you have you’re probably already getting the dvds).