Let’s face it: the one thing Aussie TV has honed in recent years is producing stories of important characters or events in our recent past. Think Ita, the soon to be released Packer biopic, Bastard Boys, the original Underbelly, Hawke and Keating (who fittingly got a musical instead). These were stories filled with characters we knew well.
Mabo (ABC1, Sun Jun 10, 8.30pm) is something else altogether. Despite his name being synonymous with the struggle for Indigenous land rights, this beautifully shot and detailed story of Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo is an informative tale of a determined man, a tender love story and a revealing look at Australia’s recent past.
Dollhouse (ELEVEN, Mon Jun 11, 9.30pm) is almost the complete opposite of Mabo and has slid quietly into the TV guide without a peep. Penned by the revered Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly and The Avengers), the sci-fi series is about a corporation programming ‘actives’ with temporary personalities and skills for wealthy clients. Like Firefly, it was cancelled while airing, this time during the second season.
Myf Warhurst’s Nice (ABC1, Wed Jun 13, 8pm) is a personal trip through the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s looking at music food, fashion, photography, art and design. It’s Australian pop culture through a Gen-X lens. By the time you’re done you’ll recognise the girl in the Chico Roll ads and be singing love duets with the best of them. The first episode features Kenny Rogers and Paul Gray from Wa Wa Nee. And it gets better from there.
Jennifer Byrne has been busy of late. When not appearing on hubby Andrew Denton’s Randling (ABC1, Wed, 8.30pm), she’s been compiling a series of bookworm specials for winter shut-ins: Jennifer Byrne Presents: Punchlines (ABC1, Tue Jun 12, 10pm); Erotica (ABC1, Tue Jun 12, 10.05pm) and Books That Changed The World (ABC1, Tue Jun 26, 10.15pm).
There’s heaps of other new stuff hitting screens this fortnight, including Ricky Gervais’ mockumentary Life’s Too Short (ABC1, Wed Jun 13, 9.05pm), amateur photo comp Photo Finish (ABC1, Thu Jun 14, 8pm), HBO comedy Bored To Death (ABC2, Mon 9.30pm), BBC dramedy Death In Paradise (ABC1, Sat Jun 9, 7.30pm), Hamish and Andy’s Euro Gap Year (WIN, Thu Jun 14, 8.30pm), new Man vs Wild (SBS1, Mon Jun 18, 8.30pm) and reruns of The Wonder Years (ABC1 Sat Jun 9 5pm) and Kojak (7TWO, Mon-Fri 12pm & 3.30am).
Docos include Dumb, Drunk and Racist (ABC2, Wed Jun 20, 9.30pm), in which Joe Hildebrand gives Indians a look at Australian culture, Utopia Girls (ABC1, Thu Jun 14, 9.30pm) on how women won the vote, Wallis Simpson: The Secret Letters (ABC2, Thu Jun 7, 9.30pm), Ross Kemp: Extreme World (ABC1 Wed Jun 20 10pm), Death Unexplained (SBS1, Jun 19, 8.40pm) and Foreign Correspondent Presents: 20 Years (ABC1, Tue Jun 19, 8.30pm).
Plenty for the foodies too, including Nigel Slater’s Simple Cooking (ABC1, Sat Jun 9, 6pm) and Island Feast with Peter Kuruvita (SBS1, Thu 8pm).
There’s a raft of ‘80s films including Mystic Pizza (ABC2, Sat Jun 9, 8.30pm), Pretty in Pink (WIN, Sun Jun 10, 8.35pm) and Teen Wolf (ABC2, Sat Jun 16, 8.30pm).
Finally, fans of The Wire should check out Maxim’s interview with the creators and stars of the show, which features some great insights for fans.