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Blackbox

  |   Date Published: Tuesday, 22 May 12   |   Author: Tracy Heffernan   |   2 years, 3 months ago

Pour the champagne cocktails, pull out the fondue pot and get your best Eurotrash on. It’s Eurovision time! If you’re a devotee there are the semi-finals (SBS1, Fri-Sat May 25-27, 8:30pm) and The Road to Azerbaijan with Julia Zemiro (SBS1, Fri-Sat May 25-27, 7:30pm). But the Eurovision Final (SBS1, Sun May 27, 7:30pm) where you get to hear them say ‘[Small European nation ending in -stan] – no points’, is definitely the main event. This year the entry du jour is the emotional ballad and host nation Azerbaijan has led the charge. As always there’s a good share of trashy dance tracks and novelty entries from countries trying not to make it through. The UK has sent Englebert Humperdink; the token hard rock track comes from Slovakia who have opened a portal to the late ‘80s; and Austria look like an industrial version of the Revenge of the Nerds finale. Sweden’s Loreen may be the favourite but Blackbox points go to Montenegro’s Rambo Amadeus. There’s a donkey in the film clip. You have to give points for a donkey.

Elsewhere it’s all about bikies: Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms (SCTEN, Tue, 8:30pm) continues and Sons of Anarchy (One, Wed May 23, 9:40pm) has a start date. Insight (SBS1, Tue Jun 5, 8:30pm) is getting into the act and there’s even a bikie-themed episode of CSI (GEM, Sat May 26, 10:30pm).

New shows this week include Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell (ABC1, Fri May 25, 8pm) a round up of the week’s news Micallef-style, the most inventive talent show Bollywood Star (SBS1, Sat Jun 9, 7:30pm) with the prize of Bollywood stardom, Archer (ABC2, Tue, 9pm) an animated spy comedy, new Fringe (Go!, Mon May 28, 10:30pm), Sanctuary (ABC2, Tue Jun 5, 9:25pm) and Downton Abbey (Prime, Sun, 8:30pm).

Docos to check out include Sunday Best: We Were Here (ABC2, Sun Jun 3, 8:30pm) about AIDS in the ‘80s, The Truth About Child Brides (ABC2, Wed May 30, 9:30pm) and The Story of Wales (SBS1, Fri Jun 1, 8:30pm). There are some great shows airing in the US at the moment starting with the jaw-dropping second season of Game of Thrones on Fox. There are also a couple of newbies that will hopefully get some free-to-air investment. Girls is an enthralling drama about four twenty-somethings in NYC. It straddles the timeline between Gossip Girl and Sex and the City (11, Fri, 9:40pm) but is grittier and pushes more boundaries. Veep is a US adaptation of The Thick of It starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President.

The new season US shows were announced last week and include comedies The Neighbours about a gated community where aliens reside and dramas 666 Park Avenue about a haunted NYC apartment building, Zero Hour, starring Anthony Edwards as the editor of a skeptics mag, and Arrow, based on DC Comics character.

New Australian projects include Aunty’s This Christmas, a six-part comedy about an anti-Christmas family to air (you guessed it) in the lead up to Christmas, Mr &Mrs Murder a 13-part comedy crime series starring Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart for SCTEN which has just been funded by Screen Australia and a telemovie of Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore.

 

Tracy Heffernan

tracyheffernan@bigpond.com
@ChezBlackbox

Blackbox:

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.

 

TRACY HEFFERNAN

tracyheffernan@bigpond.com

@ChezBlackbox

 

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