Go- to guide for 2012
WITH a new year comes a crop of new shows – some sparkling and new, some lovingly made- over versions of old favourites, some imported from faraway lands and some made here in Australia. Here’s just a handful of what’s on offer from the free- to- air networks and pay- TV stations in the next 12 months. BEACONSFIELD ( WIN) The 2006 mine collapse at Beaconsfield, which killed one man and left two others stranded a kilometre underground, had the entire nation praying for a miracle, one that happened when Tassie miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell were rescued after a fortnight trapped under tonnes of unstable rock. This telemovie documents the efforts to save the two men and the courage of Webb and Russell ( played by a perfectly cast Shane Jacobson and Lachy Hulme respectively) as they faced overwhelming odds. CONSPIRACY 365 ( FMC pay- TV) Gabrielle Lord’s best- selling series of young- adult adventure novels comes to the screen in this big- budget, action- packed 13- part series that thrusts its young hero Cal Ormond ( Harrison Gilbertson) into a sinister plot where the stakes are high and no one can be trusted. GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES/ G. C. B. ( Southern Cross) With Desperate Housewives soon calling it a day, the stage is set for another saga of backstabbing, bitching and bad behaviour among the well- to- do women of suburbia. This US comedy- drama about a divorced mother of two who returns to her hometown to find her holier- than- thou high- school frenemies ruling the roost may have the right stuff. HOMELAND ( TDT) We have an early frontrunner for the best series of the year. This intense, intelligent drama is about a CIA agent ( Claire Danes) who suspects a US Marine ( Damian Lewis) of being a terrorist. It works brilliantly as both a white- knuckle thriller and an emotional powerhouse. Danes, Lewis and Mandy Patinkin should probably start making room on their shelves for awards. MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES ( ABC) The ABC has gone a little crime- crazy this year. And this adaptation of crime author Kerry Greenwood’s well- loved mysteries, featuring The Slap ’ s Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher, an aristocratic private eye in the roaring ’ 20s, certainly fits right in, although the mood looks to be sly and smart rather than grim and gritty. SPORTSFEVER! ( Southern Cross) The soccer- loving trio of Santo Cilauro, Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang were a big hit when they discussed the 2010 World Cup for SBS, so it was only time before a commercial network snapped them up. These are three funny gents working with a proven formula. THE STRAITS ( ABC) When I visited the set of this 10- part crime drama, I was given a detailed rundown of the series’ complete storyline. By the time I reached the events of episode five, I tossed it away because it was so gripping I didn’t want to spoil the ending when I watched the finished product. Based on the first few episodes I’ve seen of this Godfather- style tale of a Queensland clan of smugglers fighting their enemies and themselves, the energy, excitement and danger have definitely made it to the screen. THE VOICE ( WIN) Nine’s take on the popular US singing competition is hoping to lure those viewers hooked on the likes of Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor. Hopefully the presence of Keith Urban, Delta Goodrem, Seal and Joel Madden will do the trick. THE WALKING DEAD ( FX pay- TV) One of the flagship shows of new pay- TV station FX, this gory drama about a rag- tag bunch of survivors trying to find something worth living for in a world overrun by hungry, hostile zombies is tough going for the sensitive and squeamish but it’s also unexpectedly moving. Be warned: it may not be ideal dinner- time viewing. YOUNG TALENT TIME ( TDT) Brace yourself for a few reboots including Big Brother on WIN. One of the biggest gambles might be a new take on this old favourite, which featured a cast of precocious performers doing highenergy covers of the hits of the day. Will a generation of young talent win over audiences the same way? Stay tuned.