QUICK BITES

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

Tsunami: Wave of Dis­as­ter, 8.30pm, Seven This doc­u­men­tary about the tsunami of Box­ing Day, 2004, spends a lot of time set­ting us up with fire dancers and car­olling young­sters on Thai is­lands, with colour­ful night fish­er­men off In­dia’s Coro­man­del coast, in Tamil Tiger ter­ri­tory in Sri Lanka, and of course in Banda Aceh, In­done­sia, pic­tured. The footage is mixed, with at­ten­tive eyes on seis­mo­graphs so we know some­thing omi­nous is brew­ing. The idea is that we will reg­is­ter the hu­man face of the dis­as­ter, and vir­tu­ally know the peo­ple who are af­fected by the wave. This works in­cred­i­bly well, as sur­vivors are able to add voice- overs to awe­some dis­as­ter footage as it is hap­pen­ing. A beau­ti­fully made but hor­ri­ble re­minder of how na­ture can take vengeance, even in par­adise, with scant re­gard for hu­man life. Sci­en­tif­i­cally in­formed, metic­u­lously pre­pared and re­searched and, at times, quite ter­ri­fy­ing. Man’s Work, 11pm, Seven As far as I can tell, this is about some English loser called Ash­ley, a waster, who at 35 has never worked a day in his life. Ash­ley goes around the world tak­ing daft, manly chal­lenges, while con­tin­u­ing to smoke and drink his way to obliv­ion. In this episode he is ex­ported to Aus­tralia, get this, to play an Aussie rules game with the Syd­ney Swans. Right. That hap­pens all the time. Not with­out hu­mour (‘‘ crowd surf­ing,’’ Ash­ley replies, when asked what his usual sport is), es­pe­cially of the self- dep­re­cat­ing kind. The fea­tured Aussie rules play­ers rel­ish ev­ery imag­in­able way to Pom­mie bash, which is mod­er­ately sat­is­fy­ing, but the show seems ul­ti­mately point­less.

Ian Cuth­bert­son

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