Television Lyndall Crisp on the week’s best viewing
The Wizard of Oz
Saturday, 7.30pm (7pm Tas), Nine
Judy Garland was just 16 when this classic musical fantasy adventure launched her 40-year career. Released in 1939, it failed to recoup MGM’s investment. Re-releases in subsequent years reversed its fortunes. Garland plays Dorothy Gale, a farm girl from Kansas, who runs away from home and finds herself with new friends in the land of Oz. To get back home she must travel along the Yellow Brick Road and escape the Wicked Witch of the West, who wants Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
Saturday, 7.30pm, SBS One
The last of four episodes in this wonderful nature series, Wild Croatia zeroes in on ‘‘ a pocket paradise of enormous contrasts where nature’s untamed and raw beauty provides home for rare beasts’’. With its eight national parks covering more than 1000sq km, Croatia is one of the world’s best kept secrets.
Hell on Wheels
Monday, 9.30pm, ABC2
It has been a while since a good western has come our way. The second season of this one, from the makers of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, is set in 1866 during construction of the part of the first transcontinental railroad that runs from Missouri in the midwest to Utah in the west. The series centres on Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former Confederate soldier who worked as a foreman on the railroad. He’s hell-bent on avenging the deaths of his wife and son, murdered by Union soldiers. Here in Viva La Mexico, the payroll train is held up yet again; a guard shoots one of the robbers in the shoulder. It turns out to be Bohannon.
Tuesday, 11pm, SBS One
The original Danish-Swedish production of this terrific police drama, shown here in 2012, spawned an American version that wasn’t as subtle or clever. In episode one, what appears to be the body of a Swedish politician is found midway across the bridge that joins Denmark and Sweden. But the corpse turns out to consist of one half of two bodies — the second half belongs to a Danish prostitute. A journalist receives a series of unnerving calls from someone claiming to be the killer, but you’ll keep guessing his identity till the 10th and final episode. Quality television.
Wednesday, 8.30pm, Nine
Suspicious Minds is the penultimate episode of this 15-part series starring Toni Colette as Ellen Sanders, the Washington surgeon about to operate on President Paul Kincaid (James Naughton). She and her family are held hostage by bad guys who threaten to murder them if Ellen doesn’t kill Kincaid while operating on him. Several people have different reasons for wanting the president dead. One is FBI special agent Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott). His wife, Nina, is dying of cancer; her only hope is a bone marrow transplant. Guess who is the only suitable donor? Yes, the president, who in younger days raped Nina’s mother. He doesn’t know he has a daughter and, politics being politics, would have her killed if he found out.
Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home
Wednesday, 8.30pm, ABC1
Last year we watched McCloud build a sustainable eco-friendly, transportable oak shed in the woods using only recycled materials. An admirable achievement even if the finished construction looked a bit odd. In this new series, he moves the shed to Watchet, on the coast of Somerset. He gives it a nautical theme and expands it using what he can find locally including shopping trolleys and aircraft windows. Driftwood provides decking and fish oil is fuel for the lamps.
Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare
Wednesday, 9.20pm, ABC1
This time of year, when we’d all love some good telly, there are far too many repeats. At least this has some meat — if you’re into renovations. Property expert Sarah Beeny bought 97-room Rise Hall in East Yorkshire 10 years ago. Her plan is to turn it into a wedding reception centre in nine months and on a shoestring budget. This is the first episode in the series in which she tackles rising damp, a leaking roof, bothersome neighbours and a demanding local council.
Wednesday, 9.30pm, SBS One
You may have thought this second season ended before Christmas when the PM’s communications chief Kasper (Pilou Asbaek) broke down and told his TV journalist girlfriend Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) his father had sexually abused him as a child. But the good news is there’s more — another four episodes in this series and a third series is on its way. Denmark’s first female PM, Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), continues to have problems at home and at work. With her popularity flagging, she decides to volunteer to negotiate peace in Kharun, an African country beset by civil war and corruption.
Thursday, 9.30pm, SBS One
Based on the novels by Robert Wilson, this British four-part drama set in Spain revolves around chief inspector Javier Falcon (Marton Csokas). In The Blind Man of Seville, he investigates the murder of Carlos Jimenez, a wealthy restaurant owner in Seville who is found tied to a chair and almost naked with his eyelids cut off. His beautiful young second wife, Consuelo (Hayley Atwell), stands to inherit the vast estate. Given she has a lover and knew Carlos frequented hookers, she’s a suspect. Falcon is your typical moody TV detective whose marriage has ended acrimoniously because he’s a workaholic, but he has yet to admit it.
The Moaning of Life
Thursday, 9.30pm, ABC1
Karl Pilkington, the fall guy in Ricky Gervais’s An Idiot Abroad, is a natural comedian. In the second half of this two-parter, Happiness, he continues to travel the world seeing what others think about life’s big question, what is happiness. Relieving stress, exercise or maybe giving up? ‘‘ Cake,’’ he says. In Mexico, he joins a marathon and wins a goat but the pain outweighs the happiness. In Los Angeles he has costly wrinkle reduction treatment but can’t see the difference.
Friday, 9.25pm, Nine
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Los Angeles firefighter Gordon Brewer in this 2002 action film. Brewer becomes involved in a dangerous world when he travels to Colombia to confront the guerilla commando who killed his wife and child.