Free-to-air films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free-to-air -

Loosely in­spired by the writ­ings of GK Ch­ester­ton, this gen­tle, bu­colic BBC mys­tery se­ries re­turned last week for its fifth sea­son, be­gin­ning with a Christ­mas spe­cial. It’s set in the 1950s in the sleepy Cotswold vil­lage of Kem­ble­ford, where Fa­ther Brown (Mark Wil­liams) rides around on his bi­cy­cle, solv­ing crimes. There is no knock­ing this se­ries’ ap­peal: the BBC has sold it across 162 ter­ri­to­ries. Tonight’s episode is ti­tled The Labyrinth of the Mino­taur. Check out this ter­rific new se­ries from Malaysian- born comic Ronny Chieng, skew­er­ing the mod­ern mul­ti­cul­tural cam­pus and loosely based on his ex­pe­ri­ences as a for­eign stu­dent in Mel­bourne. (The pi­lot and episode one are avail­able on ABC iView.) This week, the in­ter­na­tional stu­dents be­come ac­quainted with AFL, and con­versely the Aus­tralian stu­dents en­counter Ronny, Elvin (Hoa Xuande) and Wei Jun (Shuang Hu, also star­ring in The Fam­ily Law, which re­turns on Thurs­day) play­ing an Asian game called chap­teh. Plus, a sub­ject to which all ter­tiary stu­dents can prob­a­bly re­late: the vex­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of group as­sign­ments. Chieng is best known for his work on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. This se­ries is co-pro­duced by the same chan­nel — Com­edy Cen­tral — which will air it later this year. Line of Duty Fri­day, 9.20pm, ABC An­other Bri­tish se­ries of ro­bust pop­u­lar­ity, Line of Duty, re­turns for a third sea­son. If your idea of Bri­tish polic­ing still re­sem­bles some­thing from The Bill, with “peel­ers” hold­ing their cus­to­dian hel­mets in one hand and shak­ing their ba­tons at mis­cre­ants with the other, this thriller will trans­port you into the present day (though it Side Ef­fects must be noted the events of last week could eas­ily push this se­ries into the “too close to re­al­ity“bas­ket). Daniel Mays plays sergeant Danny Wal­dron, a highly pro­fi­cient but eth­i­cally mal­leable leader of an armed re­sponse unit. In the open­ing scenes of this episode, what should have been the rou­tine ar­rest of an gun-tot­ing crim­i­nal goes to pot, and there­after Wal­dron and his team have a hard time keep­ing their sto­ries straight. Sea­son four just fin­ished screen­ing in Bri­tain, with very strong rat­ings. It is a ver­i­ta­ble on­slaught of Mummy-this and Pirates-that on free-to-air TV this week, all at­tempt­ing to bask in the glow of their re­cently re­leased cin­e­matic coun­ter­parts (how long be­fore they start show­ing re­peats of Won­der Woman with Lynda Carter?). Two high-qual­ity films that deal with far more grave mat­ters — pre­scrip­tion drugs — air this week. Steven Soder­bergh’s Side Ef­fects (Tonight, 9pm, GEM; SA 8.30pm) stars Rooney Mara, Chan­ning Ta­tum, Jude Law and Cather­ine Zeta-Jones. It tells the story of an ex­per­i­men­tal drug and its alarm­ing ad­verse ef­fects, which in turn re­veal a web of base hu­man be­hav­iour. Dal­las Buy­ers Club (Mon­day, 8.30pm, SBS Vice­land) tells the story of the start of the HIV-AIDS cri­sis and the lengths suf­fer­ers — played here by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, roles for which they both won Os­cars — had to go to for the life­sav­ing treat­ments taken for granted to­day. I was sorry the Hulk (Tonight, 10.30pm, 7Mate; NSW and QLD, 9.50pm, only) did not hang on to Aus­tralian ac­tor Eric Bana in the lead role — he was re­placed by Mark Ruf­falo for the Avengers films. Bana stars here with Jen­nifer Con­nelly in the 2003 ver­sion di­rected by Ang Lee.

Rooney Mara in

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