Free-to-air films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air -

It’s taken only 20 years, but Aus­tralia is fi­nally get­ting its own spin-off of the Ja­panese se­ries Sa­suke, known to English-speak­ing au­di­ences as Ninja War­ror. Think: It’s a Knock­out, but with­out the cheesi­ness. In fact, as the Amer­i­can adap­ta­tion has shown, this am­a­teur com­pe­ti­tion can be­come quite se­ri­ous for par­tic­i­pants. Some, such as Kacy Catan­zaro, have be­come akin to folk heroes for their valiant per­for­mances, re­turn­ing year after year to test them­selves. This lo­cal se­ries will be hosted by Fred­die Flintoff, Re­becca Mad­dern and Ben Ford­ham. Can they mea­sure up to Amer­i­can Ninja War­rior’s Matt Ise­man, Ak­bar Gbaja-Bi­amila, and Kristine Leahy? As the Net­flix knock-off Ul­ti­mate Beast­mas­ter showed, chem­istry is a hard thing to emu­late. Cast­ing for re­al­ity se­ries at UK’s Chan­nel 4 seems to be some­thing of a re­volv­ing door. An­thony Mid­dle­ton, for­merly of the Spe­cial Boat Ser­vice, will be fa­mil­iar to fans of the se­ries SAS: Who Dares Wins. Those with keen eyes may recog­nise Ben Got­sell, a cheeky chap who first ap­peared in 2011’s Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, in which a Ro­man villa was built with tra­di­tional meth­ods and ma­te­ri­als in Shrop­shire. (The big­gest cast­ing headache for the chan­nel has un­doubt­edly been The Great Bri­tish Bake Off, with co­me­di­ans Noel Field­ing and Sandi Toksvig join­ing new judge Prue Leith. Ten­sions re­ported in the Bri­tish press in­clude Field­ing’s re­fusal to eat cakes due to wor­ries about pos­si­ble weight gain.) A crew of nine sailors fea­tures in this ter­rific new se­ries which re-en­acts the post-mutiny jour­ney of Lieu­tenant Wil­liam Bligh in a 23-foot boat across the Pa­cific Ocean. With no toi­lets, noth­ing to eat ex­cept ship’s bis­cuits (at a mea­gre 400 calo­ries each), rot­ting hands, and weather con­di­tions that would ter­rify even the salti­est of sea dogs, these men at­tempt to mea­sure up against one of one his­tory’s most re­mark­able feats of sur­vival. Mutiny Diana: Seven Days that Shook the World Tues­day, 8.30pm, ABC Episode two of this ex­cel­lent doc­u­men­tary ex­am­ines the lead-up to Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997. It fea­tures broad­casts from the time, in­ter­views with key par­tic­i­pants and ob­servers, and high­lights a mo­ment when crit­ics openly ques­tioned whether the Bri­tish royal fam­ily could re­tain pop­u­lar sup­port. I can’t think of a film sub­jected to a more un­nec­es­sary re­make than 1991’s Point Break (Thurs­day, 8.30pm, GO). Star­ring Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey and Pa­trick Swayze, the orig­i­nal film told a tale of bank-rob­bing surfers, cul­mi­nat­ing in a scene at Bells Beach. (“How very dare they,” as Cather­ine Tate might say.) For a fran­chise that has been cease­lessly remade, re­booted and reimag­ined since it be­gan, check out the orig­i­nal Star Trek: The Mo­tion Pic­ture (Tonight, 7pm, Gem), fol­lowed by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (9.40pm). Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto — who play Kirk and Spock, re­spec­tively, in the lat­est re­boot of the film fran­chise — re­port­edly are signed for an as-yet-un­named fourth in­stal­ment, while the new tele­vi­sion se­ries Star Trek: Dis­cov­ery is ex­pected on Net­flix later this year. The sug­ges­tion that the Bill Mur­ray clas­sic Ground­hog Day (Tonight, 7pm, 7Flix) should be remade is the prov­ince of satir­i­cal news sites, which claim it ought to be reshot and re-re­leased over and over, the same in ev­ery par­tic­u­lar. Of course they are riff­ing off the con­ceit of the film — which also stars Andie MacDow­ell — wherein Mur­ray’s Phil wakes up each day in the same town, on the same day.

All at sea on SBS’s

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