Free-to-air films

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

Ge­orge Blag­den, per­haps better known as Athel­stan in SBS’s Vik­ings, here plays Louis XIV in the sec­ond sea­son of Ver­sailles. The plot re­volves around the con­struc­tion of that fa­mous palace, and the po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural changes that re­sulted. This episode sees the Dauphin res­cued from cap­tiv­ity; spies and agents be­long­ing to Guil­laume d’Or­ange roam­ing the coun­try­side; and a spate of poi­son­ings break­ing out among the elite, in­clud­ing a cabi­net min­is­ter. While Louis’s troops pre­pare to in­vade Hol­land, he still finds him­self haunted by night­mares and para­noia, and even be­gins sleep­walk­ing into lakes in the mid­dle of the night. This se­ries is a lit­tle hu­mour­less, de­spite the odd aris­to­cratic bon mot. A third sea­son is in pro­duc­tion. Canuck-noir hardly rolls of the tongue, but this new six-part se­ries feels ex­plic­itly like a Cana­dian re­sponse to the jug­ger­naut of Nordic crime dra­mas set in re­mote and icy climes. (To wit: the se­ries’ theme song is by Dan­ish singer-song­writer Agnes Obel.) Based on Giles Blunt’s novel Forty Words for Sor­row, Car­di­nal is a mur­der mys­tery set in the fic­tional Algonquin Bay, based on North Bay in North­east­ern On­tario. De­tec­tive John Car­di­nal (Billy Camp­bell, The Killing) has been de­moted from the homi­cide squad af­ter a bun­gled in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a miss­ing First Na­tions girl. His soon-to-be new part­ner, Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse), alerts him that they’ve fi­nally found the body. It’s en­tirely faith­ful to its genre, which makes it thor­oughly en­joy­able view­ing. It has been re­newed for a fur­ther two sea­sons. Out­lander Thurs­day, 10.40pm, SBS This is a show that just keeps gain­ing new au­di­ences since first air­ing here in 2014 on Foxtel. Based on the nov­els by Diana Ga­bal­don and cre­ated by Ron­ald D. Moore ( Bat­tlestar Galac­tica), Out­lander is a tale of love and time travel set in the Scot­tish High­lands star­ring Caitri­ona Balfe, Sam Heughan and To­bias Men­zies. Sea­son one had an un­prece­dent­edly full-on penul­ti­mate episode and fi­nale (even for those not eas­ily shocked). Sea­son two be­gins here, with Balfe’s Claire Ran­dall re­turn­ing to 1948 — with a lot of ex­plain­ing to do. A third sea­son is due to be­gin in the US in Septem­ber. Those who have read Lee Child’s much-loved Jack Reacher (tonight, 9.15pm, Nine) nov­els have a hard time rec­on­cil­ing Tom Cruise’s por­trayal of the ti­tle char­ac­ter, mainly due to his phys­i­cal di­men­sions. Ac­cord­ing to the books Reacher is 195cm tall and weighs more than 110kg. Child has been field­ing crit­i­cisms since the film was made in 2012. “It was com­pletely im­pos­si­ble to find a phys­i­cal fac­sim­ile of Jack Reacher in Hol­ly­wood,” he said. “There are none — not even re­motely close. The people you think are 195cm and 110kg are not.” Nev­er­the­less, Cruise reprised the role last year in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. De­spite star­ring Michael Fass­ben­der, Do­minic West and Olga Kurylenko, 2010’s Cen­tu­rion (tonight, 9pm, 7Flix) got only a tepid re­cep­tion from au­di­ences. The film is based on the true story of the Ro­man Ninth Le­gion, which went miss­ing in Cale­do­nia (Scot­land) in the early sec­ond cen­tury AD. It also re­ceived a se­quel: The Ea­gle, star­ring Chan­ning Ta­tum, Jamie Bell and Don­ald Suther­land. See James Gan­dolfini’s fi­nal per­for­mance in The Drop (to­mor­row, 9.15pm, One), where he plays Cousin Marv along­side Tom Hardy and Noomi Ra­pace, based on a story by Dennis Le­hane.

Caitri­ona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Out­lander

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