Free-to-air films

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

This ter­rific show fea­tures co­me­dian Tom Glee­son pit­ting con­tes­tants against each other in a quiz based on their highly spe­cialised sub­ject ar­eas. Some peo­ple are into for­eign cur­rency, oth­ers know ev­ery­thing about Princess Di­ana or the tele­vi­sion show Friends. Glee­son is more than happy to bag them out — he is not do­ing a Tony Bar­ber or John Burgess im­pres­sion. None­the­less, the ques­tions are hard, the con­tes­tants im­pres­sive and the re­sults en­ter­tain­ing. on SBS On De­mand, with a con­ceit some­what sim­i­lar to Home­land (and the Is­raeli se­ries it was based on, Pris­on­ers of War). Jo­hannes Lassen plays Philip Nor­gaard, a se­nior of­fi­cer with the Copen­hagen po­lice ter­ror unit who was ab­ducted by ter­ror­ists. The af­ter ef­fects have cost him sleep and re­la­tion­ships, but there are lin­ger­ing ques­tions in the au­di­ence’s mind about why he was even­tu­ally re­leased. Then when 15 peo­ple are held hostage un­der­ground in a sub­way train, and the coun­try is di­vided whether to ne­go­ti­ate with the ter­ror­ists, Nor­gaard is right back in the thick of it. The se­ries was cre­ated by Kasper Bar­foed, who also di­rected Dicte (which is also avail­able on SBS On De­mand), and while not en­tirely ground­break­ing, it is suf­fi­ciently en­ter­tain­ing. Utopia Wed­nes­day, 9pm, ABC This ex­cel­lent se­ries from Work­ing Dog’s Rob Sitch, Santo Ci­lauro and Tom Gleis­ner con­tin­ues apace. This week, the Na­tion Build­ing Author­ity is asked to as­sist with the sale of a port (a mere thumbs up could ini­ti­ate con­struc­tion); Tony (Sitch) is forced to do the CEO Sleep­out for Hard Quiz char­ity, in part to make amends for a ris­i­ble per­for­mance in a fundrais­ing fun run; and Rhonda (Kitty Flana­gan) de­cides it is time for a dig­i­tal up­grade, with Celia Pac­quola’s Nat bear­ing the brunt of re­sult­ing non­sense. The show sits among sev­eral Aus­tralian come­dies and dra­mas picked up by Net­flix and broad­cast to an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence, in­clud­ing Glitch and Please Like Me, ( though in this in­stance its name was changed to Dream­land). It helps de­fray pro­duc­tion costs, and is a model we will see more and more of­ten. Af­ter their stel­lar de­but ef­fort with The Ma­trix, the Wa­chowskis haven’t ex­actly set the world on fire. The Ma­trix se­quels ar­guably should have been just one film; the 2012 film Cloud At­las po­larised (and con­fused) crit­ics and au­di­ences; and their Net­flix se­ries, Sense 8, re­cently was can­celled af­ter its se­cond sea­son. Jupiter As­cend­ing (Sun­day, 9.10pm, Go!) has more in com­mon with their later work. An am­bi­tious space opera, it stars Mila Ku­nis as a Rus­sian toi­let scrub­ber who is ac­tu­ally a space princess. Chan­ning Ta­tum plays her res­cuer, a kind of half­dog, half-hu­man hero who flies around on a lev­i­tat­ing skate­board. It also stars Sean Bean and Ed­die Red­mayne. An­other di­rec­tor with an ex­tremely strong in­au­gu­ral ef­fort — fol­lowed by rather mixed ones — is South African-born Neill Blomkamp. His District 9 (Mon­day, 9.30pm, Go!) is an amaz­ing reimag­in­ing of apartheid, fea­tur­ing an alien race in in­tern­ment camps. His fol­low-up ef­forts Ely­sium with Matt Da­mon, and Chap­pie with Dev Pa­tel were less well re­ceived. For some view­ing the whole fam­ily can en­joy, check out Pixar’s Os­car-win­ning an­i­ma­tion about an­thro­po­mor­phised emo­tions, In­side Out (Tonight, 7pm, Seven; not Vic, Tas, or SA).

host Tom Glee­son

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