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

This il­lu­mi­nat­ing re­make of Ken­neth Clark’s fa­mous 1960s se­ries Civil­i­sa­tion con­tin­ues this week with episodes tonight and to­mor­row. Last week’s open­ing episode, which be­gan with his­to­rian Si­mon Schama sur­vey­ing the dam­age in­flicted by Is­lamic State on the stat­u­ary and ar­chi­tec­tural bounty of the Mid­dle East, was quite af­fect­ing, even though that dread­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion is fur­ther on its way into the dust­bin of his­tory since this first screened in Bri­tain ear­lier this year. Tonight, Schama ex­plores hu­man­ity’s urge to de­pict na­ture, be­gin­ning with the painted scrolls of the Song dy­nasty in 10th-cen­tury China. His sur­vey ex­tends to Amer­ica and the pho­tog­ra­phy of Ansel Adams. To­mor­row evening, Mary Beard looks at the in­ter­sec­tion of re­li­gion and art, Ev­ery­one’s favourite weepy wraps up for an­other sea­son, with the fi­nale of This Is Us sport­ing the Smash­ing Pump­kins-es­que ti­tle The Be­gin­ning is the End is the Be­gin­ning. This episode prom­ises to re­veal the truth about Jack’s (Milo Ven­timiglia) past life in Viet­nam and sees Ran­dall (Em­my­win­ner Ster­ling K. Brown) ex­pe­ri­ence a rare win dur­ing his cam­paign for a seat on the city coun­cil in Philadel­phia. No doubt new mys­ter­ies will emerge to re­place each one that’s solved. The show is yet to of­fi­cially be re­newed for a fourth sea­son, but such an out­come seems likely. Vik­ings Thurs­day, 9.30pm, SBS As Travis Fim­mel’s char­ac­ter Rag­nar Loth­brok Vik­ings re­cedes fur­ther in our me­mories, other equally in­ter­est­ing ones have en­tered the nar­ra­tive fore­ground of this long-run­ning Vik­ing saga. Kath­eryn Win­nick’s Lagertha is now a de­posed queen with a shock of sud­denly white hair. Bishop Heah­mund (Jonathan Rhys Mey­ers) has re­turned to his na­tive Eng­land to try to con­vince Al­fred the Great (Fer­dia Walsh-Peelo) of his loy­alty. Mean­while, things con­tinue to go awry in Floki’s (Gustaf Skars­gard) dystopian win­ter won­der­land colony in Ice­land. There are a num­ber of films with sub­tle spir­i­tual themes, even if they are of­fi­cially ac­tion movies or come­dies. The Ma­trix is an ex­am­ple of the for­mer; Ground­hog Day and I Heart Huck­abees (Satur­day, 10.25pm, SBS Viceland) are ex­am­ples of the lat­ter. Ja­son Schwartz­man and Mark Wahlberg belt­ing each other in the face with a gi­ant or­ange ball might not look like an ob­vi­ous path to en­light­en­ment, but to each their own. It also stars Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Lily Tom­lin, Dustin Hoff­man and Is­abelle Hup­pert, with Jonah Hill mak­ing his screen de­but in the 2004 film. With the Das Boot re­boot screen­ing from this Wed­nes­day on SBS (see pages 5 and 27), check out (Satur­day, 10pm, 9Gem), star­ring Matthew Mc­Conaughey, Har­vey Kei­tel and (ahem) Jon Bon Jovi. The 2000 film was crit­i­cised by then British prime min­is­ter Tony Blair for de­pict­ing Amer­i­cans, in­stead of the British, cap­tur­ing an Enigma cod­ing ma­chine. For me, the no­tion of mak­ing Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous: The Movie (Sun­day, 8.30pm, Seven) is like plan­ning a Young Ones re­boot or a Fawlty Tow­ers pre­quel. But what’s done is done. Jen­nifer Saun­ders, Joanna Lum­ley, Ju­lia Sawalha and Jane Hor­rocks all re­turn for this pro­duc­tion.

Jonathan Rhys Mey­ers in

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