TV Review – The Great: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a truly bizarre but entirely compelling show, that blends fiction and reality with a deft hand   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Great. Image Credit: Stan.

Review

A couple of years ago there was this odd film that exploded into the world out of nowhere, it was an exploration of Queen Anne full of intrigue and irreverence. When something like that blasts out into the world you try to find out what the creators will do next, so when I heard the latest series around Catherine the Great was writing by Tony McNamara one of the writers of The Favourite I had to give it a watch and it was a good choice.    

So to set the scene, Catherine (Elle Fanning) is a starry-eyed young noble who has had the fortune to be matched with the current Emperor of Russia, Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). She brings him a branch as a present of her love, living in this world of fantasy right up until the local archbishop ‘Archie’ (Adam Godley) checked to see if she was still a virgin. The realities of the Russian court were nothing like she had thought, with violence and bitterness at every turn. Still, she found comfort in her maid Marial (Phoebe Fox), the odd wisdom of Aunt Elizabeth (Belinda Bromilow), and the books of Orlo (Sacha Dhawan). Maybe she could find a place here in this strange land … or maybe yet, could not this strange land bend to her will. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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TV Review – Bloom: Season Two

TL;DR – A solid follow up season that makes up for a lack of subtlety with its themes with some solid acting and emotional drive.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Bloom: Season Two. Image Credit: Stan.

Review

It was just over a year ago when Stan dropped this interesting little show about a fruit that can make you young again, the only catch is that it grows in the places people died in a great flood. This gave it both an interesting and also very morbid these even before people started going after each other over the plants. I was interested to see where the show could go from there and well now we can see with the second season coming out over the Easter weekend.

So to set the scene, in the weeks after the end of Season One, things in the town of Mullan in rural Australia have been in a state of flux. For some of the residents of the town, life has gone back to normal, but for the others, the lingering effect of the plant is still there even though all the plants are now gone. In the city, the last of the young people from the first season Young Gwen (Phoebe Tonkin) is dancing the night away with her now much older husband Ray (Bryan Brown) causing much mirth from the rest of the people in the nightclub. He decides to let her go enjoy her youth, but she will have none of that. Back in town, a mother Anne Carter (Jacqueline McKenzie) has arrived under mysterious circumstances with her daughter Eva (Ingrid Torelli) and family friend Luke (Ed Oxenbould). Also, the new local priest Father John (Toby Schmitz) is trying to get people back to the church when he finds out that Mullan might have a secret of its own when local creepy guy Shane (Tom Budge) lets slip about what happened. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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TV Review – Total Control: Episode 1

TL;DR – This is one of the strongest opening hours of TV I have seen in years, with the first few minutes affecting me in ways I was not ready for.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Total Control: Episode 1. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

A pilot episode of television has a lot it has to do. It has to set the tone, explain the setting, introduce you to the main characters, and find the drive for the whole season. I have seen a lot of TV show pilots in my time and even shows that are fantastic can fumble parts of this very important introduction. Well, today I look at a show that nails every single element in its 50 minutes run time.

So to set the scene, we open in on a tragedy where Alex Irving (Deborah Mailman) is thrust into the national spotlight after a video goes viral. Alex shuns all media request for interviews but she has caught the eye of someone important. Soon there is a knock at the door and Jonathan (Harry Richardson) who works for the Federal Government arrives at Alex and her mother Jan’s (Trisha Morton-Thomas) house in Winton in country Queensland. He is there with an offer for Alex to take over the seat of a Senator that has just died. She declines, saying that if Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) wants her to be a senator then she can come and ask herself, which is exactly what she does. For here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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TV Review – Les Norton: Season One

TL;DR – Was one of the more interesting shows I have seen on Australian TV by being both a throwback to the past and also something a little new 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton. Image Credit: ABC.

Review

We took a look back at Les Norton’s first episode You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, back when it first came out. Well, the first season has just finished so I wanted to take a moment to look back at the show and how well it did as a whole. A show about the 1980s, finding yourself in over your head, and also just about the most aggressively Australian TV show I have seen in a very long while.

So to set the scene, Les Norton (Alexander Bertrand) is a country boy from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland. He’s had to skip town after an incident where a rival teammate was left fighting for his life with a head injury and he needed to disappear before there was a riot. He needed to find some work to get through his time in Sydney which is where he meets his guide and new friend Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard) working as a doorman at a local club in Kings Cross. The first 22 minutes of his shift is boring, but we come in at minute 23 and the fists start flying. The head of the club Price Galese (David Wenham) likes what he sees and brings him into the fold and Les discovers a world hidden out of sight, protected by the powerful, and who run on very different rules where discretion is key.

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TV Review – Bard of Blood

TL;DR – This an interesting spy series which is unfortunately held back a bit with inconsistent pacing and the flow-on effects from that.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Bard of Blood. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of my goals this year has been to expand my global cinema intake from places away from the traditional English speaking countries that I am used to. I have not been as successful as I would have liked, but when a new Indian spy thriller drops on Netflix you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Now I have finished it, wow, is this series a lot, and I think it might also have lasting repercussions.

So to set the scene, in Balochistan, Pakistan, a group of Indian deep-cover spies are in a lude video internet café using it as a cover as they upload important information back to New Delhi. However, before they can finish, they are captured by the local Taliban. Before they can be executed the Pakistani Intelligence forces intercede and save then, not to keep them alive, but to kill them at the right time and place. Back in India, one of the chiefs in India’s Intelligence bureau Sadiq (Rajit Kapur) feels that something is odd so he seeks out Kabir Anand (Emraan Hashmi) code name Adonis but there is bad blood between them over what happened last time in Pakistan. He instead sends Isha (Sobhita Dhulipala) to retrieve him, however, Sadiq is murdered in his home and Adonis is framed, and only he might be able to save the agents because there is a mole in the Indian government and he does not know who they might be. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Criminal (UK) Season 1

TL;DR – This is an interesting concept, with some powerful performances, but I am not sure three episodes was enough time to really show it off.  

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Criminal (UK). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Netflix as the premier multi-national streaming juggernaut (for the time being) has been doing a lot of experimenting in recent years. With Black Mirror: Bandersnatch they gave the world a choose your own adventure in cinematic form and with Ultimate Beastmaster they produced different versions for each of the countries participating. Well today we get to take a look at the next experiment with Criminal a series that produced four different versions for France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Well today we are going to take a look at the UK version to see how this experiment works out.

To set the scene, we open in on DI Natalie Hobbs’ (Katherine Kelly) team as they begin an interview with the suspect of a murder. For you see her team are experts in interrogation, so they are used when there is a time crunch or a serious case that needs their attention. The first of these involves a doctor (David Tennant) that is accused of molesting and then murdering his step-daughter. The interview has been going for hours and time is running out because if they can’t find some way to get him to crack he could walk free. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – The Last Kids on Earth: Book 1

TL;DR – This is an interesting take on the End-Of-The-World genre

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Last Kids on Earth. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

When I say to you Zombie Apocalypse, I think for many people the first thing you would do is suppress a sigh. As a genre, it has been used multiple times and these days one could say that it has been done to death as long as they immediately followed it up immediately with ‘pun not attended’. However, every now and again, a new show will use the setting to explore something new and today we get to look at just such a show.

So to set the scene, we open in on Day 42 with Jack Sullivan (Nick Wolfhard) the only known survivor in his town. 42 Days ago portals opened up over his town and monsters and zombies came flooding out attacking the town. Some escaped, some were rescued, but more still were turned into zombies to roam the streets. Abandoned by his foster family, Jack survives by hiding in his foster brother’s treehouse and using that as a base of operation. He is trying to find his best buddy Quint (Garland Whitt) and rescue his flame June (Montse Hernandez), but first he needs to survive being hunted by a monster angry because Jack poked its eye out.

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TV Review – Les Norton: Wrongside

TL;DR – Continues one of the best Aussie pilots I have seen in a while by taking everything up a notch.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton: Wrongside. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

Last week I kind of stumbled upon a new gem in Australian TV with the show Les Norton that immediately stamped its presence in the media landscape. It was brash, it was funny, it also was a little absurd at times all while a friendly narrator (Angus Sampson) told us how bad poor old Les (Alexander Bertrand) was doing. However, getting out of the gate is one thing, but can you keep running the race, well that is a different question that we will try to find the answer today as we politely ignore why a horse racing metaphor is an apt description.

So to set the scene, in last week’s You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, Les inadvertently helped cover up the murder of a local brothel madam Doreen Bognor (Rebel Wilson) by filling up a foundation at a new handball court for his boss Price Galese (David Wenham). All well and good, well sorry no, just one small problem, local muscle and slightly off quilter bodyguard Eddie Salita (Justin Rosniak) accidentally dropped his boss’ keys, for his expensive car, in the concrete with all that incriminating evidence. Well at least nothing else can go wrong, but wait what is that strapped to the engine of Price’s car. From here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there may be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – SeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed, Part 1

TL;DR – Twenty years is a long time and while it is good to be back in Pearl Bay, some of the characters dragged us back to the 20th century.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

SeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed. Image Credit: Channel 9.

Review

Let me take you back in time, a whole twenty years ago, which seems a lifetime now that I think about it. It was a quieter time in life, we had not yet dealt with either the millennium or even the Willennium yet. However, down here in Australia everyone and their mum’s was riveted by the story of the lost magistrate and her Diver Dan. A lot has changed in those preceding years, both in the real world, and the fictional one of the show, and it will be interesting to see if lighting can hit twice again.

So to set the scene, we open in with Laura Gibson (Sigrid Thornton) who is volunteering somewhere in Africa and not getting along with everyone, or anyone. She is throwing herself into her work to kind of distract herself for the fact that her marriage is tenuous at best, her daughter is in and out of trouble and that her career is not really going anywhere. After upsetting enough people the aid agency firers her and has her visa cancelled so she is forced to fly back to Australia to get it sorted out. With some time to kill, she decides to come back to Pearl Bay to visit her other daughter Miranda (Brooke Satchwell) who still lives there. Only to find out a lot has changed, such as her house got washed away.

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TV Review – Les Norton: You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids

TL;DR – This is one of those Australian TV shows that makes you sit back and marvel as to how it all works, cause it works really well.  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton: You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

There are many reasons to go sit down, turn on the TV, and watch something It could be your favourite show that you make time for each week, it could be you are bored and there is nothing else to do, or it could just be that you have heard good things about something and you need to go check it out for yourself. Today we review a show that falls into the latter column, though if this first episode is anything to go by, it might find its way into the first real soon.

So to set the scene, Les Norton (Alexander Bertrand) is a country boy from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland. He’s hopped a ride down to the big smoke in Sydney to try out for some of the local footy teams. It is his first night in King’s Cross, so he takes some night work as a bouncer at a local club to pay his way. Which is where he meets his guide and new friend Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard). The first 22 minutes of his shift is boring, but we come in at minute 23 and the fists start flying. The head of the club Price Galese (David Wenham) likes what he sees and brings him into the fold and Les discovers a world hidden out of sight, protected by the powerful, and who run on very different rules where discretion is key.

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