Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wendy's Week of TV: Part 17

Sunday: Who do you think you are
This week - Meera Syal. She had a fascinating trip back to discover her Indian ancestry. As always this program is most successful when the individual's story also teaches us about the history of a nation. This time it was the struggle against British imperialism in India.

Monday: Top Gear Australia
Finally, thanks to a little virus I was able to stay in on Monday evening and catch Top Gear Australia. Yawn. So boring. There is none of the chemistry of the presenters that makes the British show so entertaining. Let's face it, I'm not into cars but if Clarkson, Hammond and May appear on the screen I'm there for the duration. After 10 minutes with this version I was ready to walk away. The jokes are banal, obvious and quite frankly not funny. There's no wit,verve or spontaneity, and the comic set ups are strained to breaking point. Plus, what really annoyed me was that they have a Stig. We're not gullible enough to think this is the British version's Stig (because clearly he would be busy in Britain and can't be in two places at once). We're also not gullible enough to believe that the Top Gear franchise has invested in cloning technology to make this an exact replica of the Stig. So why pretend that the driver is a Stig? Why not, (and here's a radical thought), localise the franchise just a little bit with a mystery racing driver character that resonates in some way with Australia? In fact, (here's an even more radical thought) instead of attempting to replicate the entire British show, why not invest some time and money in coming up with an original motoring program that might speak with greater clarity to Australian audiences?

So many questions, so much ranting, so dull.

Tuesday: Hamish Macbeth
This isn't one of my favourite episodes at all, with the complicated storyline of the fundamentalist Christian cult pseudo-persecuting Hamish and Alex for living in sin. However, it does continue the jealous little love triangle between Hamish, Alex and Isobel that arcs over the remaining episodes so I guess that's okay.

Thursday: The Amazing Race
As I noted in my twitter update, this is exhausting television, running, jumping, shouting, leaping tall buildings with a single bound. You get the picture. Also, I don't understand all the road blocks, uturns, and other amazing race jargon so it's just as well friendly host Phil (the only one who isn't hyperactive) is there to explain it. The southern belles in their matching pink leisure wear were eliminated. Tears before bedtime. I think I prefer the pairs who don't wear matching outfits. I'm going for Dallas and his mum...we'll see if they last next week's adventures in Cambodia.

Friday: My Biggest Fan
What a heartwarming documentary this was. (nb. people who know me please be aware I am not being sarcastic!). Tara Morice (best known for her role as Fran in Strictly Ballroom) travels to Florida to meet her biggest fan, Mildred. Wonderful were Tara's reflections on her own career, particularly the pros and cons of how Fran has come to define her. But equally delightful was the story of Mildred, her family and her passion for the theatre. We were treated to a fantastic cast of characters singing and dancing their way through their annual show in the retirement community, directed by Mildred. Mildred's lip-synching, belting out an Ethel Merman number was (despite what it sounds like) an absolute joy. Poignant and life-affirming.

No comments: