Archive for January 2019

The view

The emphasis in Prisoners of War is on a psychological study ahead of thriller elements.SO ABU NAZIR, the Osama bin Laden-like terrorist leader, is dead, though his deadly schemes for attacks on Americans live on. That’s where the second season of the thriller, Homeland, left us when it finished.

The cleverly plotted finale rendered the threat to the US as bigger than the bogeyman who had come to personify it. As well as an explosive ending, the finale opened up a fresh chapter for CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and her lover, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a freed POW, war hero, congressman, estranged husband and father, murderer, and possible terrorist.

We won’t see them again for a while, but on January 19, SBS will launch the 10-part first season of Prisoners of War, the Israeli series that inspired Homeland, and the differences between the two are revealing.

The Israeli series starts as a family drama, as the return of soldiers held captive for 17 years is negotiated. The emphasis is on a psychological study ahead of thriller elements. The focus is the trauma of coming home, both for the damaged men returning to a country that now feels foreign to them and their families.

It’s a drama of disconnection and, at least in the early stages, much quieter than Homeland, which mined its story with intrigue from the get-go. There’s no agitated Mossad agent dodging bullets and screaming into her phone that one of the war heroes might be a traitor.

If there’s to be a questioning of the soldiers’ loyalties, it will build from slow-burn suspense. Intense yet comparatively restrained, Prisoners of War makes a compelling start, without any explosions.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

TV secrets – Gorgi Coghlan

My scariest TV moment was when … I was working at Channel 31 and mistakenly pulled out the cable that transmitted the whole station. Channel 31 went down for a few minutes thanks to little old me.

My favourite show as a child was … a combo of Mork & Mindy, Family Ties and Monkey.

I decided a television career was for me when … I stumbled into it and landed on my feet.

My favourite thing about summer TV is … having the cricket on in the background.

People I admire most … don’t work in TV.

My guilty TV pleasure is … Apple TV – movies, docos, drama series all at your fingertips. Plus, I get to watch the film Ratatouille at least once a week.

If you were going to tell all, which television interviewer would you go to? Can I have a panel? Andrew Denton, Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson.

Bring back …The Late Show.

The Shire … Can we just pretend it never happened?

Hair, make-up or wardrobe? I’m a working mum, so I’d be grateful for someone to brush my hair, let alone make-up. What a treat.

The book I’d like to see on TV is …Shantaram.

The most prized DVD in my collection is … probably my husband’s full collection of Entourage because if we lost it there’d be hell to pay.

Missing from my DVD collection is … anything to do with magic or vampires – Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings etc. Not for me.

I wish I had time to watch … more adult television. ABC4Kids rules the roost in our house

I always wondered why my parents watched … Yes Minister. I just don’t share the love.

My parents warned me TV … is like the rest of the world: be yourself and treat people the way you would like to be treated. They were right.

If I wasn’t on TV … I’d still be teaching year 12 biology.

You’ll never catch me watching …The Shire.

The most significant event of 2012 was … our show The Circle getting axed. It was such a wonderful show with incredible people.

The show that has had the greatest influence on me is …Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. He taught me to listen to your guests to get the best result.

I loathe but can’t look away from … gruesome crime docos.

If I were a TV programmer I’d … keep The Project on forever.

Gorgi Coghlan is guest co-host on The Project from today.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Pay TV show of the week: Girls

Girls continues to be a fresh, funny, frank and beautifully written piece of television.Season two premiere, Monday, Showcase, 8.30pm

THE final episode of the first season of this HBO series drew to a near-perfect conclusion. It closed with Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, sitting on the beach, eating an ice-cream, enjoying a moment by herself, having endured a hellish 12 hours with on-and-off boyfriend Adam. Yet don’t think for a minute that Hannah’s bliss would be anything more than fleeting.

First things first: if you don’t have Foxtel’s Showcase channel, get it now. They are screening the second season of this brilliant comedy-drama a couple of hours after it airs on HBO in the US.

There’s more good news. Having seen the first four episodes, we’re pleased to report there is no second season slump as yet.

When it made its debut last year, Girls seemed a minor miracle – a fresh, funny, frank and beautifully written piece of television. And so it goes in season two as we return to the Brooklyn-set series’ tight-knit group of Hannah and her friends, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna.

Early on, change is in the air. Some home truths are set to be delivered. And Marnie is the first Girl to cop it.

”All you girls think that you look really good,” Marnie’s mother, played by Rita Wilson (Mrs Tom Hanks), says blithely near the start of this season, ”but you just look like floats in the Macy’s Day Parade – big heads on tiny bodies.”

As for Hannah, she has a new boyfriend and a new housemate. Her boyfriend also happens to be African-American, which most people will see as a wink at one of the show’s chief criticisms: that it’s too white.

A lot hasn’t changed, though. Although they are no longer together, Hannah is still looking after the obnoxious Adam who, you will recall, was hit by a car last season. And their scenes are still painful to watch. Yet Hannah remains one of the most loveable characters on TV.

”I have always marched to the beat of my own drummer ever since I cut my camp shirt into a halter top,” Hannah says. It’s true. And it’s also merely one reason why we love Hannah and this show.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Q&A with … Mark Waugh

IT’S magnetic, shouty and over before you can say ”Bill O’Reilly would have thought ill of this, I’ll warrant”. But T20 cricket has it all: at once a guilty pleasure for lovers of the traditional game, a disorientingly enjoyable spectacle for those who thought they would hate it, and pretty much irresistible to the players for whom it represents a chance to make big money quickly. With the second year of the KFC Big Bash League under way, we ask cricket great Mark Waugh how Fox’s coverage can enhance the explosiveness at the grounds.

What’s different about the second Big Bash?

It’s a competition anyone can win. And there’s a really good spread of international players, such as Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Murali, [Lasith] Malinga, Dale Steyn and Kieron Pollard.

Changing the concept from state to city teams was a good move, but an even better one was to make sure the team names reveal where teams are from, unlike rugby union where you find yourself trying to recall who the Hurricanes or Cheetahs are.

Yes, city name first, then the second name [Heat, Renegades etc]. It helps the crowd identify with the team, and that should lead to bigger and bigger crowds.

Aside from the overseas players, there’s also a good mix of up-and- coming and veteran Australians. Shane Warne, for example, will be playing against Alister McDermott, the son of your teammate from the 1990s Craig McDermott.

That’s true. Warne is a legend and can still hold his own – he’s not there to make up the numbers, but to win. But it’s also a competition in which players can get their names [known among] selectors and fans. Patrick Cummins did that. And David Warner.

Last year, Shane Warne was miked up and successfully predicted getting Brendon McCullum out next ball, and precisely how he would do it. Will there be more of that?

With Warne, it was almost like it was scripted, but I can assure you it wasn’t. But players will be miked again every day. It’s a fairly unique situation in professional sport. It is all about entertainment, but there is a lot of competition there. Microphones also let viewers feel like they’re the captain, and give them a feel for what’s happening in the middle.

Do you miss cricket?

I certainly don’t miss Test cricket, but I’d have loved to play T20.

You would have been handy.


After an especially good performance, many sportsmen talk about how ”it hasn’t sunk in yet” and say they’ll think about it once their careers are over. Have your match-winning centuries in Port Elizabeth in 1997 and Jamaica in 1995 sunk in yet?

Yes, they’ve sunk in [laughs]. It’s good to have those memories, but not something to think about every day. There are certain players – like Glenn McGrath – who know every game they played and every wicket they took, but life goes on.

Is there one performance of which you’re especially proud?

It’s hard to pick one, but probably 1995, in Kingston, Jamaica, against the West Indies. I made 100 and [twin brother] Stephen made 200, and we won that match and the series, and it was a probably a turning point, a changing of the guard in international cricket.

The Big Bash continues this week on Fox Sports.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Eurovision loses voices

THREE countries have pulled out of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, citing economic pressure as the cause. Public broadcasters RTP (from Portugal), STV (Slovakia) and BHRT (Bosnia and Herzegovina) have flagged to the contest’s organising body, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), that they will be unable to attend the contest, slated for Malmo, Sweden, in May. A spokesman for the EBU said the body was looking at ways of reducing costs. A fourth broadcaster, Turkey’s TRT, is also saying it will not attend, blaming rule changes. Thirty-nine countries have confirmed their attendance at the contest.Ratings fireworks

IT MAY be the non-ratings period, but that didn’t stop the Nine Network from scoring a big win on New Year’s Eve with its television coverage of the Sydney Harbour fireworks display. An extraordinary 859,000 people in Sydney – about one-fifth of the city’s population – stayed indoors to watch the fireworks on TV. The segment from midnight to 12.15am drew a national audience of 1,722,000 viewers in Australia’s five mainland state capitals. The city-by-city breakdowns were Sydney (859,000 viewers), Melbourne (318,000), Brisbane (289,000), Adelaide (152,000) and Perth (104,000). Hosted by Catriona Rowntree and Jason Dundas, the coverage featured Sydney NYE 2012’s ”creative ambassador” Kylie Minogue, plus performances from The X Factor’s Reece Mastin and The Voice’s Darren Percival.

Mockingbird don’t sing

THE reboot of iconic 1960s comedy The Munsters, Mockingbird Lane, has been abandoned. The project was in development at the US network NBC under producer Bryan Fuller and starred Australian actor Portia de Rossi. The pilot was aired in the US as a Halloween stunt, drawing 5.4 million viewers, but NBC was not moved by the numbers. ”I tweet with a heavy heart,” Fuller wrote last week on Twitter. ”NBC not moving forward with Mockingbird Lane. From producers and cast, thank you all for enthusiasm and support.”

Streaming services help TV

NETFLIX comes not to kill television, but to save it. That was the conclusion from a new report that suggests services such as Netflix will actually push down online piracy. The rise of so-called OTT services – that is, ”over the top”, which means services that deliver TV content over the top of traditional distributors – will lead to declines in web piracy, according to the report. Australia is one of the slowest markets to launch OTT services, the best known of which is the US platform Netflix. ”As quality content becomes available for a competitive price, people stop pirating,” the report says.

Mini microphones

NINE will be watching very closely the US development of a kids-themed spinoff of The Voice. It is no secret Nine is keen to capitalise on the value of TV’s biggest franchise since Idol was launched, and at the moment all eyes are on Telemundo’s Spanish-language Voice spinoff La Voz: Ninos (The Voice: Kids), which will launch into the US market later this year. If the format tracks well with US audiences, a number of broadcasters around the world that air the original version of the show at present would be keen to clone it. The winner of La Voz: Ninos lands a recording contract with Universal Music, plus a scholarship.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.