• First Review: East West 101

    Roll up your sleeves Australia, there’s another cop show on the way. But unlike the smooth, designer settings of inner city Melbourne in Seven’s City Homicide, it’s a very gritty blue-collar world in SBS’ Sydney-shot East West 101. This 6-part series isn’t afraid to tackle stories from the streets. The opening episode depicts two young […]

    Read more
  • First Review: Don’t Forget the Lyrics

    Part of TEN’s summer schedule, FOX’s Don’t Forget the Lyrics is essentially The Singing Bee meets Millionaire. More game show than spelling bee it offers US$1m in a ladder of rising scale dollar prizes. Contestants are offered ten musical genre categories each with alternative songs. Once they choose a song a band strikes up and […]

    Read more
  • First Review: Rampant

    The theme for the 1983 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade was ‘On our way to Freedom’. Two years later it was ‘Fighting for our Lives’. The HIV virus was here. The press release for Rampant: How a City Stopped a Plague boldly promises the story of how “poofters, junkies and whores contained the […]

    Read more
  • First Review: Gossip Girl

    “You’ve never looked more beautiful and thin and happy than you do now,” says Eleanor Waldorf to Blair. Eleanor, in case you haven’t read the Gossip Girl books by Cecily von Ziegesar, is the mother of Blair, a well-to-do young teen girl living on the Upper East Side of New York. It’s a charmless exchange […]

    Read more
  • First Review: Dexter

    December 2 is the first day of TV’s silly season, so I’m getting in nice and early –which is just as well because you will need to install Pay TV to enjoy the pleasures of Dexter, a gloriously twisted, serial-killer drama launching on Foxtel’s newest channel, Showcase. And the pleasures are many, beginning with Michael […]

    Read more
  • First Review: The Book That Shook The World

    We’re in the middle of a climate of religious groups seeking to influence our airwaves. The Festival of Light has claimed victory over a review of Californication by the Australian Media and Communications Authority. And Hillsong is supposedly pulling the strings behind Australian Idol’s finalists. So have we really come much further than in 1971 […]

    Read more
  • First Review: The Librarians

    Despite losing Kath and Kim to Seven and adjusting to the axing of The Glass House, ABC comedies have never enjoyed such fervour. The Chaser, Summer Heights High and Spicks and Specks have given the commercial networks a regular Thursday morning migraine. But they haven’t come without cost. Controversial content has also attracted their share […]

    Read more
  • First Review: Viva Laughlin

    First, a confession. I don’t remember a lot of the finer points of Blackpool, the original BBC series on which Viva Laughlin is based. It screened here on the ABC. Which is all the more embarrassing when I admit I am very partial to a great musical. I do remember the original as being bright, […]

    Read more
  • First Review: Enough Rope: Helen Mirren

    Yet another charming interview by Andrew Denton is his meeting with Dame Helen Mirren next Monday night. The actress shares memories of her family, her inspiration and her thoughts on marriage to film director Taylor Hackford. Mirren talks about how hard it was when she moved to LA during the 80’s. “The body of work […]

    Read more
  • First Review: John Foreman presents: Burt Bacharach

    It’s nice to see commercial television remember there is more to the world of music than weekend video clips, a few youthful karaoke singers or backing music to a bit of ballroom dancing. Oh for the days of Countdown or Rock Arena. Not that Mr. Burt Bacharach is exactly what we’d cop on a contemporary […]

    Read more
  • First Review: The Abbey

    How do you solve a problem like living with Benedictine nuns? 33 days is practically the length of the endurance test a Survivor winner waits to win $1Million. It’s the same duration that five Aussie women will spend in a monastery, shunning modern luxuries, mobile phones, and even conversation for not one red cent. Who […]

    Read more
  • First Review: George Michael: Road to Wembley.

    I can’t figure out if it’s his birthday, or the 10th anniversary since he was bust in an LA toilet, but for some reason this Saturday afternoon there is more George Michael on the telly than a visit to Hampstead Heath. Sorry, somebody had to say it. The MAX Channel marathon is built around one […]

    Read more