Channel 10 have been a bit of a wild card of late. With everything from Being Lara Bingle and The Shire to the (eventual) success of MasterChef Australia and, to a lesser degree, MasterChef Australia All Stars, they’ve pottered along through the Olympics offering some new Australian programming that’s been engaging and controversial. They have made a point of warming us up with their new content that is about to start “After the Olympics” and while some of it looks to be dross there’s some excellent new and return programming about to be supplied from the peoples of Murdoch & Rinehart.
What: EVERYBODY DANCE NOW
When: Sunday 12 August, 7:30pm (multiple eps per week; 19 episodes total).
Who: Sarah Murdoch (host), Kelly Rowland & Jason Derulo (Dance Masters), 88 dance acts.
Worth it?: A bazillion dancers, competing for a share in $450,000 prize money, led as teams by two music artists from the USA and hosted by the boss’s wife. From Acro to Aerial, Belly Dance to Ballet, Ballroom to Burlesque, Pole Dancing to Popping and Locking, Hip Hop to Highland, Contemporary to Krumping, Bollywood to Breaking, Flamenco to Folk… if you’re down with it, then you’ll likely love it. Likely to perform better than I Will Survive up against a new season of X Factor Australia, Everybody Dance Now is likely to capture The Voice’s positivity and So You Think You Can Dance’s off the wall talent in a mostly perfect storm of reality TV goodness. Just as long as you can get your head around how the show will flow.
What: PUBERTY BLUES
When: Wednesday 15 August, 8:30pm (weekly; 8 x 1 hour episodes).
Who: Claudia Karvan, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Dan Wyllie, Susie Porter, Ashleigh Cummings, Brenna Harding.
Worth it?: Damn straight. It delightful adaptation of Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey’s Australian classic Puberty Blues, the series tells the story of two girls – Debbie and Sue – their innocence lost and experience gained against the backdrop of Australia in the 1970s. It looks amazing, the soundtrack is sublime, and it shows 1970’s Cronulla in all it’s surfie-culture inspired glory. This will be appointment television for Ch10 – do not miss it.
What: CLASS OF…
When: Wednesday 15 August, 9:30pm (weekly; 10 x 1 hour episodes).
Who: Richard Roxburgh (narrator).
Worth it?: It’s taken 18 months to get on our screens since the first promo aired at the start of 2011, and it was 9 months in the filming, but Class Of… looks to be an amazing fly-on-the-wall documentary series looking at a group of 15 students from Sydney’s Bradford Senior College who are facing Year 11 with a less than exemplary learning attitude. We’ll see kids frustrated by a system that has let them down, disaffected by a society that has discouraged them, and a group of educators that believe these kids can do it. The promos looked awesome then and they look even better now. One class. One year. One last chance to make the grade.
What: CAN OF WORMS Season 2
When: Monday 20 August, 8:30pm (weekly; 10 x 1 hour episodes).
Who: Chrissie Swan (host); Dan Ilic (Reporter); celebrity guest panel.
Worth it?: It’s a smart (and in hindsight an obvious) move to have season 1 host Dicko’s Watercooler Management stablemate Chrissie Swan step in as host for the new season of Can of Worms. Chrissie has a very supportive fan base, she’s intelligent and witty, and the Ten audience is familiar with her and will offer her all the latitude she needs to settle into a primetime hosting role. The curly nature of the questions already being teased in trailers offer a good insight to the meat of the show – they’re not dodging the hard questions and the ‘no fence-sitting’ rule still applies. It’s guaranteed to spark conversation and outrage on social media, in the office and in traditional media – exactly like it should.
What: DON’T TELL THE BRIDE
When: Tuesday 21 August, 7pm (1 hour episodes weekly).
Who: Kate Ritchie (host); exasperated brides & their overwhelmed grooms.
Worth it?: What bride-to-be in her right mind lets her fiance loose on their wedding with three weeks to go before the big day with $25,000? The answer is ladies that trust their man implicitly, ones that have given him a very detailed list, or ones that have no idea how bad his taste is. The expectant groom can only get help from his best man, and they have to organise EVERYthing: the venue, car and flowers, the hair, make-up and the all-important dress. Everything. The Bride doesn’t find out about any of it until it plays out on her big day. It’s gonna be so car-crash bad it’ll be must-watch good.
What: I WILL SURVIVE: PRISCILLA
When: Wednesday 22 August, 7pm (Wed & Thurs 7pm weekly).
Who: Hugh Sheridan (host); Jason Donovan & Stephan Elliott (judges/mentors); Magda Szubanski, Rachael Taylor, Toni Collette & others (guest judges); 12 wanna-be triple threats.
Worth it?: We’ve all seen the ads profiling different contestants, especially that one with former Hi-5 member Nathan Foley telling us he wants to be seen as a performer in his own right (after showing us the Logies and ARIAs won when he was in Hi-5). Mirroring the story of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert the 12 contestants have to sing, dance and act their way through challenges as they roll through the outback of Australia. The challenges may or may not (or may) involve them dressing in drag and performing at the whim of the producers. Having Hugh Sheridan (ex-Ch7 “Packed to the Rafters”-Rafter) host is somewhat of a coup and provides him with the opportunity to spread his already accomplished acting/singing wings into hosting. The hook – the contestant that doesn’t make the grade in each episode is ‘left in town as the bus drives away’. Ouch. I Will Survive has potential but I’m not sure if it will be realised in the reality talent competition noise that’s about to begin.
What: HOUSE OF LIES
When: To be advised (12 x 1 hour episodes).
Who: Don Cheadle, Josh Lawson, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Dawn Olivieri.
Worth it?: It’s drawn some critical praise in the US and has been renewed for a second season, so people are finding it watchable. Don Cheadle can be hit and miss but in this he’s note perfect as Marty Kaan, the big-money earner in one of the nation’s largest management consulting firms. His team (Jeannie (Bell), Clyde (Schwartz) and Doug (Lawson) are a hot, young crew of high flying power players who will use anything (or anyone) to get their gullible corporate clients to sign their souls to the company and bank millions in oh-so-delicious billable hours. It’s a sharp and edgy comedy that will likely undergo some editing and score a late night timeslot to air on free to air in Australia. Lawson has proven his chops in shows like Thank God You’re Here and as the local boy done good with House of Lies he’s done very good. Set your PVR and enjoy at your leisure.
What: REEF DOCTORS
When: To be advised (13 x 1 hour episodes).
Who: Lisa McCune, Matt Day, Tasneem Roc, Richard Brancatisano.
Worth it?: Lisa McCune is back as a strong independent yet vulnerable female being pursued by more than one male suitor. Doesn’t matter where (in this case, Hope Island in remote Far North Queensland), or what she’s doing (she’s the local GP), it’s a story for the ages. Of course there’s quirks: Sam Stewart (McCune) is a single mother with a free spirit and a determination, and she has an unusual hobby: venom. That’ll keep the boys lining up at the door, but I guess when you live anywhere described as “remote”, you can’t be too choosy. It’s billed as a family adventure drama so it won’t be outrageously bed-hoppy, and anything with McCune that’s considered family friendly will likely draw a crowd.
What: UNDERGROUND – THE JULIAN ASSANGE STORY
When: To be advised.
Who: Rachael Griffiths, Alex Williams, Anthony LaPaglia, Laura Wheelwright, Jordan Raskopoulos.
Worth it?: Given the ongoing drama around Julian Assange’s warrants and his claim for asylum it seems quite timely to have a drama series profile one of the most complex and least understood Australians in the international landscape. Set in Melbourne and long before Wikileaks (“before the internet even existed”) the story looks at Assange as a teenage computer hacker in Melbourne. How as a member of the ‘International Subversives’ he was a part of breaking into some of the world’s most powerful and secretive organisations. At the urging of the FBI, the Australian Federal Police set up a special taskforce to catch them. But at a time when most Australian police had never seen a computer, let alone used one, they had to figure out just where to begin. The involvement of Rachel Griffiths is enough to offer this should be a great series.