“After the Olympics” has also become Channel 9’s new slogan. Fair enough they’ve been promoting their new slate to death during the Olympics but what many have found frustrating is the lack of advice as to when they’d all fall into the schedule. Last week the network let us in on their secret, so get ready to set your PVR’s…
What: BIG BROTHER AUSTRALIA
When: Monday 13 August, 7pm (7pm weeknights, 6:30pm Sunday).
Who: Sonia Kruger (host), Mike Goldman (narrator), 14 new housemates.
Worth it?: This is either going to succeed or fail spectacularly – there will be no middle ground for the revamped Big Brother. Much has been sizzled and promised that we’ll get housemates that break the mould of the last four seasons of the old BB, and casting will indeed be key. The addition of social media to the fray (Facebook/Twitter were barely realities at the time of the final series on Ch10) will add an interesting additional layer to the show for viewers. If the series pays off the way it’s promising, it should be compelling viewing.
What: UNDERBELLY: BADNESS
When: Monday 13 August, 8:30pm (weekly; 8 episodes total).
Who: Anthony LaPaglia, Matt Nable, Josh Quong Tart, Aaron Jeffrey, Jodi Gordon.
Worth it?: While it may suffer from being the worst named of the Underbelly franchises to date, the cast indicate this series should be a return to form. It’s pacey, sharp, and with all the pre-requiste gritty feel (read: bad guys, boobs & drugs) the series has made its name on. The series focuses on the special Police squad set up to capture Anthony Perish (LaPaglia) who had managed to build a five-star criminal lifestyle while leaving no paper trail as to his existence. Fans will love it; and it’s an easy watch for those who’ve never connected with Underbelly before.
What: ANGER MANAGEMENT
When: Tuesday 14 August, 8:30pm (two episodes per night; 10 episodes first season).
Who: Charlie Sheen, Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla.
Worth it?: Well… it’s Charlie Sheen. You know, Mr Tiger Blood? Winning? That guy. If you liked him in Two and a half Men, then you’ll probably like him in this. It’s a pretty standard three-camera sitcom that the US do so well, and Ch9 are banking on Australian audiences respond as US audiences did and welcome Sheen back with open arms, but the jury is still out. Sheen as a non-traditional anger management therapist with lady-friend problems? Umm… sure…
What: FARMER WANTS A WIFE – LOVE BITES
When: Wednesday 15 August, 8pm (two episodes per week Wed/Thu).
Who: Natalie Gruzlewski (host); Farmers Matt, Tom, Paul, Nikko, Sam & Todd; 36 *very* keen women.
Worth it?: Eighth season, and an “all new” format where the farmers speed date all 36 women and from that determine the four ladies (not three as in previous seasons) they want to take home to the farm. There’s family intruders and one farmer has a million dollar “secret” – sounds more like Big Brother Wants a Wife. Purists (and I use the term advisedly) may be disappointed with the changes, but *my goodness* the early rounds looks spectacularly tacky and completely watchable.
What: HOWZAT! KERRY PACKER’S WAR
When: Sunday 19 August/Sunday 26 August, 8:30pm (two part mini series).
Who: Lachy Hulme, Abe Forsythe, Brendan Cowell, Mathew Le Nevez, Alexander England, Adam Zwar.
Worth it?: It’s bloody awesome. Great nostalgic drama from the team that brought us Paper Giants. Hulme is menacingly charismatic as Packer, determined to secure the exclusive television broadcast rights of the cricket and in the meantime redefining the game. Packer made rebels of 50 of the best players in the world and set the cat amongst the cricket-administrating pigeons, and it’s all captured in the mini series that makes the former owner of the Nine Network look more saint than sinner. Don’t expect all the lookalikes to be spot on; just sit back and let the story of 70’s cricket and the triumph of a rich man wash over you.
What: HOUSE HUSBANDS
When: To be advised (10 episodes).
Who: Gyton Grantley, Firass Dirani, Gary Sweet, Rhys Muldoon, Julia Morris, Tim Campbell.
Worth it?: Ch9 don’t have a great history when it comes to successful new drama this year (Tricky Business, anyone?). There’s something different about House Husbands though, and it is largely to do with the cast – all solid performers & as long as the script they’re given plays well for them this should be a winner. A careful balance of comedy and drama will be key and the inclusion of a gay couple (Grantley & Campbell) could prove to be a real strength. Hesitantly expectant.
When: To be advised (10 episodes).
Who: Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Jesse Metcalfe, Joradana Brewster, Josh Henderson.
Worth it?: “Dallas presents a new generation of the Ewing family on their oil rich property Southfork in Texas. This series follows bitter rivalries and power struggles as a new generation clash over the future of the Ewing empire in a battle for power, love and Southfork itself.” Did we need a extension of the Dallas franchise? Well, no, but considering how well prime-time soap opera is performing it was only a matter of time before something was reincarnated. At least extending the story – it’s not a remake, it’s a continuation of the original series – should offer some interesting new directions to take the bitchiest family in Texas.