If you love movies, then this summer the programmers are delivering. But what if you don’t? What if you crave some quality drama, some well written humour, or some complete escapism that includes handstand obstacle courses?
To help you connect with your summer couch potato, I’ve trolled through the TV Guide to offer you a daily suggestion for a series or show you can become consumed with. Every single show is high quality television*, and I submit these in evidence that the television-watching landscape is far from devoid of entertainment this 2010-2011 Summer period. Not much of it is new, however reconnecting with the repeats will remind you of some of the simple joys of watching mind-numbing television.
Ninja Warrior – 7:30pm, SBS2
This program is not going to help you understand the depths of the human condition. It is, however, going to let you see how hard core some Japanese game shows have become. Grab some popcorn & your shiruken, & settle in.
Unbeatable Banzuke – 8pm, SBS2
HAND. STAND. OBSTACLE. COURSES!!!
The Shield – 9:30pm, 7mate
This has just started being reshown from the very first season, two episodes a night. It’s tough, it offers no apologies, it’s graphic, and it’s a cop show worth your attention (and I’m *so* glad this is back on our screens).
Southland 11:30pm, GEM
A NEW series being shown during Summer, and buried late at night – for absolutely no reason. Based in South Central LA, this series follows the beat cops and detectives based in that precinct and the challenges & impact their jobs have on their daily lives. Just. Watch. It.
The Big C – 10:30pm, GEM
Any show about cancer is not a comedy. Laura Linney & Olliver Platt make this watchable simply because they’re great actors (independent of the hit & miss of the script sometimes).
Raising Hope – 8pm, Ch10
I was entirely skeptical of this series, but it’s been a breath of fresh moving air in a sea of stillness that has been the Summer schedule. Also new to Australian screens, it’s worth watching simply for the insanity of screen legend Cloris Leachman as “Maw Maw”.
East West 101 – 8:30pm, SBS1
Absolutely a repeat, but one worth engaging with. Don Hany is possibly one of the most under-rated actors in Australia. A confronting story of Muslim culture meeting western culture.
Ricky Gervais Live – 8:30pm, ABC2
It’s from 2003, at the height of his success with The Office, and Ricky Gervais is in fine form. He picks up where David Attenborough left off.
The Mentalist – 8:30pm, GEM
A detective series featuring a psychic who has outed himself as a sham and the psychopath that killed his family and continues to taunt him. It’s all repeats, but it’s all good. Brilliantly written, superbly exectued.
Big Ideas – 11pm, ABC News 24
It’s spread across the schedule, however as a regular grab on Friday it’s though provoking, challenging and entertaining. A filler to follow.
Mythbusters – 7:30pm, SBS1
Back off, man. I’m a scientist.
Good Game SP – 7:35pm, ABC3
Gaming is not just for kids anymore (some would say it never was), however kids are fast becoming the forgotten demographic with more and more titles being rated M15+ and/or containing adult content. Good Game SP is a great opportunity to look at gaming with kids, including the content as well as the wider genre.
* = “High quality television” is a completely subjective and ironic term, depending on how you choose to apply it.