What’s on TV: Friday, October 30 to Thursday, November 5 – Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: October 28, 2020 at 6:54 pm


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Friday For Life

9Now

Created by Hank Steinberg (Without a Trace, The Last Ship) and inspired by real life events, this American legal drama stars Nicholas Pinnock (Counterpart) as Aaron Wallace, a club owner who receives a life sentence for a crime he didn't commit. Determined to free himself and help those in a similar predicament,Wallace earns his legal degree and represents fellow inmates in court. It's a case-per-episode model, but with a sturdy overall narrative, as Wallace has to evade powerful adversaries while accepting that some on the outside, including his wife Marie (Joy Bryant), have already moved on. It's heavy-handed in part, but honest about institutional flaws.

Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue.

7Plus

Adapted from the 2011 novel by P.D. James, this Georgian murder mystery is sumptuous unofficial fan-fiction for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, where Darcy and Elizabeth (Matthew Rhys and Anna Maxwell Martin) have been happily married for six years. A grisly killing on the night the couple are hosting a ball sees Elizabeth's untrustworthy brother-in-law, George Wickham (Matthew Goode), charged with murder. First airing in 2013, it's a best of both worlds proposition for British TV devotees period manners and costumes with a crime to solve. It moves at a serious clip and has enough self-awareness to avoid dutiful homage.

Old-fashioned whodunit: Penelope Keith as Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Death Comes to Pemberley.

ABC, 8.40pm

First seen victoriously exiting a London courthouse after taking legal action against a newspaper that accused him of corruption, Conservative party politician Peter Laurence is a hand-in-glove role for Hugh Laurie. Ebullient but calculating, the self-made cabinet member is a balancing act aiming upwards and hoping not to be dragged down. In this four-part BBC drama, the considerable machinations that swirl around Laurence a possible illegitimate daughter, rumours of a shonky past, and aggrieved adversaries don't frame him as a hero but rather a player trying to stay one step ahead of defeat.

As with the excellent 2018 Netflix series Collateral, Roadkill was written by acclaimed playwright David Hare. Both limited series look at power and institutions, although this time the setting is more 10 Downing Street than a police station interview room.With typically testy exchanges, the narrative examines which of people or structures bends to the demands of the other. "Well that was good fun," Helen McCrory's formidable prime minister Dawn Ellison notes after disappointing Laurence, and while this is a post-Brexit landscape sans pandemic, this promising show feels timely in the way it captures the political flux of conscience and consequence.

Nine, 7.30pm

The 16th season of Nine's home renovation contest is heading into its last two weeks. With front garden and facade week behind them, the contestants are now facing garage and studio week, with seven days until judging. The requirement is a garage with a self-contained apartment above it. There's a lot of plastering to be done, installation of many sheets of Gyprock and numerous skylights on display. There's also disappointment, exhaustion and tears, as well as budget blowouts and subsequent deficits.

Meanwhile, the winners are smiling and apparently cruising. At a couple of points, foreman Dan gets his ruler out, which is rarely a good sign for the team working on the house that he's surveying. Dan and his fellow foreman, Keith, take one contestant whose spirits are sagging out to lunch and offer an appreciated pep talk. There's also time for the contestants to share a Mexican dinner. The relentless promotions for sponsors, which are firmly concreted into the proceedings, continue unabated and unabashed.

Ten, 10am

This will be a Cup Day like no other. No crowds in the stands, no car-park picnics, no Birdcage or themed corporate marquees with celebs swanning around, sipping bubbly and nibbling on gourmet canapes. But the races through the day will go ahead, culminating in the one that traditionally stops the nation at 3pm. Ten's coverage of the Spring Racing Carnival's biggest day begins in the morning with Studio 10. The team covering Flemington will be led by Stephen Quartermain and Gorgi Coghlan, with racing host Michael Felgate. Francesca Cumani, who's a reliable asset on racing coverage, will provide her analysis from the UK. The telecast will also feature The Race of Dreams, a virtual race pitting 24 past champions of the Cup against each other.

ABC, 8.30pm

Written and directed by Kriv Stenders (The Principal, Red Dog, TV's Wake in Fright, The Go Betweens: Right Here), this profile of champion racing-car driver Peter Brock focuses on his remarkable achievements on the track and skips more lightly over other aspects of his life. A picture of an obsessive and phenomenally talented driver emerges, a man who learned "mechanical sympathy" from an early age and could "trick" a car into doing what he wanted. Brock dominated the touring car circuit for nearly 40 years, winning the 1000 Endurance race at Bathurst nine times between 1972 and 1987, a record that remains unbroken. He was "the messiah of motorsport", says sports commentator Garry Wilkinson, who's one of the many interviewees including

family members, racing-crew colleagues, rivals and commentators. Brock is depicted as a uniquely talented and charismatic figure who loved attention, hated being alone and could be difficult to work with, as his on-again-off-again relationship with Holden indicated. There was a darkness beneath the charm and Stenders' profile alludes to that, as well as celebrating his mastery of the circuit.

SBS, 8.30pm

Jenny Brockie, who's been the host of this discussion program for nearly 19 years, is taking her final bow in the arena. Calm and capable, she's been a steady pair of hands at the helm, helping to steer a program that is one of TV's quiet achievers. However, there won't be a highlights reel to mark the milestone. Instead, SBS is screening the 2018 episode Hungry, which asks why 3.6 million Australians, including one in five children, don't have enough to eat.

The problem is as pressing today as it was then and the discussion covers issues such as food insecurity, bill shock and the importance of charity organisations. The episode puts a human face on the problem, with several families detailing their stressful situations. Brockie navigates the territory with her customary skill and compassion. She'll be missed.

10play

The 18 Kiwi castaways vying for the $250,000 prize on New Zealand's second season of Survivor look like a buff bunch. They're strong, fit and telegenic. They arrive at their temporary new homes, located on a lake between Thailand and Myanmar, and are welcomed by host Matt Chisholm. As those familiar with the format of this long-running reality-TV contest will be well aware, things get hairy from there. While the scenery is spectacular, close-ups frequently indicate the abundance of potentially scary local wildlife: snakes, spiders, monkeys, even tigers.

Then comes the division into tribes. Chani, which is Thai for gibbon, is yellow; Khangkhaw, meaning bat, is blue. The newly formed teams set about constructing their shelters, trying to make fire to cook their rice, and contemplating the best locations for toilets. Soon, some of the cannier competitors are surreptitiously searching for hidden immunity idols. It's game on and all 15 episodes of the season are available.

9Now

It only lasted three seasons (2016-18), but this star vehicle for Jennifer Lopez has qualities to recommend it, including supporting cast that features Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo. The police drama created by Adi Hasak focuses on the murky morality that can come with police work. Lopez plays detective Harlee Santos, the single mother of teenager Cristina (Sarah Jeffrey) and the most effortlessly glamorous detective on the New York streets.

However, she's introduced looking shaken and battered, recording a confession into her laptop as something has clearly gone badly wrong. A swing back to two weeks earlier sees Harlee as a confident cop, one who walks with purpose and swagger and feels at home in her role and with her fellow officers, whom she regards as family. She has an especially close relationship with her boss, Matt Wozniak (Liotta). In the pilot, directed by Barry Levinson, the complexities and compromises of her world quickly become clear. A botched assignment with her rookie partner (Dayo Okeniyi) sees her covering up the truth of an apartment raid that led to a death.

Harlee and members of her squad are also engaged in profitable side hustles that involve the trafficking of stolen goods, and they hire themselves out to provide security. In order to keep the peace and maintain low crime figures in his precinct, Wozniak has made some dubious deals. It's a strong start and all 36 episodes are available.

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What's on TV: Friday, October 30 to Thursday, November 5 - Sydney Morning Herald

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October 28th, 2020 at 6:54 pm

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