Madam Secretary, Season 2 Episodes 2 and 3

I’m still catching up on all the things I missed over the past week, and today I dealt with my least favourite webplayer, Tenplay. That being said, Madam Secretary is worth it. Like The Good Wife in its second season, Madam Secretary is expanding its world and creating more serialised arcs. Yes, the first season had the Iranian coup, but that mainly took place in the back nine, and it’s good to see that there’s a narrative arc for the season as a whole. Actually, it’s three. This elevates Madam Secretary above most procedural shows – it reminds me most of Person of Interest, a procedural that became about the security state and privacy of the individual. This is just the international relations version. It’s a very good show that could become a great one if they deepen the characters a bit more and stick the landing with the season long arc.

Continue reading

Please Like Me, Season 3 Episode 3: “Croquembouche”

Hannah: It just really hurts to know that I need to take pills simply to function

Hannah and Rose have the B story this week, but their conversation at the end of the episode is incredibly powerful. Depression sucks. Anti-depressants make you feel numb (different medications have different effects on different people), and the reason Hannah has been hitting herself is because she’s taken herself off her antidepressants. You think you’re doing okay, and then you realise that you’re dependent on these pills to function, even if you’re not addicted to them. It’s a simple explanationof how mental illness is no different to any other illness – it’s just a chemical imbalance in your brain that makes you feel sad all the time. It’s really no different to people who have to take thyroid tablets every day, except for the fact that it’s hard to feel anything at all. Please Like Me is one of the best television shows out there when it comes to handling mental illness, but Hannah and Rose should be having this conversation with a doctor or therapist rather than each other – an antidepressant isn’t a solution, it’s part of a management plan. Hannah’s so sad that Josh thinks it’s her default setting, even Arnold’s mum (played wonderfully by Gina Riley) notices something’s up. “Croquembouche” is my favourite episode of Please Like Me so far this season, and all three episodes have been very good. It handles everything in such a matter-of-fact and understated way that it just feels like another day in these people’s lives, there are no hijinks the way there would be in an American sitcom.

Continue reading

The Ex-PM, Episode 3

Andrew Dugdale: Revenge is a happy byproduct.

This is going to be an incredibly short review, because my life has quieted down a bit since Tuesday, I spent most of last night playing Ocarina of Time and forgot to watch The Ex-PM, and it’s now 10pm on Thursday and this is my first chance to watch it. About to press play on iview now. This week Andrew is hosting diplomats from Israel and Palestine so that he can get some sort of posting out there because his greatest political rival is slated to get the job. He buys kosher and Halal meat, and as expected, it’s a disaster. Meanwhile, budget negotiations are at a standstill, which means the government isn’t paying for his staff, so they have an unpaid day off.

Continue reading

iZombie, Season 2 Episode 4: “Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues”

A lot happened this week in iZombie. There were two reunions, and one of them made me cry (hint: it was the one at the start of the episode). Blaine made a reappearance, and is wondering about the disappearance of two of his customers. Oh, and he’s also Peyton’s whistleblower and charms her pretty good, which is my favourite romantic development so far. I’m excited for when Gilda moves out (you just know it’s going to happen sooner rather than later – thank goodness), Peyton moves back in, and Liv realises she’s dating Blaine. That is the kind of relationship drama I like in my zombie show that isn’t really a zombie show. We’ll get to that later though. Tonight we’ll start with Major.

Continue reading

The Great Australian Bake Off, Season 1 Episode 3: Choux Pastry

For week three of The Great Australian Bake-Off, the theme was choux pastry. I’m not a huge fan of choux, so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the episode, but there were some fantastic bakes. We had a new Star Baker this week, and the winner was completely deserving, but I’m a little worried that Matt and Maggie are playing favourites. But we’ll get to that at the end.

Continue reading

What I’m reading and watching right now.

I’ve been quite busy over the past week, so I’ve fallen behind on quite a few shows – I watched the latest episode of Scream Queens last night, but the other US scripted dramas are piling up, namely Empire, The Good Wife and Madam Secretary. I don’t have anything to review today, and what I wrote yesterday was so clearly a rush job, so this is just a general update on what I’m reading and watching at the moment.

Thanks to things that are happening in my non-television watching life, I’ve fallen behind on a number of shows: Scream Queens, Empire, The Good Wife and Madam Secretary. Basically I don’t have anything to review right now (and let’s face it, what I wrote about Fargo yesterday was obviously a rush job), so this is going to be a general update on what I’m reading and watching at the moment.

Continue reading

Fargo, Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2

I’ve been hearing great things about the second season of Fargo since the Television Critics Association summer press tour in August, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting its second season. For those of you who are fans of good television in Australia, it’s going to be airing on SBS at 8:30pm, which is less than 48 hours after it airs in the United States. However if you’re a fan of good television in Australia, you know that Wednesday night is by far the busiest night on the schedule, with fantastic programmes on the ABC (Kitchen Cabinet returns this week), as well as The Good Wife and Madam Secretary on Ten. Luckily SBS upload the episodes to their On Demand service immediately after their broadcast, and they’re available for viewing for two weeks.

Continue reading

No Activity: Stan’s first foray into original programming is a partial success.

A few weeks ago I wrote about this interview with Stan’s director of content, prior to the release of its first original scripted programme, No Activity. As the launch date (Thursday October 22nd) got closer, I saw some positive reviews from Australian television critics, and I was hopeful. No Activity comes from JungleBoys productions, the company responsible for A Moody Christmas. It also boasted Australia’s favourite leading man at the moment, Patrick Brammall, who has proven himself more than capable of both comedy and drama. Then I hearfd that my favourite New Girl actor Jake Johnson was going to be on, and I was sold. The show was semi-improvised, like Johnson’s film Drinking Buddies, and I was really looking forward to the debut of this new series.

Continue reading

Please Like Me, Season 3 Episode 2: “Simple Carbohydrates”

One of my favourite things about Please Like Me is that it never judges people for what they’re feeling. Mental illness is built into the fabric of this show, but it’s not a show about mental illness, which is crucial. It’s just a show about these characters. While last week felt like a catching up/getting Josh and Arnold together sort of thing, “Simple Carbohydrates” has a more lived-in feel to it. It’s a hangout sitcom that revolves around Josh as he deals with the various people in his life. For the first time in a long time, Mum is in a really good place. She’s sick of being home all the time and begs Hannah, who is very clearly depressed, to take her to a lesbian bar. Tom is mad at Josh for breaking their “no bread” pact, Arnold wants to come out to his parents, and we learn that Mei had an affair while she was pregnant.

Continue reading

The Ex-PM, Episode 2

Andrew Dugdale: I blame the ABC.

The Ex-PM is a fun show, but not particularly easy to write about every week. I didn’t take notes as I was watching this time, which I did on iview because I was out last night. Between work and some things I need to study for next week, I haven’t had a lot of time to watch or write about television, which is a shame, but I also don’t want to wear myself out. This week on The Ex-PM, Andrew Dugdale played with the idea of being a handyman, went and spoke at his grandson’s school for Grandparents’ Day, and complained that ex-Prime Ministers don’t get the same amount of respect as ex-Presidents of the United States.

Continue reading