There’s a lot of new content on Australian streaming services this week, and if you ever wanted to check out a free trial of Presto, now’s the perfect time to do it. In addition to the first season of Empire, the show that was the rare hit and kept building its audience after its premiere, seasons four and five of The Good Wife are dropping on Presto this Sunday (coincidentally my birthday). Seasons four and five of The Good Wife include the best stretch of episodes in the series’ run, from “Red Team, Blue Team” well into season five. Also dropping on Presto this Sunday: 48 films. Yes, I counted them. Stan has an Amy Schumer stand-up special and Lawrence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure, while Netflix has two original productions in Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents and true crime documentary Team Foxcatcher dropping later today. The Netflix production I’m most excited about is Marseille, the first original French language show on the streaming service, all of which drops on Thursday. There’s a lot of good content this week.
The Golden Globes is the first big awards ceremony to kick off the awards season when it comes to film. The problem here is that approximately 1% of the films that have been nominated have been released in Australia. Last year I used a randomiser to predict the film winners, but this year I’m going to leave my film predictions for the Oscars. There are still distribution issues with television in Australia, but it’s slowly getting better, and I think I’ve seen most of the nominated shows that I actually want to watch. It’s been a good year in television, and I like the complete unpredictability of the Hollywood Foreign Press, so every prediction I make will be worth a grain of salt.
“Without a Country” explores the consequences of the failed hostile takeover in the season premiere. Empire is a show that realises that just because you’re rich/famous/insert other adjective here, you’re not immune to consequences. This is one of the many problems I have with Scream Queens. Anyway, what happens has varying consequences for Andre, Hakeem and Cookie. Annika/Boo Boo Kitty is also around, and Cookie still hates her. We’ll get to that later. Over in prison, Lucious is suffering the consequences of messing with the DA. The music this week however, was not great. And Michael’s back for some reason, but that’s just how Empire rolls – there’s always a lot going on.
I saw an ad for The Blacklist today, which claimed it was America’s or the world’s biggest drama. No way, not when Empire is around. The fact that it’s been relegated to a secondary channel seems bizarre to me, but given that Network Ten has had very little success with scripted programming over the past few years (I really liked Party Tricks, but they won’t bring that back), it makes sense that they’re sticking to reality competition shows on their primary channel and moving imported dramas to Eleven. I don’t necessarily like it, but at least we’re getting Empire and Scream Queens within a week of their US broadcast. The season two premiere of Empire is all over the place tonally, and aside from the pilot, it’s the only episode I’ve watched outside of a binge.
This first season review of Empire is coming to you less than two hours before the second season premieres in Australia. Television has become a strange beast, and Empire is the story of 2015. It was the biggest broadcast hit in a decade during an era in which the television audience has become increasingly fragmented. Meanwhile, there has been almost zero promotion of this show in Australia. It’s the most popular show in the world (sorry NCIS), and tonight the second season debuts on Eleven, one of Network Ten’s secondary channels. I also found it really difficult to find Empire’s first season when it debuted in Australia, so I waited until it came out on DVD. It was worth the wait. Spoilers for this show and also the third season of Person of Interest, which got really good in its second season. If you want to watch it start from the first season finale.