Things I liked in 2017: Television


Justina Machado and Rita Moreno in One Day at a Time. Image courtesy of Netflix.

It’s the time of year where we all feel the need to rank things for some reason, and here is a list of TV shows I liked this year. My personal rules for this list are that I have to have seen all of the most recent season, or at least be up to date on what’s aired in Australia. I added that second part because otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to put Jane the Virgin on there. I haven’t seen any of Halt and Catch Fire, but the final season hasn’t aired in Australia either, so the point is moot.

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Rosehaven: Season 2 Premiere


Luke McGregor and Celia Pacquola. Image courtesy of the ABC.

Last Monday I went to see the Rosehaven premiere at ACMI, which was a screening of the first two episodes followed by a Q&A with Celia and Luke. It’s not the first event of this kind that ACMI has hosted, and if you live in Melbourne, I highly recommend signing up to their mailing list, or buying a membership if you can afford it. I’m pleased to report that Rosehaven is still great, which is reflected in its performance overseas. This week they’re holding the US premiere at the New York Television Festival before it airs on Sundance the same day and date as Australia.

The first two episodes have storylines that involve pub trivia and working at the tuck shop. If I’d written this right after I’d seen it, I might remember more, but all you need to know is that it’s still great. I forgot to bring a notebook (usually there’s just one in my bag, so I need to figure out where that one went), so I scribbled some notes from the Q&A on the back of my ticket. Here are some of the highlights that are spoiler free:

  • Celia and Luke stayed in a hotel/inn while they were in production for season one. Luke asked Celia to swap rooms because he thought the painting in there would haunt him. Celia said no because she didn’t want to be haunted, and Luke stayed anyway because the painting could have been angry at him. The next time they stayed there he requested a different room. He’s gone full Hollywood.
  • Someone asked a great question about Celia and Luke’s writing process: they map out (or ‘break’) the episodes together, and work on the scripts separately in the same flat, so they can yell out things like “What would Emma say if I came into the room drinking a juice box?” The scripts then go to their script editor/producer Michael Lucas to read.
  • The tag at the end of episode 1 is based on a conversation Luke and Celia actually had.
  • There was another really great question about doing episodes on issues, and they responded that it’s a silly show. They also said that due to the production cycle, if they try to address the issue of the day, it will probably be out of date by the time it airs. Celia and Luke also try to address issues based on their own experiences, which makes the show more truthful.
  • Luke and Celia were asked how similar their characters are to them in real life. Daniel is Luke if he’d never gone into comedy, and Emma is Celia in a silly happy mood 100% of the time instead of the usual 20%. The best part of this answer is that they worked for Luke’s parents for a few weeks and were recognised. They said that comedy didn’t work out, and people were definitely ready to believe them.
  • The visual gags are all written into the script, but there’s some great background work in the pub trivia scenes that were improvised.
  • The opening credits (which are great, but make me slightly nauseous – it’s better on the big screen than the TV) are symbolic of Tasmania being on the bottom of the world. Both the opening credits sequence and the theme song have been nominated for awards.

Rosehaven season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 25 at 9pm on the ABC