What to watch on TV this week
WE'RE living in strange times.
America is now forming "special bonds" with North Korea but is warring with Canada, hoping their neighbours to the north will be too polite to put up a fight. Does anyone else think the world has already ended and we're living in a Lost-type purgatory?
If so, well, at least purgatory has flat-screen TVs.
Strange times indeed.
QUEER EYE S2
(Netflix - Friday, June 15 from 5pm AEST)
Reach for those tissues because the boys are back! It's the fastest a Netflix series has turned around a second season (four months) but considering how successful the first season was, is it any wonder that avocado aficionado Antoni has returned to our screens? With eight new makeovers - including a woman - the Fab Five will tug at your heartstrings, proving once and for all that jaded modern audiences do actually have them. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are.
So let Tan revitalise your wardrobe, Bobby do up your pad, Antoni whip you up a guac, Jonathan apply that beard oil and Karamo instil you with the confidence you need to conquer the world. And who knows, maybe there will be another wedding success story like Tom and Abby.
(SBS and SBS on Demand - Saturday, June 16 at 10.30pm)
You know what's better than J.K. Simmons anchoring a sci-fi spy thriller? Two J.K. Simmonses! The Oscar winner plays Howard Silk, an apparatchik in a mysterious bureaucratic agency in Berlin, and he also plays Howard Silk, a spy from a parallel universe that formed from an awry experiment which created a divergence. Everyone has a counterpart on the other side and the agency is the crossing between the two worlds.
Prime Howard (from the alternate universe) is on a mission: Sh*t is going down in his world with factions warring for control and it's threatening to spill out over into the Alpha world (our universe). He says he's here to protect Alpha Howard's comatose wife Emily (Olivia Williams) from an assassin but, because it's a spy thriller, there's something he's not telling everyone.
Even if the high-concept sci-fi part doesn't hook you, Counterpart is well worth it for Simmons alone. The Alpha Howard (the one from our world) is an unassuming, quiet man but the Prime Howard is a man of action - Simmons beautifully differentiates between the two characters through voice modulation, body language and more, this is an actor in total command of his craft.
(Netflix - now)
There are plenty of talented and instinctive cops with personal baggage on TV, but there's only one played by Anna Friels, whose charisma jumps off the screen in any project she's in. In the first season, despite suffering from blackouts and dealing with the fallout from her husband leaving her, Marcella manages to solve the murder of her husband's mistress.
Written by the Swedish creator of The Bridge, the addictive noir detective series returns for more puzzling cases involving serial killers, paedophiles and witchcraft symbols, while Marcella's personal life spirals out of control thanks to an ugly custody battle with her ex and her continued blackouts.
2018 FIFA WORLD CUP
(SBS and Optus Sports - from Thursday, June 14 at 10.30pm)
Every four years, a bunch of perfectly normal people become very agitated if you say "soccer" instead of "football" - everyone's a purist during the FIFA World Cup. The most watched sporting even in the world - yes, more than the Olympics - the World Cup is about to create a lot of bleary-eyed people who stayed up way too late to catch the antics of superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, or 19-year-old Aussie Daniel Arzani, the youngest player in the tournament.
The opening ceremony starts at 10.30pm with the first Australian game (versus France) kicking off on Saturday at the very respectable time of 8pm AEST. SBS will broadcast one game each day while Optus Sports have the rights to the whole tournament. The first moments of the World Cup are always the most exciting, there's so much hope and possibility - Australia could make it through to the finals, Germany could successfully defend its championship from potential spoilers Spain or Brazil, anything could happen.
THE GOOD DOCTOR
(SBS Viceland - Tuesday, June 12 at 10.25pm)
American medical drama The Good Doctor is the first international series to pull in serious ratings on an Australian free-to-air broadcaster in a very long time - those shows have largely become the domain of streaming services, ABC, SBS and pay TV. But there was something about the character of Shaun Murphy that resonated with mass audiences.
What some of those fans may not know was The Good Doctor was a remake of a Korean TV show which actor Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) bought the rights to make an American version. The original series also featured an autistic young man with a genius-level IQ and a kind heart clashing with some of his colleagues at the hospital he works at. And you know what they say about remakes versus originals…
(SBS Food - Friday, June 15 at 8.30; then repeated throughout the week)
Remember those Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid? I used to pore over the intricate colourful pages, in awe of the pictures that detailed how things work, of all the different people (or animals) that made the airport run or what goes on during a day at the fire station.
Unwrapped 2.0 is a bit like that, a peek behind the curtain of how things are made - specifically, food, even more specifically, junk food. It's like someone gave you an all-access pass to the Allen's factory and you get to marvel at the sugar-fuelled Fordist machines that produces those little jelly babies. Because it is an American show, most of the products on offer are from the so-called land of the free but that doesn't make it any less enchanting (you can almost smell the syrup), and the series is hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).
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