Monthly Archives: March 2011
It’s only good news today – in the way that a trio critically acclaimed shows have received renewals. Here they are;
After months of deliberation over licensing, etc. (I believe that’s what executives are calling it) AMC has finally given official word that the critical darling will receive a FIFTH SEASON. The only bad news is that it won’t screen until 2012. But that’s better than it not screening at all, isn’t it, MM fans? And at least you’ll be able to get some sleep at night now.
Another show garnering extremely positive press, thanks in part to it’s lead Timothy Olyphant, has also received another season commission, this time by the FX network. This will be its THIRD SEASON (it is in the latter half of its second season currently).
Speaking of FX, it has also has given animated spy comedy Archer a THIRD SEASON. While not as big show as the previous two, it has gained a devoted following. And, not speaking of clunky segues, now would be a good time for one of the commercial networks to pick up these shows. Especially since channels like Eleven are coming to the end of certain seasons (Californication, etc.).
Note: In most cases, “Renewal” refers to a show being granted another season in 2012, or later in the year, depending on the show.
Second season to air in 2011.
At the Movies
First Tuesday Book Club
Q & A
Adam Hills In Gordon St Tonight
This was a show that everyone knew would be good, but would it crank the ratings metre up to 11? Well, it hasn’t really, but it has been doing enough to guarantee it a second run (most likely in 2012).
Despite not hitting the heights of Spicks and Specks yet (somewhere near the 1m mark, it has been performing very well). Its ratings for episode 3 are nothing to be concerned about.
Update 12/03 – The past couple of weeks have really been promising, with the show demonstrating that it is firmly within the 700,000 range. If it could push into the 800,000s once again, you could almost brand it a hit.
Episode 1: 889,000
Episode 2: 802,00
Episode 3: 674,000
Episode 4: 760,000
Episode 5: 757,000
While reviews have not been bad- most tend to remark that it is superbly acted, shot and written, yet lacks a certain spark, and is nowhere near a rib-tickiling comedy- ratings have certainly not been great. Its premiere figure was very respectable for a 9:30pm slot on ABC1, and if it were to maintain figures like that it would be given a second season immediately. However, more recent ratings haven’t been that flash. It is beginning to become clear that the show has a following of at least half a million, so if it didn’t slip beneath 400,000 at all, you could almost guarantee it a second.
However, if it did… you would start to worry.
Update 12/03: It is quite astonishing how loyal the Laid audience is. It is quite obvious that it has established a fanbase. This is good for the show’s prospects, don’t get me wrong, but the numbers aren’t spectacular. It would need to lift just a touch in its final episode- preferably into the 500,000s. If it were to drop significantly, it would be danger. However, if it rose, a decent case could be made for a second season.
Here have been its ratings thus far:
Episode 1: 608,000
Episode 2: 481,000
Episode 3: 478,000
Episode 4: 475,000
Episode 5: 473,000
It hasn’t yet had its third season premiere yet, but this show remains a toss of the coin as to its renewal prospects. It gets a lot of points because Andrew Denton’s production company is behind it, and it is also supporting new and innovative ideas from relative youngsters, but its ratings have disappointed in the past.
The Gruen Transfer
Ratings-wise, it speaks for itself, but how long can they keep the advertising deconstruction jig up? Surely there’s only so many tricks up advertisers’ sleeves…
Bed of Roses
Currently in its third and final season, the show has failed to win a fanatical following, and has simmered quietly on a Saturday night.
Can We Help
28/03/2011: Cancelled after six years on air.
Spicks and Specks (ENDED)
UPDATE: The ABC has announced that Spicks and Specks will wrap up at the end of 2011.
Coming into its sixth season in 2011, its seventh season is largely dependent on its host, Adam Hills. He is currently hosting Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight, and one would have to wonder if this will lead to bigger and better things for Hills. He obviously doesn’t want to move to a commercial network, yet I’m sure if the UK or the US came knocking, he couldn’t say no.
There is also a question lingering over the freshness of Spicks and Specks. In recent times, they have obviously tried to spice up the show by having “specials”, or themed shows, such as different decades or countries. However, one would have to wonder how long Hills will be able to read questions off of cards- there is, only so much that can be done to reinvent a format.
I am confident that this series, coming to ABC2 and starring Rove’s Jess Harris, will be everything Australian TV needs: just something that sets out to be funny.
Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo
Top of the Lake
Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable
Today some good news for fans of US behemoth shows… and some not so good news for fans of quaint little Aussie shows on the ABC.
CBS has renewed the Amazing Race for a whopping NINETEENTH SEASON. Since premiering in 2001 (with its current host, Phil Keoghan, who recently visited his home country of New Zealand after the Christchurch earthquake), it has spawned seven different versions- including one cancelled version (Central Europe) and of course, the upcoming Australian version, which is to be hosted by Grant Bowler. Here’s something about Erin McNaught’s boyf, who’s apparently on the show… And moving on…
CBS has also renewed Undercover Boss for a THIRD SEASON. This is good news for Ten, who like to use this as a hole-filler, especially after, say, episodes of Undercover Boss Australia run out (it was of course renewed for a second season itself).
And in somewhat surprising news, the ABC has given Can We Help? the chop, according to a post on TV Tonight. It was never a ratings winner, but then again, shows that screen on Friday and (now) Saturday evenings never are. However, it wasn’t doing very much at all for six years, and was really quite a bland and uninspiring show. Peter Rowsthorn did his best (and was probably the show’s only drawcard in the end) but ABC’s treatment of it became a joke.
Its format in the studio made it somewhat watchable in my opinion, as at least there was some interaction between the hosts. Then there came a cutting of costs by the ABC and Rowsthorn was forced to throw to stories from the accounts department of the ABC (or something like that).
At least Rowsthorn has the Kath and Kim Filum lined up (most probably), where he might get to reprise his role as Brett Craig.
Just a quick one: cult hit Fringe has been renewed by FOX for a FOURTH SEASON.
Its renewal prospects had always remained somewhat of a toss-up, but it has garnered solid ratings in its new Friday timeslot.
This is good news for Channel Nine, who occasionally screens Fringe on GO!
Radio LOL of the Day: Thursday 25th March – Andy Lee talks footy, wanting to be a certain footballer
Show: Rush Hour
Network: Triple M
Quite an awkward, and somewhat unexpected moment surfaced today courtesy of an interview between Rush Hour hosts James Brayshaw and Billy Brownless and Andy Lee.
Normally conductors of irreverent interviews, JB and Billy were throwing questions at Andy regarding football and his life. Of course, up until this point, everything but Megan Gale was mentioned.
But it was quite a good interview, and first they spoke about footy, as Andy is a mad “blue-bagger”, as Billy put it.
Andy: Should be a good one. I’m looking to Matty Kreuzer coming back…
Billy: Yes indeed, and Jordan Russell’s a fan of yours. I’m just reading the profile here in the (Football) “Record” at the ground here today; “if you weren’t an AFL footballer, what would you like to be?”
“Hamish or Andy.”
So, if you weren’t a superstar in the media, what would you rather be… wanna be… a Carlton footballer?”
Andy: Carlton footballer… maybe Shaun Hampson (Gale’s current boyfriend).
This was met with about 4 or 5 seconds of JB and Billy being unsure of what to say. All that can be heard is JB guffawing.
JB quipped, “I think you’ve been him… you can’t pick blokes you’ve been”.
Andy Lee then told the story of why he didn’t end up being a footballer; his mother didn’t allow him to play after his dad sustained an injury.
Conversation also turned to their deal with Nine, and how the new show is shaping up.
And it remains as unclear as ever, as to what format the show will take, as apparently they still “don’t know” what the show is.
Apparently the only thing they know is that they “want to do a show”.
So what have they been doing with their spare time?
“A lot of spontaneous purchases”, apparently.
But that’s what we love about them, anyway.
And apparently Andy Lee, of all people, was to press the button to sound the siren to kick off the 2011 AFL season.
Generating interest mainly because Andrew Denton’s production company Zapruder’s Other Films is putting it together.
Australian Film Institute Awards
In Their Footsteps
Panic At Rock Island
It has already aired in New Zealand, and hasn’t drawn the best of reviews.
The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show
US show on cable network Showtime starring Matt le Blanc. Was recently renewed for a SECOND SEASON.
Australia’s Funniest Home Videos
A mainstay on Channel Nine for many years, with it having found its home on Saturday nights. Now in its 21st season, with its fourth hosted by Shelley Craft.
The Farmer Wants a Wife
Ratings haven’t been spectacular, but it should receive a seventh season, given Nine’s lack of a huge amount of hit shows.
Week 1: 891,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Week 2: 887,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Week 3: 786,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Week 4: 925,000 (2nd in timeslot)
On the 5th of March, it was renewed for a seventh season.
The Footy Show AFL
Maintains quite strong ratings in its city of Melbourne, however, this is largely dependent on whether Sam Newman remains part of the show.
The Footy Show NRL
Millionaire Hot Seat
Crime Investigation Australia
Royal Prince Alfred
This Is Your Life
The third season in 2010 was a modest success, but it would need to at least match those ratings to guarantee it a fourth under new host Scott Cam.
Top Gear Australia
Rescue: Special Ops
This is Your Life
Though it debuted well with its latest incarnation helmer by Eddie McGuire, you can’t take too much out of its first performance. Nevertheless, it remains “Looking Good”. However, it is almost certain to drop, as you have to factor in the Jackman-factor- as it’s known in the industry- for Week 1.
Week 1: 1,043,000 (2nd in timeslot) [LOOKING GOOD]
Week 2: 774,000 [50/50]
Not quite in the Danger zone, but it has a one-way ticket there at the moment. It needs a big-name celebrity to jump-start it.
Week 3: 796,000
No sign of future episodes.
Hey Hey It’s Saturday
Average ratings, high cost… sounds like a recipe for disaster. Almost like a similar situation which arose just over 10 years ago.
Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth
Sea Patrol (Final season to come in 2011)
Futurama has been renewed for a SEVENTH SEASON by Comedy Central (according to Deadline). It certainly has come a long way after being cancelled by Fox way back in 2003 after its fourth season. It’s got a long way to catch up to its over-achieving older sibling (which, in case you don’t know, it is the Simpsons, which has a twenty-third season still to come).
However, future episodes will come in a rather staggered fashion, with 13 eps of season six still to come later this year, 13 eps of season seven to come in 2012 and the second half of thirteen episodes to come in 2013.
This moderately critically acclaimed drama Lights Out struggled somewhat in the ratings, so has been axed by FX after only its FIRST SEASON. It didn’t receive the same level of fanatic adoration as FX’s last cancelled show, Terriers, and this cancellation isn’t likely to incite any riots in the streets. I guess the notion of a show centered around a boxer wasn’t exciting or different enough for most people.
I normally approach a new Australian drama or comedy with trepidation. As do most people. And who would disagree? It’s true that as of late, the track-record for Australian dramas and comedies hasn’t exactly been that shabby.
Packed to the Rafters? Tick!
The Librarians? Tick!
And so on…
However, when Australian shows fail, they fail badly. Think Canal Road, The Strip, Cops LAC…
But this new offering from Seven was interesting for a number of reasons…
1. Packed to the Rafters has been a monumental success, how would Winners and Losers fare (ratings and quality-wise)?
2. Would Seven commission a carbon copy of Packed to the Rafters?
Before I answer these questions, let’s take a look at the superficial aspect of the show.
It is interesting to observe any pilot, mainly for the techniques it employs to grab the viewers’ increasingly fleeting and fickle attention.
In this case, the lives of the four main characters were shown to us. And the character-types are fairly stock-standard, so not much exposition is needed. There’s the flirty (or slutty, depending on your point-of-view) one, Melanie Vallejo as Sophie, the nerdy one, Melissa Bergland as Jenny, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith as Rebecca, the career-driven one [SHE WORKS SO HARD SHE FALLS ASLEEP AT HER DESK], Virginia Gay as Frances James, and Zoe Tuckwell-Smith as Rebecca Gilbert, seemingly the one in a stable relationship.
Probably the most recognisable of the bunch would be Virginia Gay, of All Saints fame. And I guess observant viewers would recognise Vallejo as home-wrecker Mel from Packed to the Rafters.
[Just a side note, for fans of the US version of The Office and Parks and Recreation, Vallejo has kind of done a “Rashida Jones” here, if you get my drift]
I had a tiny problem with the way their names were plastered on screen as they went about their everyday business. It isn’t a big deal, and most likely will seem to be a novel way of introducing characters, but really it is just laziness.
Anyway, on to the meatier scenes… so to speak.
In relation to the question about being a copy of the Rafters, well… it ain’t.
This was pretty evident from the opening scenes- and it’s clear the writers wanted us to know.
Cue Melanie Vallejo… er, riding a bloke.
Then um, Melissa Bergland is cleaning up a woman’s lower regions…
Throughout the course of the episode we are also treated with an F-bomb, and a “BS”.
This isn’t a criticism, but it is certainly a touch surprising, as you’d imagine that families with children under 16 expecting another family-friendly dramedy like the Rafters would find this a squirmy experience, to say the least.
I’m surprised that Seven risked alienating a large proportion of Rafters viewers by airing such risqué scenes, yet it rated well (1.6m), so who am I to criticise?
This is not to say it’s Australia’s answer to Californication, or even as saucy as Underbelly, but I can say that we aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Another obvious difference to Packed to the Rafters was the amount of bloody characters (or actors) introduced in episode 1 compared to Packed to the Rafters. Now, I know that many extras pop up in TV shows, but when you have such recognisable faces as Scott McGregor (from Neighbours, Temptation), it implicitly demands viewers to sit up and take notice of them. Aside from Scott, there’s also
But despite all the differences, it seems as if the show will be somewhat centred around a family… that of Jenny Gross. However, with the dynamic of the four girls, it will be interesting to see which group will be the central, or base one.
Most likely it will be the four girls, yet I thought that Denise Scott and Francis Greenslade were particularly good as the Jenny’s parents.
So let’s have a look at all the characters introduced, and you can place your bets on who will stick around, and who won’t.
So there’s the four main actors;
their partners and family, played by;
Jack Pearson (Jenny’s brother)
Sarah Grace (Jenny’s sister)
Damien Bodie (Frances’ assistant)
… and once I work out who everyone else is they will be added too…
like Lawrence Mooney, who for some reason was in the show. Hopefully we see more of him but there isn’t a character page for him on the official site so who knows?
There has also been a lot of discussion about it being labelled by Seven as a comedy. Yes, it is true that there aren’t a great deal of gags, and some fairly weighty issues are brought up, such as bullying (which, incidentally, was a very prominent issue in the week), so a “dramedy” would be most fitting. SMH refers to it as a “light drama”, which is also not a bad little label.
Overall, would I watch it next week? Yes.
Is it as good as Packed to the Rafters? No, but no-one expected it to be (yet), surely.
Will it match this week’s ratings of 1.6m? No, because it isn’t Packed to the Rafters… yet.
Will it ever match Packed to the Rafters in terms of ratings? Probably not, but it is a worthy effort. For a first episode of an Australian show (well any show, these days), it is an achievement in itself to have dialogue which is natural and lines which don’t clunk, and it certainly did that.
As long as it keeps it natural; the characters and issues relatable, and the plots interesting, I will keep watching. But the real question is, will you?
And now for the news of the year…
NBC has renewed three of its most critically acclaimed shows, and in order of acclaim, here they are;
Parks and Recreation has been renewed for a THIRD SEASON.
Community has been renewed for a THIRD SEASON.
The Office has been renewed for a whopping EIGHTH SEASON.
However, in terms of which shows were expected to be renewed, the Office was probably most likely, with Community the least. However, it is great news regardless.
The US version of Being Human has also been granted a SECOND SEASON (it airs on Syfy). This of course follows the news of the renewal of its UK counterpart.
A couple of interesting renewals today, and some not so interesting ones, but not entirely unexpected.
ABC has renewed The Bachelor for a SIXTEENTH SEASON. But it gets worse…
ABC has also renewed The Bachelorette for a SEVENTH SEASON.
The UK version of Being Human has also been renewed for a FOURTH SEASON, with the US version still tracking along in its first season.
Still in the UK, sci-fi series Outcasts has been cancelled after its FIRST SEASON.
And while not entirely cancelled, No Ordinary Family is heading south rapidly, with news that Julie Benz has booked a role in a new supernatural medical drama on CBS, no less. This in conjunction with her co-lead, Michael Chiklis similarly starring in another pilot, means that either they know something that we don’t yet, or they are predicting the worst (or they could just be hedging their bets).
However, you have to ask yourself about how the show must be tracking if the leads are sniffing around elsewhere.