Monday, September 30, 2013

Thursday, October 3

Upper Middle Bogan episodic

A class above: Upper Middle Bogan.


The Feed, SBS2, 7.30pm

It was probably only a matter of time before SBS2's news flagship, The Feed, turned its roving eye to food, and what better culinary option than engine-cooked roadkill. Tonight, Australian wildlife expert Len Zell guides us through the practicalities and the protocol of eating roadkill. This is one it would be advisable not to digest while you dine.


Upper Middle Bogan, ABC1, 8.30pm

This hysterical class comedy lifts its game further for tonight's finale. From Robyn Nevin's Margaret eviscerating the Australian film industry based on her extensive research of ''I've seen the ads for Snowtown'' through to the dual family day out at the drag-racing championships, the ensemble excel as they redefine sexting for the older generation and tramp stamps for the upper class, and deliver simply one of the best half-hours of television this year.

Masters of Sex, SBS One, 9.30pm

Masters of Sex feels like the show SBS was built for. In fact, if it just had a little bit of soccer they could put it on repeat. Quality drama? Check. Sex? Check. Quality drama about sex? Check and check. Michael Sheen plays Dr William Masters, who in real life, along with his assistant, Virginia Johnson, pioneered research into orgasms, sexual reproduction and intercourse from a conservative American midwest college in the 1950s. He did the lab experiments (and we see them) to follow Kinsey's interview-based findings. As far as the show is concerned, he is the ''alpha dog of coochie medicine'' and that's the glorious level this show operates on, with fine performances and an intensely important topic, yet the ability to place its tongue in its cheek and quietly mock Masters for being the first doctor to discover women fake orgasms. The story is captivating and the dialogue is beautiful, cutting through any awkward moments with glorious wit or a blunt description. The drama revolves around the contrast between the cutting-edge research and the doctor who sleeps in matching single beds with a wife who prays before sex. Set in a world with a negro ward, an academic board that labels his research ''smut'' and where women are meant to know their place, this is a research experiment for which we should all sign up.



Battleground Brothers, National Geographic, 8.30pm

This documentary series has quickly become one of the most captivating things on TV. Tonight we gain some insight into the difficulties Afghan villagers and US Marines have in dealing with each other in the shadow of the Taliban threat. The Marines, who are now halfway through their two-week search-and-destroy mission in Taliban territory, are determined to enter a walled compound. The gate could be booby-trapped, so they tell the villagers to open it themselves or face having a hole blown in the wall. The villagers refuse, so the wall gets blown. They'll be compensated for the damage but not for the opium that the Marines confiscate - and that confiscation causes much understandable anguish.

The White Queen, SoHo, 8.35pm

As the Wars of the Roses start to heat up again we find the titular queen (Rebecca Ferguson) holed up beneath Westminster Abbey, where she has been forced to take sanctuary and give birth to her son. A sinister, hooded figure appears. Is it a dastardly Lancastrian assassin? No, it's just her hubby, Edward IV (Max Irons), who has snuck in for a quick bonk before the battle. It's about time we saw a battle, too, but when it comes it's a disappointment, filmed in a dreamy style that fails to obscure the unconvincing choreography.



Idiocracy (2006) M,  Masterpiece (pay TV), 10.05pm

Idiocracy's concept is typical of Mike Judge, an offbeat filmmaker (Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Office Space) who sees the world as comically flawed. An everyday US army clerk (Luke Wilson) mistakenly spends 500 years in hibernation and awakens to an America so dumbed down that he is the smartest man in the country. Buildings literally totter, no one can read and energy drinks have replaced water. Every segment of the country is failing, the president is a professional wrestler and the most popular TV show is footage of a man enduring unexpected blows to his testicles. It's a great idea but Judge didn't have the resources to realise his vision of the future and the plot is surprisingly truncated (or the editing was - the film was barely released into cinemas). Deep down, you suspect, despite the endless gags it generated, the idea began to scare him. In his head the comedy became a warning.

The Negotiator, (1998) M Thriller/Crime (pay TV), 8.30pm

In a tensely competent thriller about police corruption, director F. Gary Gray gives his leads Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey little to do beside look wound up and occasionally yell furiously. Jackson is Danny Roman, a police hostage negotiator who is being framed by crooked colleagues and tries to buy time by taking hostages of his own. Spacey's Chris Sabian is the negotiator he demands to deal with, and who becomes his go-between as they try to engineer a reversal of the situation. To be fair, the movie is expertly cast: if you're looking for corrupt cops there's no better selection of ethically challenged white male faces to linger on than David Morse, Ron Rifkin, John Spencer and, especially, the late great J.T. Walsh. But the standoff between Roman and his colleagues doesn't exacerbate the crisis, it shunts it to one side as the procedural elements come to the fore and Gray veers towards action over dialogue.

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