Showing all posts tagged: television

Trailer for Class of ’07, by Kacie Anning, with Emily Browning

11 March 2023

A ten year high school reunion goes horribly awry, after a tidal wave transforms the venue into an island, leaving old students of an all-girls school stranded. Will the former school-mates co-operate, or will tensions and rivalries from their school days resurface and overwhelm them?

Emily Browning and Caitlin Stasey, star in the Amazon Prime produced Australian TV series, Class of ’07, trailer, created and directed by Kacie Anning, which goes to air on Friday 17 March 2023.


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Wellmania, a food blogger gets fit fast, a Netflix TV series

5 March 2023

Food blogger Liv Healy (Celeste Barber), takes to Sydney’s Bondi Beach on a fitness bender, to ready herself for a role as a judge on a prestigious American cooking show, in Wellmania, trailer.

The eight part Netflix produced TV series is based on Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness, a novel written by Australian journalist and speech writer Brigid Delaney, who co-wrote the screenplay with Sydney based author and broadcaster Benjamin Law.

Wellmania goes to air on Wednesday 29 March 2023.


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Trailer for The Lying Life of Adults TV series

10 January 2023

The Netflix produced adaptation of Italian author’s Elena Ferrante’s 2019 coming-of-age novel The Lying Life of Adults, about a teenage girl named Giovanna, living in Naples, is now streaming.

Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into her Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves from one to the other in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape.

Somehow the adaptation, based on the trailer at least, is different to how I saw the story when I read it, while a teaser, released in March 2022, only briefly outlined the TV series to follow.

But yeah, so what.


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Stage and TV for Pip Williams The Dictionary of Lost Words

12 November 2022
The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams, book cover

The Dictionary of Lost Words, the debut novel of Adelaide Hills, South Australia, based author Pip Williams, which I happen to be reading at the moment, is to be the subject of not one, but two separate adaptations.

A stage production, directed by Jessica Arthur, a collaboration between the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Sydney Theatre Company, is set to open in September 2023, in Adelaide. The show then moves to Sydney, where it opens in late October 2023.

And then this week Australian television producers Lisa Scott and Rebecca Summerton announced they had acquired the TV rights to the book, and were planning a six to eight part series. At this stage it remains unknown when the show will go to air.

Set with the publishing of the first Oxford Dictionary as a backdrop, The Dictionary of Lost Words, published in March 2020 by Affirm Press, recounts the story of Esme, the daughter of one of the lexicographers working on production of the dictionary:

Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.


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Blockbuster a comedy about the last Blockbuster video shop in America

31 October 2022

I miss afternoons spent whiling away more time than I should have, perusing the aisles of the long closed local video hire shop. Somewhere among the cram packed shelves there was bound to be a title I wanted to see, but had missed at the movies. Time consuming the process may have been, but it was somehow cathartic, transcendental even.

Despite a barrage of closures over the last decade, near to five-hundred video hire shops remain open in Australia. Some even experienced a shortlived uptick in business during the COVID enforced lockdowns, as people searched for ways to amuse themselves while housebound.

Those looking to relive the old days of the video hire shop might then enjoy the aptly name TV show Blockbuster, trailer, a Netflix produced comedy set in the last Blockbuster shop in America. Timmy Yoon, the hapless store owner, is not only hopeful of keeping the business afloat, but also, it seems, catching the eye of his favourite employee, Eliza.

Timmy Yoon is an analog dreamer living in a 5G world. And after learning he is operating the last Blockbuster Video in America, Timmy and his staff employees (including his long time crush, Eliza) fight to stay relevant. The only way to succeed is to remind their community that they provide something big corporations can’t: human connection.


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Heartbreak High 2022 a top ten TV show across the world

30 September 2022

The 2022 reboot of Australian high-school drama show Heartbreak High has not only been one of the most watched TV shows in Australia recently, it was also among the top-ten viewed Netflix programs in over forty countries across the world.

Featured in the top 10 most watched shows in 43 countries around the world on Netflix, in every corner of the globe from the US and Europe, to Africa, Asia and, Australia, where it’s been sitting pretty in the top 10 since its release on service on September 14.



Heartbreak High 2022 picks up where original series left off

17 September 2022

Iconic Australian high-school television drama Heartbreak High, which screened during the nineties, has been rebooted for a new generation. No holds barred might be one way to describe the original series, which didn’t hesitate to confront viewers, as Kylie Northover, of The Age, writes:

A spin-off of the 1993 film The Heartbreak Kid (itself a spin-off from a play of the same name), the series depicted an inner-city Sydney high school, Hartley High, that looked like the real multicultural world, and dealt with taboo topics such as racism, drugs, sexuality, domestic abuse and even teacher-student affairs.

If the trailer for Heartbreak High 2022 is anything to go by, then it looks like producers Netflix intend to continue where the original series left off.

Fun fact: a former colleague of mine appeared in one episode of the original series.


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Belated birthday greetings to George Jetson born 31 July 2022

1 August 2022

I’ve seen a few episodes of The Jetsons, a futuristic carton show that first aired in the 1960s, but had forgotten, or maybe not even known, the setting was 2062. The twenty-fifth century somehow felt more like it. After all, a flying car that compacts down to the size of a briefcase when not in use? Come on, we’ll need a few hundred years to make that a reality.

But according to intenet pundits, George Jetson, husband to Jane, and father of Judy and Elroy, was born in 2022. Some have suggested 31 July as his actual birthday, though series creators have yet to confirm or deny that is the case.


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Chloe, a TV series by Alice Seabright

4 June 2022

Chloe, trailer, is a TV series for our stalk-book, socials, obsessed times, from British writer and director Alice Seabright. Twenty-something Becky (Erin Doherty), lives at home with her mother. When not working as a temp, she closely follows the lives of glamorous and beautiful, and develops a fascination in particular with the life of a young woman named Chloe. When tragedy strikes though, Becky feels the needs to learn more about the woman she has become infatuated with.

When Chloe dies suddenly, Becky’s need to find out how and why leads her to assume a new identity and engineer a “chance” meeting with Chloe’s best friend, Livia (Bennett-Warner), and infiltrate Chloe’s group of close-knit friends. Through her alter-ego Sasha, Becky becomes a powerful, transgressive heroine; a popular, well-connected “someone” with a life, and loves, that are far more exciting and addictive than the “no one” she is as Becky. However, the pretence soon obscures and conflates reality, and Becky risks losing herself completely in the game she is playing.

Chloe debuts on Friday 24 June 2022, but you can follow — if you’re game — Chloe’s Instagram page in the meantime.


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Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan return for Neighbours finale

11 May 2022

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan will reprise their roles of Charlene and Scott in the final episodes of long running Australian soap opera Neighbours, which are expected to air sometime in September.

You have no excuse not to tune in now…


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Australian soap opera Neighbours coming to an end

4 March 2022

After months of speculation, it’s official, long running Australian television soap opera, Neighbours, is coming to an end after thirty-seven years. The call was made after the soap’s production company Fremantle, were unable to find another broadcaster in the United Kingdom to screen the show.

Ironically the only time I ever saw Neighbours was when I lived in the United Kingdom for a few years. There was a curious — to me at least — ritual at one of the places I worked at, where many of the staff would take their lunch breaks a little later than usual so they could watch Neighbours. My colleagues would assemble in a meeting room and look at the afternoon screening on the wall mounted TV, while engaging in animated banter about what was happening.

I’m a little surprised the producers struggled to find British support for the show though. Neighbours, and its Sydney based counterpart Home and Away, were, at the time, broadcast twice daily, in the early afternoon, and then a few hours later in the early evening. If that’s not a gauge of the popularity of a TV show, what is?

The final episodes will be filmed in June this year, according to reports.



Gilligan’s Island conspiracy theory alternative synopsis

18 April 2008

The story about a seemingly random group of people setting off together on a three-hour cruise somewhere around the Hawaiian Islands, has, if you’ll excuse the pun, never held much water.

It’s quite clear some people expected the “cruise” to last a little longer than three hours.

First there’s Ginger, the movie star, who was carrying more luggage than any sane person would take on a three-year voyage.

Then there’s Mr Howell, the millionaire, and his brief case stuffed with “thousand dollar bills”. And what about the professor and his stash of scientific paraphernalia?

What possible utility could any of this have had during what was meant to be a three-hour cruise?

Gilligan’s Island fan Adam-Troy Castro has written an interesting dissection of the (still) popular TV show, and he may have unearthed the actual purpose of the “three-hour cruise”.

Mr Howell, rather than Gilligan, was in fact the pivotal player here.

One of the glaring questions that’s bothered us for a quarter of a century is: Since the snobbish Howell can presumably afford to buy his own yachts, why would he be interested in a “three-hour tour” aboard a dinky little charter vessel owned by two ex-navy men? And why would he take along a briefcase filled with thousand dollar bills, when one of the perks associated with great wealth is unlimited credit?

To be shipwrecked on an (apparently) unchartered and unknown island, means the Minnow, the cruise boat, had to be a long way from the main group of Hawaiian Islands, so what had they gone out to look at in the first place?

Certainly not the local reefs, since there’s no scuba equipment aboard. And certainly not the local shoreline, since when the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was not only unable to make it to port, but was blown outside Hawaiian territory. It must have been an unusual distance from shore to begin with. And still, no normal tourist site, let alone one miles from shore, can possibly explain the amount of money Howell brought with him.

It’s obvious something incredibly below board was planned, and cash stashes and superfluous scientific equipment, don’t really leave too much to the imagination.

Howell chartered the Minnow to make a multi-million-dollar drug buy. He’d paid off Gilligan, and the Skipper too. He’d brought along the necessary cash. He even brought along an extensive wardrobe, just in case the coast guard showed up and he had to leave U.S. territory in a hurry. And just to make sure he wasn’t ripped off, he brought along an expert to evaluate the merchandise he was getting.

So who was in cahoots with who though? Apart from Mary Anne, it seems everyone else was in on the drug buy.

Mary Anne appeared to be a bona fide tourist intent on some sightseeing, and the “gang” felt that not allowing her to board the Minnow, which to all intents and purposes was a tour vessel, would have looked suspicious.

Mary Anne, a Kansas farm girl … had won a Hawaiian vacation in a contest. Howell and his cronies must have let her on board because failing to do so would have raised undue suspicion among harbor authorities; they probably intended to dump her body at sea.

In a twist to proceedings however, Mary Anne was not exactly who she appeared to be either…

Vacations given away in contests are always for two people, not one! And Mary Anne, who claimed to have a fiance back home, had no real reason to be travelling alone. Therefore, she must have been maintaining a false identity as well – and since everybody else on the Minnow was frantically putting on a show for her benefit, she must have been putting on a show for theirs. The conclusion is inescapable. Mary Anne was a Fed.

The producers of Gilligan’s Island didn’t follow through with the planned fourth series, thus leaving the story… unresolved. Therefore the alternative synopsis advanced by Mr Castro may be quite plausible.

Originally published Friday 18 April 2008.



Five Questions: Duncan Macleod, TV advert blogger

10 September 2007

Five Questions is where I talk to bloggers about their projects and some of the other things they are doing. I ask {Q}uestions, and hopefully get some {A}nswers.

TV ads: are they a necessary evil, an outright distraction, or do they make for useful intermission breaks? Not all TV ads are forgettable though, and some are almost an art form says Duncan Macleod who reviews TV ads for his blog TV Ad Land.

{Q} What prompted you to become a TV ad reviewer of all things?!

{A} I started Duncan’s TV Ad Land back in 2003 in response to requests at conferences for copies of TV ads I’d been using as illustrations. I was aware that passing around digital copies of the ads could be breaking copyright law and so undertook to show people where to find the ads on the internet for themselves.

I was already working on a blog focusing on my research on generational change and thought it might be an interesting side line. What started out as an occasional post on Blogger has turned into a domain name with five blogs, read by approximately 5000 people each day.

{Q} How much time a week would you spend doing research, and watching TV, for the blog?

{A} I do my research and writing for TV Ad Land in the evenings and the weekends. Ironically I don’t get to sit down and watch TV much — it’s going on in the background.

Most of my information comes from press releases, emails and other web sites. All up, counting the posts I write on TV ads, print ads, music videos, popular culture and faith, I spend between 10 and 20 hours a week blogging.

I maintain a few blogs in my work with the Uniting Church during work hours.

{Q} In your opinion what makes for an effective TV ad?

{A} I’m interested in the ads that tell a story, providing plot and characters, like the Ikea Tidy Up series. Even better are the campaigns that show some kind of character development, like the Geico Cavemen series that morphed into a television series.

And then there’s humour — the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously — like the Big Ad from Carlton Draught. Just like at the movies, music makes all the difference to the way we engage with the ad.

The recent Tooheys HarvesTed ad, in which a guy grows clones from his hair, puzzled a lot of people. But people were drawn back to the ad time and time again by the Yama Yama track.

{Q} What sort of things do you think ad makers should avoid doing when producing commercials?

{A} Effective creative teams have to work out how much information is required in the thirty seconds. Is the ad about developing interest, curiosity, loyalty, pride or love? Or is it about giving people facts and figures that they must remember?

There’s been a bit of debate over this question in relation to a recent ad for the Honda CRV in which a guy constantly changes clothes as he walks through a Sydney street. More and more we’re seeing TV ads that attract viewers to online sites that can provide the details required.

Another tension faced by advertising teams relates to irreverence. The Nandos Fix Patch and Gum ads struggled to win wide support when they showed a working mum using the fictitious nandos-fix patch and gum in a strip club before taking her family to Nandos.

The ads are funny, but have left a bad taste in the mouths of many parents I’ve spoken to. Very few people get the joke.

{Q} So are TV ads underrated creative genius, or merely a distraction TV viewers must tolerate?

{A} Some TV ads are appalling and deserve to be muted. They’re loud, hard sell and unimaginative. But we’re seeing the growth of the television commercial as an art form, a short form of the short film.

The only problem for the people behind the scenes is that they go uncredited. In most cases we’re not sure who the actors are.

As I research for Duncan’s TV Ad Land I try to tell the story of the people behind the scenes: creative directors, art directors, copywriters, film directors, producers, editors, directors of photography, visual and special effects teams, colourists, sound designers, composers and of course the actors.

Many of these people are involved in long form film work. The director of the movie Halo, (coming out in 2009) is Neill Blomkamp, known mostly for his TV ads for Nike (Evolution and Crab), Citroen Transformer, Gatorade Rain and Adidas Adicolor Yellow.

My challenge now is how to connect the popular culture angle back into my original work on generational values and spirituality.

When I talk to groups about Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y I find the TV ads, print advertisements and music video are great illustrations, texts for discussion. The Virgin Blue Get What You Want in Todd’s Life provides a way to talk about the dominant culture of choice, change and variety.

My brief with the Uniting Church in Australia has included helping people explore what faith might mean in an environment driven by consumerism. Do we ignore the lessons of the advertising world and settle for poor marketing? I suggest not.

But at the same time it’s important not to be sucked into the danger of continually presenting faith as a product that can be bought now and discarded later.

Thanks Duncan!

Originally published Monday 10 September 2007.


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