I couldn’t believe it! Headlines in my city’s daily! ‘Essie’s Future a Mystery!’ One of the ABC’s top rating shows set for the chop! Why? Well it seems the hipsters at Auntie have decided that they want to appeal to a younger demographic, for goodness sake! The problem? The obscenity of the median age for an ABC viewer being a truly ancient, decrepit 63 – just a smidge more past it than your humble scribe! And here I was thinking that the baby boomers were a rich source for ratings power considering their largely expanding retiree status meaning more time for watching. We also largely eschew other platforms for viewing that those young, digital savvy groovers Auntie now intends to seduce embrace. For heavens sake ABC – your affectionate appellation says it all. Stick to what you know and do so well! The Ten Network attempted to do what you now deign as necessary and look where that has gotten them! Your about to be abandoned old codgers catapulted you ahead of them, ABC!
My DLP (for this scribbling my Discerning Loving Partner) and my dear mother love ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ – and so they should! It is patently right up their street. The fact that I am not a fan is neither here nor there – it doesn’t mean I don’t recognise it for its virtues – along with such popular staples as ‘New Tricks’, ‘Doc Martin’ and ‘Call the Midwife’. These really pull in the punters, but seemingly the punters that those who ‘know all,’ responsible for programming at our national broadcaster, appear to want to shun – end of rant.
As for my Top Ten of the best television on our small screens this year, it comes with a proviso. There is much on view free to air that, for various reasons, usually associated with interminable ads and looseness with starting times, I prefer to watch when they emerge on DVD. These include such gems as ‘Mad Men’, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘House of Cards’, ‘Offspring’, ‘Homeland’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and ‘Californication’. Those listed below I watch in real time or record to hard-drive. Most of them are shared with DLP, although she tends to be more wide-ranging in her tastes and more tolerant of commercial channels than I. So in reverse order are my choices for 2013:-
10. ‘The Dr Blake Mysteries’ – proving what an under-rated talent Craig McLachlan has been all these years
9. ‘Would I Lie To You’ – the magic combination of Brydon, Mitchell and Mack almost rival Hills, Brough and Warhurst for chemistry – had me in hysterics on many an occasion
8. ‘The Agony of Life’ – such a simple but brilliant premise featuring some of the comeliest women and erudite men on our screens – and bloody funny in places
7. ‘The Time of Our Lives’ – the ABC hasn’t gone completely bonkers as have recommissioned this for 2014. It matches the quality of some of the family dramas on the commercial networks
6. ‘Keating – The Interviews’ – Australia’s last big picture PM can still talk the talk and retains his mongrel
5.’It’s A Date’ – A beautiful confection of some of our country’s most telegenic personalities with the icing of the luscious Poh in her first acting role
4. ‘House Husbands’ – Yes, I know, the storylines are twee, thin and predictable but this show is all heart. Gary Sweet can manage a full range of emotions with just a facial tic, without uttering a word
3.’ Lillehammer’- the ugliest of leading men exudes dangerous charm in this blackest of black comedies
2. ‘Redfern Now’/’Broadchurch’ – the former produced sublime performances from our leading indigenous actors to ace even the high quality of the first series. The latter was simply riveting dragging me away from Friday night footy. They both had to be included and I couldn’t split them
1. Borgen – the new benchmark for political drama world wide, with simply the best leading lady so far this century
HMs – ‘Derek’, ‘Gourmet Farmer’, ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘The Voice’ (guilty pleasure), ‘ ‘The Last Leg‘/‘Adam Hills Tonight’
News Article on the demise of ‘Miss Fisher’ = http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/miss-fishers-murder-mysteries-under-a-cloud-as-abc-tries-to-broaden-audience/story-fnk8579h-1226783914103