Andrew Mercado’s TV Guide: Incest, India and idiots

TV critic Andrew Mercado’s rundown on what to watch on the box this week

The Principal c Tony Mott

Cleopatra – Sunday 8.30pm on SBS

As Seven and Nine go head to head with their duelling current affairs shows, while ABC sometimes beats them both with British crime dramas like Midsomer Murders and Vera, SBS could be worth checking out this weekend with a new documentary on the infamous Egyptian ruler. Expect more murder, poison, politics and incest than the sanitised Elizabeth Taylor movie which nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox back in the mid-1960s.

Anita Cobby: You Thought You Knew It All – Sunday 9.30pm on Seven

Real life crime is really rating on TV right now, and that’s why all the commercial current affairs programs are making similar shows and seeking out grisly fare (although some are questioning A Current Affair airing such content at 7pm). This excellent “Seven News Investigates” special from last year, made for the 30th anniversary of the Anita Cobby‘s murder, is at a much later timeslot but, although a repeat, it still makes for disturbing bedtime viewing.

The Indian Dream Hotel on Tour: Japan – Tuesday 8.30pm on ABC

OK, this is very confusing. After the success of movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2011, there was a movie sequel (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and then a TV spinoff The Real Marigold Hotel with, among others, actress Miriam Margolyes who has recently been living part-time in Australia while making ABC dramas like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Rake. But Margolyes has also headed abroad for a second series of her Indian reality TV series which was re-named The Indian Dream Hotel here in Australia. And with the gang now off to Japan, this kicks off its TV run on ABC, while the first episode, set in Florida, is available to watch only on iview – I think. Seriously, after figuring this all out, I might need a holiday too. And P.S. – how about a local version with some not-recently-seen but never-forgotten older Aussie celebs? How about Rowena Wallace, Baby John Burgess, Colleen Hewitt and Ugly Dave Gray?

The Principal – Thursday 9.30pm on SBS

A rather timely repeat of this great Australian drama after recent events at Punchbowl High School in Sydney saw the headmaster being sacked after refusing to implement anti-radicalisation programs. In this spookily similar TV version, Alex Dimitriades is superb in the lead role, deservedly winning the Most Outstanding Actor award at the TV Week Logies. It’s just four episodes and is definitely worth revisiting for another series, should SBS ever get some more money for drama. And Dimitriades continues to put in amazing work and is a standout in the first episode of ABC’s upcoming Seven Types of Ambiguity.

Idiotsitter – Friday 8.30pm on Comedy Channel

Another US sitcom that started life as a web series before scoring a 10-episode run on Comedy Central. It’s about Billie (Charlotte Newhouse), who applies to be a nanny only to discover she is in charge of Gene (Jillian Bell), who is an adult under house arrest. A second series, to be set at a university campus, has been commissioned.

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