Andrew Mercado’s TV Guide: ‘Australia’s most disturbing movie’ remade

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

Wake In Fright

TV critic Andrew Mercado‘s rundown on what to watch on the box next week:

Wake In Fright – 8.30pm Sunday on Ten

When Ten beautifully remade Puberty Blues, it stuck very closely to the original novel and movie, but expanded the story by making the supporting characters more compelling. Now it has raised the stakes by tackling the most disturbing and visceral Australian movie ever made – but sadly, there is not one change or new addition that improves what was perfect to begin with.

If you haven’t seen the original, Part One is good but Part Two really pushes the friendship as the saga mixes up the original timeline and descends into silliness. The first was disturbing because the horror lurked just below the surface, but there is no subtlety here with every character leering and chucking sideway glances. It’s so over the top some newbies may start wondering if vampires or cannibals are about to reveal themselves. Perhaps that is the point, to help sell it overseas to those expecting a Wolf Creek vibe, but it’s disappointing to see always great actors like Sean Keenan, David Wenham and Alex Dimitriades working their guts out for something that ends up so pointless.

A Place To Call Home – 8.30pm Sunday on showcase

It’s good to see Seven, which makes this show for Foxtel, promote its in-house saga with a one-hour plug at 3pm on its main channel. Fans will lap it up, and enjoy the the fifth season premiere where the action has moved forward four years to 1958, mostly to keep its vicious villainess on the canvas. And why not?

Last seen being dragged away in a straitjacket, the locked-up Regina (Jenni Baird) now insists she has just had a “breakthrough” which has left her with “no more hate in her heart”. Yeah right. No doubt, someone from the fractured Bligh family will be distracted enough to believe her, especially with a new Jewish runaway (Madeleine Clunies-Ross), an artistic Aboriginal Digger (Aaron Pedersen), and Elizabeth’s new husband (Robert Coleby) hacking up blood.

The time jump also means that Sarah and George’s baby is now a cute (but verging on pretentious) “little man” and his dashing Uncle James is absent (no doubt because actor David Berry was overseas doing Outlander) but his surgeon boyfriend (Tim Draxl) is living in the family mansion Ash Park. Here’s to Regina returning soon to stir things up, and maybe she might rope in a few bodgies and widgies to help out with her dastardly deeds.

The Durrells – 7.30pm Thursday on 7TWO

When this premiered last year on Seven, one online headline screamed that the network was “taking a punt” that it could “recreate Downton Abbey’s huge success”. Given series two has now been downgraded to a digital channel, one must assume this was not the case. Like last time, there are just six episodes of this British dramedy set on a Greek island, but if that downward (not Downton) trend continues, expect to see the upcoming third series next year on 7flix.

Mr Robot – 8.30pm on showcase/Three Girls – 8.30pm on BBC First

Looks like Foxtel is fast-tracking the third series of US hacker thriller Mr Robot starring Christian Slater and Rami Malek (who will soon play Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody). Meanwhile, Three Girls is a grim new three-part BBC drama about grooming underage girls starring Maxine Peake and Lesley Sharp. After The Moorside, I just can’t do another council estate tragedy but keep calm and carry on, because Series 2 of Doctor Foster is coming to this timeslot for Halloween night.

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