Category Archives: Channel 10

Review: Empire ‘Pilot’

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Mixing the age old tale of King Lear, the mid 80’s soapie Dynasty and the modern world of r&b/hip hop music and drug money, Empire (Channel 10, Sunday 9pm) offers up a pilot episode that enters the ‘too good to be true’ category of first run shows because you know what…..it’s good!

I will admit, I was somewhat hesitant going into Empire as my scorecard of being entertained by shows with a musical back-tone (Smash/Glee) currently sits at a big Z E R O, but, Empire has notched up my first tick on my card.

This first episode, our first foray into the world of Lucious Lyon (Oscar nominee Terrance Howard) and his world engulfed in Empire Records, is glitzy, shiny, tough, fast-paced and it’s packed full with a lot of dialogue and back story that, if in the hands of anyone else besides Lee Daniels (The Butler) could have gone horribly wrong.

The setup has Lucious Lyon is at the top of his game.  His Empire Records…empire…has provided him with power (he’s on first name basis with Obama), money, and a lavish lifestyle we imagine someone like P.Diddy to be living in.  He’s looking to take Empire Records to the next level but he’s also holding onto a secret – he’s just been diagnosed with ALS – for which there is no cure, and sets out to find the rightful heir to his kingdom.

The problem here is that in Lucious’s eyes, none of his three children are the perfect fit to take the job.  Andre (Trai Byers), the eldest, is the well educated, business minded one but has zero musical talent – Lyon believes the next in line should be a musician – which brings us to Jamal (Jussie Smollett) who is filled to the brim with musical talent – but he’s gay, a topic that Lucious has never been able to accept (there’s a powerful flashback scene in which Lucious, so enraged by Jamal’s effeminate nature, literally throws him into the garbage can) so that leaves youngest Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) but he’s brash, uncontrollable and completely obliterated by the dollar bills readily available to him (remember Chris Lilley’s S’Mouse creation? – #NailedIt).

This struggle for Lucious to find an heir is put into turmoil by the untimely release of his ex wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) who has spent the last 17 years in prison for a crime that provided the initial seed money to create Empire Records, and she’s looking for her share of the dosh.

As I said, there’s a lot stuffed into the first episode, but what helps keep things on track is it’s leads in Howard and Henson.  Howard’s approach to Lyon – you want to feel for him…his life’s work building this musical kingdom is about to come crashing down, but his approach to his children (he treats, respects and raises each one completely differently) and ex Cookie just doesn’t sit right, but he’s sick and dying…it’s a constant struggle between the love/hate and love to hate you’ll have for him.  Henson on the other hand, complete standout.

With Cookie Lyon, there’s no bars held here.  She works the weave, the furs, the fake nails, the leopard print and her biting words “I want to show you a faggot can really run this company“.  Seriously, said by anyone else, this would have been an ultimate disaster for any show, but Henson, as Cookie Lyon, manages to walk away from this remark with viewers clapping their hands.  There is truly no one like Cookie on television and hands down, Hanson is probably the best thing on Empire.

I’ve managed to glimpse at the first 5 episodes of Empire and the show holds it’s own after it’s impressive first hit and i’m excited to see more.  Lee Daniels set out to create his “black Dynasty” and that he sure has.  Murder, lies, back-stabbing, secrets, illness, sex….it’s all there and it’s highly seducing.  Even the music (which obviously plays a big part in Empire) could have felt a little bit too Glee, but with uber producer Timberland taking the helm, it all seems to fit in nice and snug and brings the entire production together.

Empire should be on your watch list this coming Sunday night.  Mark it down!  Sunday, March 1st, 9pm on Channel 10.

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#MKR #TheBlock #ImACelebAU : What Are You Watching Tonight?

MKR begins tonight on 7
MKR begins tonight on 7

It’s going to be a battle royale tonight with reality juggernauts My Kitchen Rules, The Block Triple Threat and I’m a Celebrity Australia all invading our televisions tonight and all starting at the same time, leaving me wondering just which program is going to fall into the cancelled bin.

I finished watching the first episode of I’m a Celeb last night (on delay as a roast lamb dinner at the parents place was in order) and quickly brought up the digital TV guide for tonight only to sit there blank faced.  Shit.  MKR, The Block and I’m a Celeb are all scheduled for the same start time – 7:30pm.  It’s a tough call.  Which do I watch live and which do I record to watch after?

It can only be two programs considering the current running time for each show is a minimum 2 hours (it’s actually 1.5 hours but we all know now how this really works) and it’ll be almost 11pm by the time we’d have finished watching two programs leaving me to wonder, just which show is going to….well….die?

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The Block Triple Threat

MKR has a strong fan base and even though over the past few seasons we’ve seen the cooking show move away from the food to the contestants, the show is still a massive draw-card for Channel 7’s weeknight prime time line-up.

The Block Triple Threat, well, 9 were smart getting in early before the other two but fell victim to 7’s Australian Open coverage.  Even with the less than stellar ratings, we’ve all invested a week with the show already, seen one couple booted with another to go this week.

I’m a Celeb…kudos to Network 10 for the build-up and advertising leading up-to it’s premiere last night.  1.19 million viewers smashed The Block’s opener but will the premise of ‘celebs’ stranded in the South African jungle enough to lure viewers away from such strongholds as MKR and The Block?

So what am I doing?  Easy call in fact.  Tape The Block and watch MKR live.  It’s what I’ve always done and will continue to do leaving behind our celebs in the jungle.  To be fair, it’s not the show’s fault…it’s simple enough to watch (just like the other two) and quite enjoyable but Ten’s decision to push it up against two of the biggest reality shows in Australia…Ten’s got big balls that may be about to be deflated.

What will be your viewing schedule for tonight?  Sound off in the comments below!

Just Who Is Going Into The Jungle? I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

Hosts Chris Brown and Julia Morris.  Source: Network 10
Hosts Chris Brown and Julia Morris. Source: Network 10

Network Ten sure are keeping very mum on just who exactly will be popping up in their up-coming celebrity-reality series I’m a Celebrity..Get Me Out of Here, and they’re doing it for very good reasons.

ITV Australia chief Anita Jacoby revealed that those ‘celebrities’ who have signed up for the gig don’t actually know who else has signed on.  “They find out who they are going to be joining on that first night.  They genuinely don’t know. That is part of the magic of the show, they have got no inkling whatsoever.”

While making sure not to reveal too much, Ten have been kind enough to give us some clues as to who we may see…

So names ranging from Sophie Monk to Shane Warne, Bert Newton and comedian Joel Creasy have been floating around, but true to Ten’s word, no one will actually find out until premiere night.  That said though, one name in particular that has been thrown about is standing out more than others.  Melissa-Joan Hart, she of Sabrina The Teenage Witch (which I adored) and now of ABC Family comedy Melissa and Joey recently followed a select few local twitter accounts including that belonging to the show itself.

Could Mel-J be slumming it out in the jungle with Shane Warne?  Will Brynne Edelsten pop up in a safari hat and matching outfit?  Guess only time will tell!

In the meantime…for those wanting to know what they might expect with the show, check out some clips from the UK version below..


Hosted by Julia Morris and Chris Brown, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here begins early February, five nights a week, live from South Africa on Network Ten. We the viewers will decide “who eats, who plays and who stays.”

Coming to Network Ten in 2015; CSi Cyber, Shark Tank and More

Patricia Arquette Heads the new CSI: Cyber
Patricia Arquette Heads the new CSI: Cyber

A CSI spin-off, A television show about people watching television and celebrities stranded on an island…these are just some of the new shows Network Ten have announced to start in 2015.

CSI: Cyber: A spin-off from the massive CSI Juggernaut (the 4th spin-off to date) see’s Special Agent Avery Ryan (Patricia Arquette) head the cyber crime division alongside Senior Special Agent Elijah Mundo (James Van Der Beek)  Aruquette’s Ryan appeared in an season 14 episode of CSI that worked as a back-door pilot to this new spin-off.

I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here: It’s survivor meets Dancing with the Stars in this Aussie version of the massive UK reality hit that will see 10 well known Australian faces head to the South African jungle to compete in challenges with hopes of raising dollars for their chosen charity.  No names as yet though comedienne Julia Morris and Bondi Vet Dr. Chris Brown have been announced as hosts.

Goggle Box: In a nut shell, Goggle Box is a show about people watching television though it’s being pushed as a weekly observational series which captures the reactions of ordinary Australians as they watch the nightly news, argue over politics, cheer their favorite sporting teams and digest current affairs and documentaries.  Based on the UK show of the same name.

The Odd Couple:  Friends’ star Matthew Perry’s return to series TV in a remake of the classic comedy of the same name which sees Perry as Oscar Madison play opposite Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger. The former college buddies end up living together after the collapse of both their marriages.  Parenthood’s Lauren Graham has also just been announced to join the show as Oscars ex-wife Gaby.

Shark Tank: Remember Dragon’s Den?  That Aussie show from 2006 based off the UK show in which inventors pitched their products to a panel of wealthy investors only to find the offers involved them losing 50% of their business?  There was also a US version of the show called Shark Tank.  It’s exactly the same as the UK version….and now our version of the same name as the US version.

The Bachelorette Australia: We all know what this one is right?  It seems there’s more interest in who will be the first bachelorette than the show itself after the disaster that was this years The Bachelor.  Ten are yet to announce a name though former bachelorette’s Laurina ‘dirty street pie’ Fleure, Chantal Hryniewski and Zoe O’Brien have been thrown around while winner (and eventual loser) Sam Frost (who was considered to be the front runner) it seems is no longer in contention after her ‘post-show antics’.

Anything here take your fancy?  Being a Patty Arquette fan, I’ll give Cyber a shot plus anything with James Van Der Beek is worth a watch!

Homeland S04xE10 ’13 Hours in Islamabad’ Explosive Episode

Mark Moses as Denis Boyd
Mark Moses as Denis Boyd

Dana Brody, it’s time to take off your crown as Homeland’s most hated character and give it to the sniveling and meek and rage inspiring Dennis Boyd. Thanks to Dennis’s fine work stealing secrets and trading information with I.S.I double agent Tasneem (Nimrat Kaur), Homeland’s ninth episode of series four left us all wondering who survived the R.P.G attack on the convoy bringing Saul back to the C.I.A headquarters.

Carrie (Claire Danes), Redmond (Michael O’Keefe) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) were all in the convoy attacked by the blasts while Quinn (Rupert Friend), Ambassador Martha Boyd (Laila Robins) and secret trading husband Denis were all inside the C.I.A – which had just been breached by Haqqini (Numan Acar) and his men….All thanks to Denis.

So, are Carrie, Saul and Redmond alive?  Did they survive the attack?  The New York Daily News published some photos from the filming showing a bloodied Carrie and Saul surrounded by bomb damaged black vans.

In both pictures (published Nov 3rd) Carrie and Saul are wounded though there is no sign of Redmond who was travelling with the two at the time of the attack.

The official synopsis for the episode: “The security breach at the Embassy has far reaching consequences.”

Homeland continues Sunday December 7th on Showtime (USA) and Monday Dec 8th on Network 10 (AUS)

What’s Really the Message in Reality TV?

The Block Glasshouse Michael and Carlene remained scandal free.  Source: Provided
The Block Glasshouse Michael and Carlene remained scandal free. Source: Provided

Does reality television have a message for it’s viewers?  Is it “Be rewarded for your hard efforts” or “true talent will see you reach the top”?  What about something less positive like “lie, cheat, bitch and moan your way through your journey”.  With the recent dramas surrounding The Bachelor, The Block Glasshouse and Big Brother, that last message seems to ring more true.

It’s funny to think that just over 20 years ago, we got our first taste of reality television in the form of the classic Sylvania Waters.  It was touted as a ‘fly-on-the-wall look into the lives of Noeline Brown and her partner Laurie Donaher, their family and their lavish lifestyle in the Sydney suburb of Sylvania Waters.

The 12-part program was one of the first for Australian television and became one of the most talked about programs in the early 90’s.  It had its lovers and it had it’s haters, but either way, the show was an early indication of just how

Now jump forward 20-odd years where the genre that was considered taboo all those years ago has now become a staple on our screens. Everyday people (and sometimes celebrities) are starving themselves in isolate locations trying to avoid being voted off an island, they’re cooking for strangers, they’re living with strangers being filmed 24 hours a day, they’re dancing or singing or performing magic in-front of large audiences, they’re re-building and designing multi-million dollar apartments, they’re competing against strangers to win the heart of a person they don’t know…it seems there’s not much that hasn’t been covered by the genre – heck, there’s even people meeting and going on a date for the first time completely in the nude!

But it seems, especially of late, these programs that are saturating our networks are becoming more and more surrounded by scandals and outrageous antics both from those working behind the scenes and the contestants involved leaving one to wonder – just how positive is the message that reality television is trying to push?

Chris the 'EPA Inspector' on The Block Glasshouse
Chris the ‘EPA Inspector’ on The Block Glasshouse

One of the biggest on-going stories is from Network Ten’s The Bachelor, which ended two weeks ago is still getting people talking with ousted girls and the Bachelor himself (and Australia’s most despised man of the moment) Blake Garvey, offering up exclusive tell-all’s that don’t really seem to tell all…at all. Surely Network Ten must be loving the publicity for the show coming off the shock of Garvey ending his engagement to winner Sam Frost just weeks after proposing, but now, has the circus that has erupted after the finale tarnished just what the show was actually about?

For instance, season one’s bachelor Tim Robards walked away with a long-term relationship in his final pick of Anna.  It was a happy ending that also cemented the message behind the show.  Sure, most people really only tuned in to see a bunch of super spray tanned girls bitch and bicker about each other while trying to ‘win’ the heart of a man but now even that has been out-shone by Garvey and his post-show antics.

Big Brother contestants Cat and Lawson have lie-down kisses. Source: Provided

This current season of Big Brother is also skirting controversy, from housemate Gemma’s brutal evicition to last years winner, Tim Dormer re-entering the house to housemates Cat and Lawson starting a relationship all-the-while Lawson’s girlfriend Candice sits on and watches.  While Big Brother and controversy have never been to far apart from each other, this season seems to have more people questioning the antics of the housemates and those behind the scenes – who some feel, may be pushing for certain actions to occur.

Even The Block has come under scrutiny for falsifying events regarding a visit from the EPA to inspect a 12,000 litre fuel tank discovered buried under the site (which was heavily played up by the show) There was a fuel tank, it was a big mother of one, but no one from the EPA was ever actually there to inspect it.   The finale of the show also brought some murmurs of unhappy viewers when three of the five couples failed to make a decent amount of coin from their auctions – and while producers and contestants have little control over the final auction outcome, it was hardly a glowing reference for wannabe contestants on future series.

In the end, we are now at a point where we’ve come to expect schlock and drama from reality television as a way to hopefully boost fledgling ratings but is it worth it at the expense of respect and decency?  Here’s hoping shows like My Kitchen Rules’ drama and scandal stays around someone using store bought pastry for a desert dish!

Premiere Date: Madam Secretary and Scorpion

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The Tea’ Leoni political drama Madam Secretary has been given an October 2nd premiere date on channel 10.  The drama sees Leoni as ex-CIA operative and college professor Elizabeth McCord, unexpectedly thrust into the position of Secretary of State, who must drive international diplomacy and wrangle office politics, all while balancing a complex family life.

Channel 10 are still the only FTA network offering up new programs from the up-coming US fall season premiere with Scorpion and Madam Secretary confirmed along with the new NCIS spin-off: NCIS New Orleans.

 Check out the trailer below:

Scorpion premieres Sunday, Sept 28th at 6:30pm

Madam Secretary premieres Thursday, October 2nd at 9pm

Gillian Anderson’s Crisis Comes to ONE on Wednesdays

Crisis stars Rachel Taylor and Gillian Anderson.  Source: Provided
Crisis stars Rachel Taylor and Gillian Anderson. Source: Provided

The Gillian Anderson/Rachel Taylor led political drama Crisis, has been given an Australian premiere date and channel move with Network Ten opting to air the drama on it’s digital channel ONE right after the Commonwealth Games has finished.

Crisis, set in Washington D.C, follows the students at Ballard High School which educates the children of the powerful – International diplomats, Elite CEOs and even the President’s son but disaster strikes when, on a field trip, the bus, teachers and children are taken hostage leaving the powerful and influential at the mercy of the kidnappers.

Like most, I’m a sucker for a great plot twist and Crisis offers up quite a few in the first episode – don’t worry, no spoilers here – and add that with a barreling pace and a cast full of familiar faces (Aussie darling Rachel Taylor, Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney – to name a few) and the handful of episodes available for preview to me, were enough to keep me somewhat intrigued to see more.

While Crisis’ take on the kidnapping/political genre is fresh, the ample amount of plot twists and and story pace seemed to negate any form of character development and character credibility that I found Crisis falling into the same trap that swallowed up similar shows such as Hostages – you find yourself at a point not being able to remember names, traits or even really care about them.  This could be why Crisis was pulled off air only half way through it’s premier season in America.

When it comes to the cast, while i’m still a fanboy from her X-Files days, as a corporate CEO negotiating a family crisis, Anderson’s ability to flawlessly elevate every single scene she’s in is still as strong as her days spent at Agent Dana Scully chasing little green men.  This doesn’t bode well for Rachel Taylor (playing an FBI Agent on the case to find the missing children) who is easily out-acted by the many scenes she shares with Anderson.

Who kidnapped these children?  What do they want with them? Will anyone die?  Catch the premiere episode of Crisis starting Wednesday, August 6th, 8:30pm on ONE.

First Look: Homeland Season 4 Trailer

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Carrie (Claire Danes) is minus the baby bump when Showtimes Homeland resumes in October. Source: Provided

 Showtime has just dropped the the first look trailer for Homeland’s eagerly awaited fourth season and judging by the promo, it looks like things are starting to get back to the Homeland we knew and loved.

Well sort of.

Let’s not forget now that shocking season three finale which saw Brody (Damian Lewis) hanged while Carrie (Claire Danes) looked on in horror, unable to save the man she loves, so obviously, there’ll be no Brody this time round!

 Check out the trailer below.

As you can see, Carrie is back at work with the CIA but you’re also probably wondering about her being pregnant and all right?

Showrunner Alex Gansa revealed to Entertainment Weekly recently that Season 4 picks up six months after we left off. Carrie has had the baby, but they’d “rather not give away where the kid is, but … one of the reasons [Carrie has] found herself in Afghanistan and Pakistan is it’s a place where you’re disallowed from bringing a dependent.”

One can only assume Carrie’s sister may have taken to looking after the baby while Carrie is off in Afghanistan doing what she does best.

Are you excited about Homeland’s return?  Will it be the same without Brody and his relationship with Carrie?  Sound off in the comments below!

Homeland Season 4 premieres October 5 on Showtime with Channel 10 expected to fast-track shortly thereafter!

Review: Extant Pilot Episode

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Halle Berry as Molly Watts in Extant. Source: Provided

After watching the pilot for Halle Berry’s new Extant, there’s no denying that Sci-fi stalwart Steven Spielberg (Extant’s executive producer) has happily put his fingerprints all over this intriguing project.  With hits like Close Encounters of the Third Kind to A.I: Artificial Intelligence, Spielberg has created a neat little niche that when done right, is done really right.  

Berry is back on our screens for this first time since 1991 (she was in the Dallas spin-off Knots Landing) playing astronaut Molly Watts who, after returning from a 13 month solo space mission, discovers she’s pregnant.  A case of immaculate conception or something more paranormal? This piece of surprising news for Molly pushes us right back to her solo space mission where we see clues littered about that may or may not offer up some answers.

As noted earlier, Spielberg has his fingers all over this project and themes of robotic children assimilating into society (just like A.I) are explored, namely with Molly and her husband John (ER’s Goran Visnjic) who, unable to conceive naturally, have their very own mechanical and somewhat creepy son named Ethan (Looper’s Pierce Gagnan) who goes from being sweet and adorable to asking to have his batteries recharged and then off to practice his facial emotions in the mirror.

The future that Extant offers up is a very clean cut, simplistic and technologically advanced future, but this future is nothing not seen in Minority Report and other like movies/tv shows and the battery operated child is a little more Chucky than A.I’s David who just wanted to be loved.  In the end, Extant is a little bit Aliens and a little bit A.I mixed together with a dose of Rosemary’s Baby.  It’s watchable and sure, some of the situations are laughable (Molly wanting to completely ignore the fact she somehow got pregnant while in space) but Extant does deliver a hefty dose of “what just happened?

Extant premieres tonight, Channel 10 at 8:30pm.