Category Archives: Channel 7

Winners & Losers Series Finale Wins Our Hearts and Tears.

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Girl power!  (L to R) Melissa Bergland, Demi Harman, Melanie Vallejo and Virginia Gay.  Image credit: Channel 7.

Better get the tissues ready as long running Aussie drama Winners & Losers is sadly, after five seasons, coming to an end on Monday night in massive double episode filled with tears, friendly faces, more tears, many laughs and even more tears.

With Channel 7 pushing out double episodes on a weekly basis since the shows return, they’ve decided to call Monday nights epic finale a ‘movie length send off’ while in reality, the first of the two final episodes is a follow up to last weeks cliff-hanger and takes a close look at Sophie’s (Melanie Vallejo) love triangle with Luke (Nathin Butler) and his brother Alex (Scott Smart) while Jenny (Melissa Bergland), who has discovered she’s finally pregnant, must find the right way to reunite with Gabe (Nick Russell) after she chose to pretty much end their marriage after his kiss with co-worker Riley (Demi Harman)

Thankfully it’s not all woe and drama wtih Frances (Virginia Gay) and Pete (James Saunders) deciding to take a romantic ‘mini moon’ after their sudden nuptials….in a fancy hotel, in the city…..but find themselves struggling to keep up with the fast paced youths running rampant in the same hotel and Riley discovering her ex is about to get married and toys with the idea of going to said wedding and making a scene to prove a point.

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Frances (Virginia Gay) imagines what life would have been like had she taken more chances after the lotto win.  Image Credit: Channel 7.

It’s not until the loose ends involving Sophie and Jenny are done and dusted and a sneaky little glimpse at a 15 year high school reunion invitation that we make our way into the final ever episode (insert tears here).  Jenny, Sophie and Frances are to be interviewed for a documentary on lotto winners five years on from their win, just how much their lives have changed and are they happier now than before they won.  It’s a smart way to push the newly inserted Riley out of the story line (she’s off with Gabe working on the presentation of the SpoilSport app) and allow the three remaining lead characters take the spotlight together for one last time while they take in their lives now and where they started off.

Familiar faces including the entire Gross clan – Trish, Brian and Patrick Gross (Denise Scott, Francis Greenlade and Jack Pearson) and former nemesis Tiffany Turner (Michala Banas) are a very much welcome return but don’t be expecting much more than that.  For a show that offered up a slew of recurring characters over its five seasons, sadly, there is virtually no reference to those we loved who have come and gone like Bec (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith), Doug (Tom Wren), Flynn (Tom Hobbs) or Sam (Katherine Hicks).

But, that’s not what this Winners & Losers finale is about.  The aim is clearly to give a massive send off to who we have left standing and to celebrate the big changes coming their way as we say goodbye to the girls we’ve come to know over the past five years.

Tissues will be needed and lots of them, but probably not until the last 15 or so minutes because that’s when it all gets real and we know the end is coming.  It’s always tough to give a show a respectable farewell and the final few scenes are actually a perfect way to say goodbye to Jenny, Frances and Sophie as we’re offered a perfect little glimpse into their lives after it’s all said and done.  The only thing that may rub fans wrong is that said ‘non mention’ of long gone series favorites.

I can honestly say for Jenny, Sophie and Frances, I wouldn’t have had this finale any other way.

The Winners and Losers series finale starts Monday night, September 12th at 8:50pm on Channel 7.

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7’s The Big Music Quiz has a Great Concept but Less than Stellar Host.

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Bindi Irwin and Rebel Wilson on 7’s The Big Music Quiz.  (c) Channel 7 2016

Successful and good quiz shows featuring celebrity panelists comes down to three defining factors.  1: A smart yet funny quiz show offering up great questions.  2: A great selection of celebs that not only get into the game but are also good sports.  3: A good host that can interact well with those celebs appearing on said show.  The Big Music Quiz hits two of those three points and without the third, it painfully shows.

The premise is pretty simple, two teams of semi well known faces show off their music knowledge over six rounds of questions….all of which are of course musical based with the loosing team forced into humiliation by ending out the show with a dance off.

The selection of celebrities in the shows first outing range from Screaming Jets front man Dave Gleeson to model Kris Smith to Winners and Losers star Melanie Vallejo and over the coming episodes includes Rebel Wilson, Ada Nicodemou and Kate Ceberano.

The big miss with The Big Music Quiz is in host Darren McMullen – he of former The Voice Australia host and House Husbands actor – does not mesh well with either the celebrity guests or the show in general.  I hate to say it as I like McMullen but the quick wit required to host these type of shows is missed completely by him as he manages to miss any and all opportunities for zingy comebacks…even when presented to him on a silver platter.

For example, in the first round of the first episode, contestants are given a short 20 seconds to identify the artist of a well known song, model Kris Smith says “I remember 20 seconds being a lot longer than that!”  McMullen laughs and moves right onto a score check.  Heck, even guest Laurence Mooney (probably ascertaining the lack of hosting ability) attempts to have a decent crack at poking some tongue in cheek comments.

It’s a hosting gig perfect for someone like Paul McDermott or even say Hamish Blake who have a proven track record with this kind of thing.

The big Music Quiz is just that…a big music based quiz show, a flashier version of Spicks and Specks and of the first episode available for preview, it’s without the witty banter between host and celebrities that make those shows even more watchable.  Good news is that The Big Music Quiz is not a lost cause thanks to its host.  The mix of fun rounds, easy to moderately tough questions and great selection of celeb guests pick up the slack.

If there is anything 7 could take away from The Big Music Quiz it’d be to cast a wider net when looking for a host and look into viewer interaction via an app or website.  A show like this would work perfectly with at home viewers so they can watch and play along at the same time on a second screen device.

The Big Music Quiz starts soon on Channel 7 (possibly Sunday August 28th)

Channel 7’s How to Get Away With Murder Pilot Review

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“Welcome to law 101 or as I like to call it, How to get away with murder”

In all it’s gravelly deepness, star Viola Davis manages to rip out the title of this show on no less than three occasions during the pilot and with each mention, she manages to make it sound more and more like she’s an emcee at a serial killer convention.

There’s no messing around with How to Get Away With Murder (or HTGAWM as the full title is a complete bitch to continuously write out) though.  4 college students furiously fighting in the dead of night, in the middle of nowhere, over a dead body.  It’s this hectic and fast-paced opener that introduces us to the world of criminal defense lawyer Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) and her entourage of college law students/murderers.

Through flashbacks, dating from three months ago to present day, HTGAWM gives us pieces to a very large puzzle where each piece brings us closer and closer to revealing the full events of the night in which our hapless students found themselves in the middle of the woods frantically bickering over a dead body.

Their teacher, Annalise Keating, is a tough as nails, take no bullshit criminal defense lawyer slash college professor who is admired and feared at the same time and like all of the female leads living within the Shondaland (Greys/Scandal/Private Practice) universe, it appears Annalise has it all. A hugely successful career with a resounding reputation, a kick ass selection of wigs and killer wardrobe, a loving husband and students who worship and want to be her, but behind closed doors, Annalise’s affair with local cop Nate (Billy Brown) and the dealings of her sketchy husband Sam (Tom Verica) begin to tear down the walls Annalise has so heavily fortified.

And while HTGAWM is mostly about Annalise and her behind-closed-doors-life-versus-her-public-one, her students also play a large part in what the show has to offer.

There’s good girl  Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) who attains to be like Annalise one day, Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch) who was accepted into class off a wait list and quickly falls behind the class, Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) he of no morals and who can slut it up with the best of them to get information to win a case, quiet Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) who may not be as innocent as she puts out and Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) the cocky loud mouth who misses out on all the murder action.

While this murder itself is the season long story-arc, HTGAWM also strings along side stories allowing Annalise to not only showcase her talents as a criminal defense lawyer but teach her handpicked interns just how exactly one can get away with murder.

HTGAWM is a gutsy effort that tops my list of new dramas for the 2014/15 season and rightfully so.  Even though there’s an entire roster of characters we are introduced to in the first episode, it’s not long before each and every one start to stand on their own and have you questioning their motives behind the predicament they have found themselves in.

While HTGAWM has attachments to Shonda Rhimes (Greys, Scandal and Private Practice) and her Shondaland production empire, Peter Nowalk, (Co exec producer of Scandal) is the mind behind this not so small legal turned murder mystery drama.

How to Get Away With Murder begins Tuesday, Feb 10th, 9pm on Channel 7.

#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!

Drink Up! Cougar Town Returns to Seven on Sundays

Dan Byrd and Busy Phillipps return for more fun on Cougar Town
Dan Byrd and Busy Philipps return for more fun on Cougar Town

It sure has been a long time in between drinks!  One of my all-time favorite ensemble comedies and one that is highly underrated (and suffers from bad show name syndrome) is back on Channel 7, although at a rather poor time slot.

The very funny Courteney Cox led Cougar Town is back on Aussie TV’s, starting from season 5 (which finished airing almost 12 months ago in the US) filling the Sunday night 11:30pm time slot.

I somehow managed to miss this news (or actually never expected 7 to bring the show back) as Cougar Town started last Sunday night (Dec 5th) but fans will be happy to know that this weeks episode will see the appearance of Cox’s former on-screen husband, Matthew Perry, guest starring.

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The 13 episode series 5 focuses heavily on the budding romance between Jules’ (Cox) son Travis (Dan Byrd) and one of her best friends Laurie (Busy Philipps) and Jules’ struggle to accept the inevitable.

Cougar Town continues Sunday nights at 11:30pm on Seven.

More Winners and Losers for Channel 7

Back for season 5, Winners and Losers on 7
Back for season 5, Winners and Losers on 7

It’s great to see Channel 7 showing faith in one of it’s locally produced dramas after the announcement of a fifth season of Winners & Losers to come in 2015.

The drama, currently half way through it’s fourth season, has been officially greenlit for season 5, Seven said yesterday.  “At its heart, Winners & Losers is about the unbreakable bond of friendship and that’s why it resonates with so many Australians,” said Seven’s head of drama, Julie McGauran. “It’s an evolving story about young women trying to make their way in life, connected by shared experiences and supporting each other along the way. We’re delighted the journey continues.”

There’s no real surprise though with the renewal seeing the series averaged 1.05m metro viewers through it’s run in 2014 and is also Sevens highest-rated locally produced drama series in the younger demographic, even ahead of Home and Away.

To refresh you all, last time we saw our favorite winners, Frances had just given birth to her baby girl, Sophie was contemplating single life after another break-up, Jen was struggling to deal with life after her double mastectomy and Sam was left dealing with a dying Luke in her arms.

Season 4 continues in 2015 on Channel 7.

Channel 7 in 2015. New and Returning Shows Announced.

Rebecca Gibney and Peter O'Brien return for Winter in 2015
Rebecca Gibney and Peter O’Brien return for Winter in 2015

A mix of new dramas both locally and overseas made, a reality show juggernaut spin-off and documentaries are all coming our way in 2015 as channel 7 announces it’s line-up for the new ratings season.

Sadly though, it seems with some of the imported US content, Australian viewers will be quite some episodes and by the looks of it, even over half a season behind American audiences.  No fast-tracking programs here.

So just what programs did channel 7 reveal?

How to get Away With Murder: This new US drama is easily one of the best to come out of the new US season.  Oscar winner Viola Davis stars as a high profile defense lawyer slash college law professor who finds herself caught up in a murder investigation along with some of her students.  Comes from Shonda Rhimes – she of Greys Anatomy and Scandal.

State of Affairs: Starting November 17th in the US, this Katherine Heigl vehicle has a mix of Madam Secretary and Homeland and see’s Heigl as a CIA agent working closely with the US President.

Aquarius: 1960’s based homicide drama see’s David Duchovny working with an undercover detective trying to solve a missing persons case that leads them to Charles Manson.

Winter: Spin-off series from this years “The Killing Field” telemovie with Rebecca Gibney and Peter O’Brien back in the pursuit of a killer.

Restaurant Revolution: Another spin-off from the My Kitchen Rules juggernaut taking ‘inspiration’ from My Returant Rules, which will see contestants attempt to run their very own restaurant.

800 Words: New Aussie drama starring Packed to the Rafters favorite Erik Thomson who plays a a widowed father, who moves overseas with his two teenagers, then takes on the job of writing a weekly newspaper column.

House Rules: The home renovation show is back for 2015 and just like The Block, is offering up two seasons in the new year.

Catching Milat: Underbelly-stylized drama around the Ivan Milat murders.

What Really Happens in Thailand: First it was Bali, now it’s Thailand – or a heightened version of what actually happens.  This series is focused more on the emergency rooms, cosmetic surgeons and party hot spots.

Programs returning for 2015 include The X Factor, My Kitchen Rules, Winners & Losers, Border Security, The Force and Better Homes & Gardens while The Big Adventure, Bringing Sexy Back and The Amazing Race were not on announced as returning for the network in 2015.

A Place to Call Home Finds a New Home

Marta Dusseldorp and Noni Hazelhurst. Souce: Provided
Marta Dusseldorp and Noni Hazelhurst. Souce: Provided

Fans wanted it and now fans are getting it.  Axed channel 7 drama A Place to Call Home, which was suddenly cancelled after just one and a half seasons is back, but this time, on PayTV.

Foxtel, in a deal with Channel 7, are resurrecting the popular cancelled drama for at least a further two seasons after hearing the cries from fans annoyed at the shows cancellation.  While the show was a hit for the network, production costs saw Channel 7 make the decision not to continue with the show, much to the dismay of fans.

Foxtel executive director of television, Brian Walsh, said in a statement today: “A Place to Call Home is Australia’s most loved drama series and has captured the hearts of millions of fans across the country. We are proud to partner with the Seven Network on this landmark deal and ensure that audiences can continue to enjoy this beautifully crafted and elegantly produced series for a further two seasons.

“The Seven Network has produced Australian television’s most successful drama series of all time and we are delighted to partner with the highly experienced creative team at Seven, who will now work their magic for Foxtel subscribers.”

Fans will also be happy to hear that series originals Marta Dusseldorp, Noni Hazlehurst, Brett Climo and Craig Hall will all returning to the new series!

A Place to Call Home is expected to return to our screens sometime in 2015 on the SoHo Channel via Foxtel.

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!

X Factor Australia Finale: Who Will Win?

Finalists (L-R) Dean Ray, Brothers Three and Marlisa.  Source: Provided
Finalists (L-R) Dean Ray, Brothers Three and Marlisa. Source: Provided

Rocker Dean Ray, harmonious crooners Brothers 3 and singing school girl Marlisa are all vying for first prize when X Factor Australia reveals it’s winner tonight.

Who Should Win:  I’ve been right three years running (Reece Mastin, Samantha Jade and Dami Im) and I’m hoping to add Dean Ray to the list.  The guy is total swag on stage, clearly showing he is more adept at working the audience and giving stage presence than both Brothers 3 and Marlisa combined.

Right from the go, Ray’s audition of Kim Carnes ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ made him a standout and one to watch.  Only hitting the bottom two once (I still believe it was a ploy), Dean Ray, his mesmerizing and penetrating eyes and all, deserves to win.

Who Will Win: While still hopeful of a Dean Ray Win, Brothers 3 have remained a steadfast favorite in the series, even while being booted during judges top three announcements.  Being picked by viewers to be the return wild card and placing top spot when the viewer announcements were made are clearly showing these boys have fans.

What about Marlisa: She’s surely a surprise addition to the final three considering Regan was expected to make the final.  Marlisa can sing – no doubting that, but her stage presence lacks any oomph.  Give her a few years of doing Westfield gigs and i’m sure we’d see her pop up as a more mature and stronger performer.

Who do you think will win?  Sound off in the comments below!

X-Factor Australia finale live tonight, channel 7 at 7:30pm.