Category Archives: Channel 9

Here Come the Habibs Courts Unfair Criticiscm

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Here Come The Habibs: Source, Channel Nine

 

I’ll happily admit that when the first promos for Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs went live, I was immediately put off. I Did not want to watch it, thought what I had seen seemed crass and happily joined the throngs of those condemning it on social media. So much was my nose point out of join by a 30 second promo that I a) did not really want to watch the first two episodes provided for review and b) had a whole spiel mentally prepared about “who at Channel Nine thought this was a good idea?”

I guess that’s what happens when a bad promo for what turned out to be a funny two episodes, is given out to the public.

Judging it by it’s cover we all are.

Lets get into the nitty gritty of Here Come the Habibs.

FouFou Habib (Michael Denkha) and wife Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin) have found themselves able to “live the Australian dream” and to move into the rich and swanky suburb of Vaucluse after a rather hefty ($22 million) lotto win – but they aren’t telling anyone about their windfall, not even their children Toufic (Sam Alhaje), Elias (Tyler De Nawi) and Layla (Kat Hoyos).

Neighbours Olivia O’Neill (Helen Dallimore) and her castrated husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) are not too keen on their new Mediterranean neighbours (well mainly Olivia) and a war erupts between the two – Olivia wants them out, FouFou wants to stay.

The script, written by Phil Lloyd is tight and full of zippy one liners and throws casual playful punches at multiculturalism, terrorism, greedy family members and the Cronulla riots. The fish-out-of-water premise is very reminiscent of shows like the Beverly Hillbillies and even the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and right from the outset, the loud and brassy Habibs are not the focus of ‘being made fun of’ instead, it’s the rich white privileged that takes most of the hits and should take most of the bullets from the viewing public.

A scene in episode two where Mariam is attempting to join the local yacht club but is thrown a curve ball by Olivia that leads to public embarrassment, will leave you hoping the snotty cow gets hers in a later episode.

While the pilot took a bit for me to warm up to, by the time a turf war was established between the newly rich Habibs and their snotty neighbours the O’Neill’s, I was full on humble pie.

Here Come The Habibs is Channel Nine’s first foray into locally made scripted comedy in over 15 years and personally, I’m picking that the Habibs was actually a wise choice for the network to work it’s way into bringing back some good Aussie comedy. Granted though, Nine isn’t doing itself any favours with how it is choosing to market the show that has resulted in public outcry from an outrage addicted audience and calls for the show to be pulled due to claims it’s racist. Let’s not forget, this show hasn’t even aired yet!

Shows currently airing like Fox8’s (American import) Fresh Off the Boat and SBS’s The Family Law both offer a humorous look on multicultural families and the Habibs is no real different. Able to poke fun at itself while ensuring we’re laughing with and at them at the same time, plus Habibs is actually a bit more engaging than the two shows mentioned above.

While Australia is still trying to find steady ground when it comes to scripted comedy, Here Come the Habibs will hold it’s own against the haters and those trying to tear it down before they’ve even seen an episode. I was like you, then I watched and saw what the Habibs was actually offering.

Here Come the Habibs begins Tuesday night, Feb 9th @ 8:30pm on Channel Nine.

p.s – keep an eye out for the wretchedly funny Pippa Grandison as Olivia’s best friend, who is more than happy to stir the pot when it comes to poking Olivia’s buttons and her new neighbours.

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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?

the-block
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!

The Block Triple Threat Kicks Off

The Block Contestants Mark and Jess.  Source: Provided
The Block Contestants Mark and Jess. Source: Provided

Talk about bursting out of the gates like a bucking bull – well, Block contestant Anastasia sure did taking an epic fall right into Scotty’s work bench early on in last night’s first episode – I feel ya girl.

Yes, The Block is back for another season, with 6 brand new couples and no sign (as yes) of last years delightful Dee and Darren.  After some rather awkward introductions, we’re introduced to our six couples who are informed they have one week to renovate three rooms – a bedroom (the worlds smallest), a living/dining and a bathroom (what no kitchen in these places?) and that’s if they make it to the final room.

Room by room, one of the 6 couples will be booted off the show to make way for our three returning couples from previous seasons – Dee and Darren, Matt and Kim and Bec and George before moving into the actual block.

First look thoughts on the teams:

Aimee and Brooke….the two seemed more interested in performing pop hits in the car (and for the camera) than actually making it to the challenge destination and taking 40 minutes to find their allocated apartment…i’ll bite my tongue here.  If they happen to make it through, those girls will have the biggest tradie bill to date.

Anastasia and Tim…well Ana’s epic fall gets her right into my good books, though someone may need to show her how to run in heels and Tim, we didn’t see much of him at all so no comment.

Ayden and Jess…he took her keys and left her stranded at Mitre 10. Sort of a bumbling duo that you’d find in a bad 90’s fat guy/hot wife sitcom though Ayden seems to know his way around an Ikea flat pack.

Josh and Charlotte…I literally do not remember this couple…wait is she the ‘food stylist’?

Luke and Ebony…i’m still waiting for the sibling rivalry to kick in as this brother/sister duo seem to be getting along a little to good for my liking.

Mark and Jess…Gotta feel for Mark.  The missus dissolves into thin air – or just went shopping – for HOURS with her phone and his! Actually, it’s probably a smart move so there’d be no phone calls about colors or patterns or sizes.

Tonight we get our first room reveals – the bedroom big enough for a toddler and we loose one couple to the depths of former reality TV contestants.

The Block Triple Threat continues tonight, 7:30pm on Nine.

Amazon Original Transparent Premiering on Channel 9

Jeffrey Tambor in his award winning role on Transparent
Jeffrey Tambor in his award winning role on Transparent

Channel 9 are set to use Golden Globe winning Amazon Original drama Transparent to promote the launch of it’s streaming subscription service Stan.

The critically acclaimed and award winning drama will have it’s first two episodes aired on the network before moving exclusively to the streaming service which launched yesterday to selected users.

Transparent follows Mort Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) and his sometimes delicate and sometimes frustrating journey in transitioning into Maura Pfefferman.  His adult children (played wonderfully by Gabi Hoffman, Jay Duplass and Amy Landecker) are so self involved and ego-centric they fail to see any sign of Maura emerging.  Mort/Maura must find a way to not only let those he loves in on this change but also navigate the world in a form that feels right.

Easily one of the best dramas to come out of 2014, and easily Tambor’s best work to date, Transparent will probably ruffle some feathers of those who like their milk on their cereal and not next to it.  The plentiful amounts of language, sex and nudity is sure to offend some.

Transparent’s first two episodes will air Tuesday, Jan 27th from 10pm before moving to Stan.

Original Source: Nine Network to premiere Golden Globe winning drama Transparent – nelbie.com

Pilot Review: Stalker on Channel 9

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q hunting stalkers.  Source: Provided
Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q hunting stalkers. Source: Channel 9/Provided

“Stalking Stalkers is all very Stalkerish”

I’ll just come out and say this….I HATE Bones, Castle and other weekly crime procedurals where a male detective solves crimes with his female partner…..and then they marry.  You all know what I’m talking about right?  Crime solving becomes second focus behind all the sexual tension between our leads….I swear everyone was waiting for Benson and Stabler to throw off their SVU suits for wedding attire.

Okay, now that rant is over, another weekly crime procedural is coming our way, but thankfully, the likelihood of our two leads hooking up seems pretty slim (I’m 8 episodes in and zilch sexual tension exists between our two sluethy leads) leaving for a rather creepy and torturey (my new word) crime show.  Now to be blunt, Stalker wasn’t that well received by critics when it premiered back in September 2014 in the US.  Words like ‘nasty’ and ‘worst’ were used however, I still gave the series a shot, and now, it’s become a weekly must watch for me.

Starring Maggie Q (Nikita) and Dylan McDermott (Hostages), Stalker follows Lieutenant Beth Davis (Q) and new partner Detective Jack Larsen (McDermott) as they hunt down stalkers as part of the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit (or stalkers unit if you may).

Things don’t start off too smoothly for Davis and new partner Larsen, who’s just transferred from New York.  She’s heard the rumors about his affair with the wife of a superior officer back in New York and she’s not to keen on his way of breaking the ice i.e – complimenting her breasts.  Obviously it doesn’t work and actually, McDermott’s Larsen comes off as the least likable character in the pilot.

Our main story-line focuses on a masked man with a penchant for young pretty women, gasoline cans and lighters…the opening scene in particular in which a young woman (played by Pretty Little Liars’ Torrey DeVitto) screams 90’s slasher flick Scream’s opener with Drew Barrymore – but without the “what’s your favorite scary movie line”.  At the same time, keeping out heroes busy, Williamson wants to make it clear that stalking is not a one way sex street so we a also get a college guy (Darren Kagasoff, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) stalked by a former and obsessive roommate (Erik Stocklin, “Mistresses”).

Both story-lines are engaging enough though they are constantly interspersed with filler scenes involving Larsen trying to make his new boss like him (you know she eventually will) and much like most new shows in their post-pilot episodes, various aspects of the show are tightened up and back characters including Det. Janice Lawrence (Mariana Klaveno) and Det. Victor Rausk (Ben Caldwell) begin to make more of an appearance and impact.

While Stalker is mainly a weekly crime episodic (with cases fleshed out by familiar faced guest stars including AnnaLynne McCord (Beverly Hills 90210), Jessica Tuck (True Blood) and Caity Lotz (Arrow) among others), it doesn’t take long for the season long story arc to take shape that plays about in most of the episodes following.  Without revealing too much, it does involve Beth, her mysterious and traumatic past that we never really get to know much about and the return of a loonie we meet very early on.

I did enjoy Stalker and from the handful of episodes I’ve seen, it improves upon it’s pilot that was so widely panned.  You can take it as a PSA on how to avoid not being stalked/killed or take it for a pretty darn creepy show looking at a topic not heavily covered by the masses of crime shows flooding our airwaves.

Stalker begins this Sunday night (April 12th) 9:30pm on Channel 9

Kylie and Will.I.Am Out – The Voice Australia 2015

Jessie J will take residence in the big red chair for 2015
Jessie J will take residence in the big red chair for 2015

Well in no surprising news, it’s bye bye to Kylie Minogue and Will.I.Am for the 2015 season of The Voice Australia, replaced with one new face, one returning face and one addition to an existing team.

It’s not so confusing once it’s all spelled out.

Ricky Martin is back on board along with fellow judge Joel Madden who this year, will be joined by brother Benji (as one coach), Jessie J (It’s not about the money money..we don’t need the money money…) is this years newest face and the returning coach?  Well, it’s none other than our favorite Aussie songstress, Delta ‘Delts’ Goodrem!

We all knew when Kylie announced her Kiss Me Once Tour for 2015 that she’d be a no show…Will.I.Am?  Perhaps it came down to a work clash as he’s just started season three of The Voice UK (and not the utterly horrible decision he made by getting involved in 2014 winner Anja Nissen’s winners single – god awful by the way).

The addition of Benji Madden was a no brainer.  The two are hugely popular here, have a great following and their work together on The Voice Kids made for great viewing.  Jessie J’s addition too was predictable but wise.  J has a strong following here offering up a string of hit singles plus her double season stint on The Voice UK gives her plenty of knowledge and ammo to come into our version with.

Ricky.  We all love Ricky Martin.  Nuff’ said.

Delts.  Must admit, I was very surprised by her addition (or re-addition) to this years coaches.  Bumped for Kylie last year and relegated to The Voice Kids, Delts is back on board for the 2015 season.

Delta Goodrem Makes Shock Return – news.com.au

What are your thoughts about this years coaches?  Surprised by Delts’ reintroduction to the big red spinning chair?  Sound off in the comments below!

The Voice Australia returns later this year on Channel 9.

They’re Back! Dee and Darren Return for More The Block

The Block's Dee and Darren Jolly are set to return for more!
The Block’s Dee and Darren Jolly are set to return for more!

The Block’s most beloved couple, Deanne and Darren Jolly, are set to return to the show that made them household names and fan favorites.  Ok, well, only some of that is true.  Pretty easy to work out which parts were made up right?

The couple who garnered a love/hate relationship with the Australian public (minus the love) during last seasons The Block: Glasshouse and who only walked away with $10,000 for their efforts have been confirmed to return to the show along with actual favorites Bec and George Douros and Matt Di Costa and Kim Owen from The Block: Sky High.  

The next series titled The Block: Triple Threat will also see six new teams battle it out in a series of challenges all aiming to be the top three teams to join the familiar faces in renovating an apartment block in Melbourne’s South Yarra.

The Block: Triple Threat will air in 2015 along with a second outing later on in the year.

Original Source: The Daily Telegraph 

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!

The Glasshouse Auction. The Block Finale

Will Michael and Carlene take out The Block Glasshouse?  Source: Supplied
Will Michael and Carlene take out The Block Glasshouse? Source: Supplied

Spoiler Free!  While the auctions have officially taken place, no word on final standings here until after the official airing tonight!

It’s auction time!  Nine’s reality hit The Block: Glasshouse comes to a close tonight with the couples all heading to auction, hoping to take out the $100,000 top prize.

Tonight’s finale will see each couples original reserve price plus the current reserve price with prizes won over the last two weeks for work on apartment 6 subtracted off the reserve.

Max and Karstan have won $30,000 off their reserve along with Dee and Darren.  Michael and Carlene earned $20,000 off their reserve with Simon and Shannon nabbing $10,000 off while Chris and Jenna remain the underdogs going into auction with their original reserve.

So how have the couples and apartments fared up to now?  Word has it that all apartments are expected to reach around the $1.3m to $1.5m dollar mark with Ray White agent Matt White tipping Max and Karstan’s apartment to win (Matt is Michael and Carlene’s agent)

I’m hopeful of and not expecting another surprise win like last season when Steve and Chantal walked away winners from The Block: Fans Vs Faves – meaning, sorry Chris and Jenna, you guys were entertaining but I don’t see you for the win.  I’d like to see Michael and Carlene take out top prize but then again, I’m completely in love with the bookcase enclosed lounge they delivered – and therefore slightly biased.

My final tip – It’ll be a battle between couples Dee and Darren and Max and Karstan.  Both have produced the most consistent apartments with high quality finishes.  I’m not officially picking a winner – as you know, it never pans out for me!

The Block: Glasshouse auction finale airs tonight, Channel 9 from 6:30pm.

Pilot Review: Can Gotham Survive Without It’s Batman?

GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot.   ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX

Batman prequel series, Gotham premiered last week in America to strong audience of over 8 million viewers, but how many will stick around in a Gotham that doesn’t have it’s Batman?

As it is with pretty much every re-telling of the Batman origin, Gotham starts off with a scene most familiar to fans of the DC comics hero – Martha and Thomas Wayne brutally gunned down in a dark alley by a man in a ski mask, sparing the life of a young Bruce Wayne.  It’s been done many times over though Gotham offers us  a slight twist on the traditional story with a young Selina Kyle, perched high on a ledge on the buildings above, to witness the tragic event.

One could be forgiven for thinking that following this start, the rest of the show will just go with motions, being utterly predictable and boring but thankfully, this is pretty much where the ‘what we know’ ends and we’re opened up to a new representation of Gotham, this time, living life before Batman.

The city itself in Gotham is dark and moody and filled with an assortment of unsavories, much like the Gotham seen in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film though thankfully, it’s not as kitschy. Those familiar with the world of Batman will delight in seeing nods to known characters including Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Ivy/Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and of course Bruce Wayne/Batman (David Mazouz)

There’s also possible winks to future characters including Batwoman (James Gordon’s fiancee Barbra Kean, played by Erin Richards) and even the Joker, but to-date, it’s only speculation.

A young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), recently new to Gotham, is finding out the hard way that his idealistic views of crime and punishment are no where to be seen in a police force that’s filled with corruption. He’s taken to solve the Wayne murder with drunkard partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) who happens to have connections to the underworld and local mob members who may have information that may help solve the murders.

As Gordon, Ben McKenzie starts off solidly with his woe-is-me eyes as he struggles to maintain his morality in a city that has none.  Logue’s Harvey Bullock is a weary and dreary detective, too caught up in the darkness that has enveloped Gotham.  Bicondova and Mazouz don’t really have much to do in the pilot – there’s some tears, some climbing, some ‘let’s feed stolen milk to some stray cats so you know i’m future Catwoman’ – it’s meager stuff – at the moment.

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In this image released by Fox, Robin Lord Taylor, left, and Ben McKenzie, are shown in a scene from “Gotham” (Jessica Miglio / AP)

The ones to watch however is Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot aka the future Penguin.  As power crazy night club owner Fish Mooney (Mooney is a character created for the show and not from the Batman world), Pinkett-Smith shines in pretty much every scene she’s in, chewing through lines and swinging baseball bats all whilst still maintaining perfect nails and harsh one liners.  While Gotham, it seems, is  trying to eke out the camp factor, Pinkett-Smith’s Mooney is the perfect playoff, possibly channeling a 60’s-Batman era Eartha Kitt.

Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot is just downright deranged.  The first moment you see him you can tell he’s got more than a few screws loose up top as he takes pleasure in being offered the chance to take a baseball bat to a thief.

Gotham is aiming high, hoping to lure in those new to the world whilst trying to keep dedicated Batman fans happy.  It doesn’t seem like an easy task..asking Batman fans to watch a show that’s about Batman but doesn’t star Batman…asking viewers to tune into another comic-come-TV-series…yet as a whole, Gotham actually works as a dark and slightly erratic drama about one man’s mission to rid his city of corruption and crime while peppering the scenery and story lines with weird and unusual characters.

Gotham premiere’s soon on Channel 9.

8/10