Tag Archives: Channel 7

Pilot Review: State of Affairs

Katherine Heigl as CIA analyst Charleston Tucker.  Source: Privided

Katherine Heigl as CIA analyst Charleston Tucker. Source: Provided

Are we ready for another chance to hate-watch a show for it’s star?

There’s a moment in this first episode of State of Affairs where you begin to question your current feelings for star Katherine Heigl. Heigl herself, once beloved by fans as Izzy Stephens on medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, had a very public exit from the show followed by a string of mediocre rom-com movies and earned herself a ‘difficult to work with‘ moniker.

So the question begs….do we like her or not?

Now it’s been some time since Heigl has graced our screens (large and small) but she’s back as a top CIA analyst Charleston ‘Charlie’ Tucker (Isn’t that the most ridiculous name btw?) working directly with the Constance Payton (Aflre Woodard) who happens to be the President of the United States.

Both are dealing with the pending anniversary of an attack they suffered while in Kabul in which the president’s son – and Charlie’s fiancee was killed.  Charlie’s way of dealing is with the use of lots of alcohol, random sex and the wearing of mainly black clothing…but only when there’s time for it as Charlie has plenty to do.

From being a complete bitch to her therapist to briefing the POTUS on potential threats and shouting demands down the phone, it’s a wonder she finds time to even do her hair but even in the dead of night, walking down the halls in her impossibly high heels, Charlie still manages to look like she’s just stepped off a vogue cover shoot.

While there’s daily threats for Charlie and her rag-tag team of analysts to deal with, it’s those events in Kabul which propel the season along.  Just who killed the POTUS’s son?  Why can’t Charlie remember what actually happened that night?  Who is sending those mysterious and threatening text messages?  Why is she wearing big thick black rimmed hipster glasses?

To put it nicely, State of Affairs is a watered down , fluffy version of that other woman-who-protects-the-country-but-has-issues show – Homeland but where Homeland and it’s star Claire Danes aren’t afraid to get dirty (and give us that now famous ugly cry) State of Affairs keeps it’s hands rather clean.

Don’t get me wrong, it is watchable and if you stick with it, over-time, story-lines and characters develop a lot more (especially with Tuckers team members), but don’t come in expecting the quality that Homeland gives us.

State of Affairs begins Thursday night, 9pm on Channel 7.

Advertisements

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

how-to-get-away-with-murder-season-epi-3-annalise-main
“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.

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.

tumblr_mz3pkiSSo61qeoydso1_500

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.

No Fast-Tracked TV Shows Coming Our Way?

Debra Messing and Josh Lucas star in the new Mysteries of Laura
Debra Messing and Josh Lucas star in the new dramedy The Mysteries of Laura.  Source: Provided

This time last year, you might recall being inundated with ads for new shows like The Blacklist and Marvels Agents of Shield and previews featuring the words “Fast-Tracked from the USA” or “Airing the same day as America” but for some reason, these ads pushing for new shows are quite visibly absent from our screens especially seeing that the new batch of shows are due to start airing from Wednesday the 17th right through to mid October.

FX are fast tracking the new season of The Walking Dead on October 13th – which of course is to be expected, but to-date, with the slew of new shows due to hit US screens within the next two weeks, only Channel 10 have made any announcement as to any new US programming including drama Scorpion starring Robert Patrick and Katherine McPhee and new political drama Madam Secretary starring Tea’ Leoni and Tim Daly and is being touted as a mix between Homeland and Scandal.

Among the myriad of new shows that are making news include Debra Messing’s The Mysteries of Laura, Katherine Heigl’s State of Affairs, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes new How to Get Away with Murder, Kate Walsh’s Bad Judge, Batman prequel series Gotham and comedy Fresh Off the Boat about an Asian families foray into American society.

So why the vacancy of fast tracked programming to our screens?

While only speculation, one could possibly put it down toe due to the high levels of reality programming currently assaulting our screens right now.  Between The Block Glasshouse, Big Brother, X-Factor, The Bachelor and Amazing Race Australia, there’s not much screen time left on free to air prime time network television.

Watch this space for news on what’s coming out way!

Update 22/9 : Channel 9 are bringing us Gotham

Madam Secretary premieres Thursday Oct 2nd, 9pm on Channel 10