The Bachelor (Ten and Ten Play)
Everyone's favourite dating show is back, but this time they’re trying something a little different – with Nick ‘The Honeybadger’ Cummins representing a less chiseled, but more relatable and fun bachelor than the ones we’ve seen so far. The strategy appears to be working, with the ratings and the buzz well up on previous years.
A lot of people were skeptical when The Honeybadger was cast. He's not exactly in the tradition of past bachelors, is he? But his casting feels like a smart move to me. Cummins is a relatable, fun character, and he has a personality - which is a lot more than you can say about some of the prior boys.
Contestant Vanessa Sunshrine is a bomb-thrower straight from casting heaven. I'd love to know what was being whispered to her by producers between takes!
We all know the role she is here to play, there is no serious prospect whatsoever that she is going to be picked as his bride, but we still have to go through the pantomime of the rose ceremony, with fake tension over whether she's going to get picked or not.
Hot prediction for the clueless: Vanessa Sunshine will get through again and again until near the end, when the producers get serious about who's going to win, and the drama will then shift.
Cat, the fashion designer "from Bali" has brought us some oh-so-convenient drama with the fact her ex was dating one of the other contestants. That's all too good to be true. More signs of skullduggery in the casting department!
Romy was a hoot in the second episode, trying to force a pash and then lying to everyone about it - embellishing by claiming the "time was right", and insisting "it wasn't tacky". Her catchphrase is "I'm not here to make friends". And she's clearly not!
And as for Cass, I refuse to believe that someone didn't know that she had a history with the HB. Her overwrought reaction was great TV.
She came across as a bunny boiler by blurting, 'I told the universe what I wanted and it's happening' – but we all know the editors aren’t necessarily on the side of the exact truth.
Netflix has been copping it over its new satirical dramedy series, which deals with transformation of bullied and overweight teen Patty.
It’s been derided in social media campaigns as supposedly fatphobic, but is it? And is it any good?
Insatiable's divisive treatment of weight issues has social media hate mobs in an uproar, but this show is so inept and ineffective on every level, I find it a little eyebrow-raising that anyone could take it seriously enough to be grossly offended.
This show is arguably not that important; it's an incompetent D-grade teen show, and without the controversy it would have faded away very quickly from mainstream discussion and cultural relevance.
Another fundamental problem: who are we supposed to like in this? Who is the hero? Everyone is so crudely drawn, or morally bankrupt.
We are supposed to like Patty but then she's hot for married man Bob who has faced accusations of inappropriate behaviour with a minor in the past, leading Patty to say, 'He's a child molester - which means I might actually have a shot'. Eugh!
And another big sin is that this simply isn't funny. I didn't laugh once, or even smile.
It's extremely unsubtle - reminiscent of a kids' show like Saved By The Bell. Lowbrow humour is totally fine when well executed but this is definitely not that.
Peak sophistication here is jokes about anal cancer, and people making fart noises while the symptoms of that disease are read out.
Still keen? Thought not.
It’s been a very long time since Matt Groening changed the world with The Simpsons. He had another go at catching lightning in a bottle with Futurama, with mixed results and shorter run. Now he’s back – on Netflix – with new show Disenchantment.
Set in a fairytale world, and featuring a very familiar animation style, does this one have what it takes to be another game changer?
Since The Simpsons largely faded from view, The Family Guy and South Park have taken adult cartoons in edgy and sometimes quite extreme directions, ones that the inhabitants of Springfield simply can't go. These shows are far cruder, more adult and more brutal - leaving Groening's work looking like something from another time. It's so hard to imagine now that anyone ever thought Bart was a threat to society - but they did!
So, I wasn't really hyped when it came time to watch Disenchantment, but I was pleasantly surprised. There is an edginess and a subversive undertone to this that makes it really fun viewing - after a bit of a bumpy start.
I was chuckling consistently through the first episodes. I think it fits a middle ground between something more family-friendly like The Simpsons and the lewder adult fare that now predominates.
The rebellious princess who doesn't want to marry - who has her own "personal demon" Luci - and Elfo, the Elf who is sick of enforced jolliness in his Smurf-style hidden village, and heads out into the world with wide-eyed wonder, offer plenty of opportunities for comedy, some of it quite incisive.
I liked this more immediately than Futurama and I think it'll be a hit. Especially without the constraints of network TV that made The Simpsons a fair bit tamer. Look out for the hooker fairy in the Enchanted Forest - and remember to take your laundry with you.
For more discussion of the above shows, tune in to this week's Binge List - details below.